November 29th, 2009 marked the 145th anniversary of the Massacre at Sand Creek, a day which lives in infamy in Colorado history. That “dies irae,’ that terrible day of wrath, Col. John M. Chivington led members of the Colorado Cavalry in a slaughter of mostly Arapahoe and Cheyenne elderly women, children and old men. Chief Black Kettle who originally welcomed the pale faces to the banks of Cherry Creek and the Platte, was killed in the massacre under an American flag and a white flag. I wonder what went through Black Kettle's mind as he saw the pale faced soldiers killing his people "indiscriminately" as the congressional hearing reported.
On Saturday, November 28th, 2009 at 8 am at Riverside Cemetery on Brighton Boulevard on Denver's border with Adams County, I along with about 100 citizens gathered at the grave of Silas Soule to commemorate his bravery in refusing to kill women and children and in testifying before a congressional committee which broke from concerns about the civil war to investigate Chivington's actions at Sand Creek; Captain Soule, showed great courage and an ethical soul that day, that terrible day. Soule refused orders to fire upon unarmed women and children at Sand Creek. Federal troops present also refused to kill unarmed women and children. Otto, Soule's nephew from Iowa, told me the name is pronounced 'sole."
Spiritual leaders of Arapahoe and Cheyenne tribes blessed runners for their participation in the 11th Annual Sand Creek Massacre
For testifying against what he saw at Sand Creek, Soule was assassinated near 15th and Arapahoe near Skyline Park. His name is listed on the civil war monument at the State Capitol among the civil war military dead. I never noticed that before.
At the ceremony at the Capitol I was honored to speak to those who gathered to mark the day.
Many Coloradoans don't remember Sand Creek, or Ludlow, or the Columbine Mine murders. Our attention spans are about as long as a 30 second TV commercial. I know we can do better to recall important historic events in our state's history.