The Legacy of Sand Creek

The anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre, and particularly the 150th anniversary is a time for everyone in Colorado and indeed the American West to reflect on what happened to Native Americans in the settling of the American West. Denver University was founded by John Evans who was the Governor of the Territory of Colorado at the time of the massacre. A spotlight has been shone on his role in the massacre with the recent release of a report by DU’s John Evans study committee. The report concluded that Evans had “serious culpability” for the massacre, citing neglect in treaty negotiating, leadership failures and reckless decision-making. Nancy Wadsworth was the chair of the DU John Evans Study committee. She says the legacy of the massacre is massive. She says we should think of the billion dollar industries, the great amount of wealth and commerce that we’ve inherited and how that is directly linked to the removal of plains Indians from their ancestral homelands. Wadsworth says that one of the things the committee is hoping will come from the report is that DU as an institution can build a long term relationship with the Cheyenne and the Arapahoe.