The Sand Creek Massacre (also known as the Chivington Massacre, the Battle of Sand Creek or the Massacre of Cheyenne Indians) was an atrocity in the Indian Wars that occurred on November 29, 1864, when a 700-man force of Colorado Territory militia attacked and destroyed a peaceful village of Cheyenne and Arapaho encamped in southeastern Colorado Territory, killing and mutilating an estimated 70–163 Indians, about two-thirds of whom were women and children.
A delegation of Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Arapaho chiefs in Denver, Colorado on September 28, 1864. Black Kettle 2nd from left front row
For a full essay see Black Kettle HERE.
The massacre disrupted the traditional Cheyenne power structure, because of the deaths of eight members of the Council of Forty-Four. White Antelope, One Eye, Yellow Wolf, Big Man, Bear Man, War Bonnet, Spotted Crow, and Bear Robe were all killed, as were the headmen of some of the Cheyenne military societies Among the chiefs killed were most of those who had advocated peace with white settlers and the U.S. government. The net effect of the murders and ensuing weakening of the peace faction exacerbated the social and political rift developing. The traditional council chiefs, mature men who sought consensus and looked to the future of their people, and their followers on the one hand, were opposed by the younger and more militaristic Dog Soldiers on the other. See HERE for full story.
Descendants of victims of the Sand Creek Massacre have filed a class-action lawsuit in Denver against the federal government, seeking reparations they claim were never paid for the slaughter of their Cheyenne and Arapaho ancestors 149 years ago.
The lawsuit, filed in July 2013 at the U.S. District Court on behalf of four Oklahoma-based members of the Sand Creek Massacre Descendants Trust.
The trust says it has identified more than 15,000 descendants through decades of genealogical research and recruitment. A judge will decide whether the case meets requirements for class-action status. For full story see HERE.
The events at Sand Creek dealt a fatal blow to the traditional Cheyenne clan system and the authority of its Council of Chiefs. It had already been weakened by the numerous deaths due to the 1849 choleraepidemic, which killed perhaps half the Southern Cheyenne population, especially the Masikota and Oktoguna bands. It was further weakened by the emergence of the separate Dog Soldiers band.
After this event, many Cheyenne, including the great warrior Roman Nose and Arapaho joined the Dog Soldiers. They sought revenge on settlers throughout the Platte valley, including an 1865 attack on what became Fort Caspar Wyoming.
Following the massacre, the survivors joined the camps of the Cheyenne on the Smokey Hill and Republican rivers. There the war pipe was smoked and passed from camp to camp among the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors in the area. In January 1865, they planned and carried out an attack with 1,000 warriors on the stage station and fort, then called Camp Rankin, at present-day Julesburg, Colorado. They followed up with numerous raids along the South Platte both east and west of Julesburg, and a second raid on Julesburg in early February. The associated bands captured much loot and killed many whites, including women and children. The bulk of the Indians then moved north into Nebraska on their way to the Black Hills and the Powder River Country.
**In honor of Woman Warriors who have fought for and died for their people the world around both in the past and today.
Mochi (“Buffalo Calf”; c. 1841 – 1881) was a Southern Cheyenne woman of the Tse Tse Stus band and the wife of Chief Medicine Water. Mochi, then a 24-year-old, was a member of Black Kettle’s camp and was present on the morning of November 29, 1864, when John Chivington and over 650 troops of the First Colorado Cavalry, Third Colorado Cavalry and a company of the 1st Regiment New Mexico Volunteer Cavalry attacked Black Kettle’s winter camp at Sand Creek on the plains of eastern Colorado Territory (referred to as the Sand Creek Massacre)
During the unprovoked attack, Mochi witnessed her mother being shot in the forehead and killed by an American soldier who had entered their tipi. According to her account, he then attempted to rape her, prompting her to shoot and kill him with her grandfather’s rifle. She then fled the camp with the other survivors trying to evade Chivington’s men. After the massacre, she became a warrior and engaged in raiding and warfare for the next 11 years.
Mochi fought alongside her husband in numerous battles and raids and was the only Native American woman to be incarcerated by the United States Army as a prisoner of war.
For the full story on Mochi see HERE.
This was first posted on Furbirdsqueerly in 2014.