Photo Provided by NPS
Sand Creek Massacre Experiences Increased Visitation in 2016
Nationally the Park Service Certifies 2016 Visitation at 331 million
Sand Creek Massacre
National Historic Site (NHS) hosted 6,847 visitors in 2016, almost one
thousand visitors more than the previous year. Visitation to the park
has been increasing annually since 2011.
“Undoubtedly the 100th
anniversary of the National Park Service increased the public’s
awareness of their national parks.” said Chief of Interpretation Shawn
Gillette. “A combination of the Centennial and heightened cultural
awareness of the Sand Creek Massacre resulted in an increase in the
annual park’s visitation.”
Across the entire
National Park System, visitors logged a record-breaking 331 million
visits during the National Park Service’s centennial year in 2016,
according to official numbers announced today.
Acting National Park Service Director Michael T. Reynolds said of the
2016 count. “We expected more visitors in 2016 as the NPS celebrated its
Centennial with special events and activities, but these numbers really
show the depth of feeling people have for their national parks,
especially considering that increased visitation was recorded not just
at the biggest and best known parks but at smaller historical and
cultural sites as well.”
Visitation growth from
2015 to 2016 was greatest in parks that see more modest annual
visitation. “That shows the breadth of support for parks and, I think,”
Reynolds said, “the Find
Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque campaign
launched with the National
Park Foundation reached
new audiences but also highlighted what we might call lesser-known
Overall the 2016 Park
Service-wide numbers showed a 7.7% increase over 2015. 382 of the 417
parks in the National Park System count visitors and 77 of those parks
set a new record for annual recreation visits
About the National Park Service: More
than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417
national parks and work with communities across the nation to help
preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational
opportunities. Learn more at
NPS Park Guide Mario Medina Explains the Sand Creek Massacre to
Visitors- NPS Photo
Article is part of a series by the National Park Service
concerning the 150th Anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre.
Painting by Robert Lindneaux
150th Sand Creek
To learn more contact Sand Creek Massacre National
Historic Site call (719) 438-5916 or go to
SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
Dedicated as the 391st unit of the nation’s National Park system April
Entrance to the Sand Creek Massacre NHS is
Year Remembrance of the Sand Creek Massacre
Over as thousand
attended the Remembrance of the Sand Creek Massacre at the Sand Creek
Massacre National Historic Site. It was 150 years before, on November 29
1864 when Colonel Chivington lead troops to attack and massacre the camp
of Cheyenne and Arapahoe on Sand Creek. At least 165, mainly women,
children and elderly were killed in the massacre.
Alexia Roberts, Superintendent for the Sand Creek
Massacre National Historic Site,
welcome everyone. Chief Alan Fletcher, from the Southern
Cheyenne, said the prayer.
Several dignitaries spoke about the process that was
needed to create the Sand Creek Massacre National
State Senator District 6, Ellen Roberts, spoke of her
involvement for passage in the Colorado Legislation to
create a national park.
United States Congressman Cory Gardner told of his
introducing a bill that will allow the National Park
Service to operate and use a visitor center for the Sand
Creek Massacre National Historic Site. Congressman
Gardner released this statement earlier. “The visitor
center will provide much-needed context for those who
visit this site and ensure that it is properly
Bishop Elaine Stanovsky of the Rocky Mountain and
Yellowstone Annual Conferences for the United Methods
Church talked of the church involvement. She noted all
must learn from this tragedy and heal. Though the
atrocity only lasted hours it takes a life time of many
to begin to heal.
Byron Strom, a descendent of
Soule, read letters written by the Captain.
In the letters Captain Soule describe the brutal assault
against the woman, children and elderly. Captain Soule
refuses to order his troops to participate in the
attack. Captain Soule was murdered after offering to
testify against Chivington .
William Walks Along, Executive Administrator for the
Northern Cheyenne, told of his trip to Washington D.C.
testifying bringing the Sand Creek Massacre National
Historic Site to reality.
Karen Little Coyote spoke of her involvement and the
importance of the Remembrance and the continuing
Several recognized and gave credit to former US Senator
Ben Nighthorse Campbell sponsoring the bill ‘Sand Creek
Massacre National Historic Site Study Act ‘in 1988. This
was the beginning of the Sand Creek Massacre National
Chiefs’ from the Northern and Southern Cheyenne read the
names of many Chiefs’ that died in the Massacre.
Sunday November 30 was the 16th annual
Healing Run. The Run starts at Monument Hill and ends in
Denver at the State Capitol Building on Wednesday
Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site
Weekend guided tours
of the park may be possible, if staffing permits. Contact the park
Administrative Headquarters at (719) 438-5916. Please provide a minimum two
week notice, when inquiring about visiting the park during winter weekends.
Entrance to the Sand Creek Massacre NHS is free.
information, please contact the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site
at 719-438-5916 or 719-729-3003, or visit nps.gov/sand.
Photo Provided by
For additional Information
P.O. Box 249
Eads, CO 81036
The Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site was
authorized by Public Law 106-465 on November 7, 2000 to recognize the
national significance of the massacre in American history, and its
ongoing significance to the Cheyenne and Arapaho people and descendents
of the massacre victims.
Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site
Establishment Act of 2000
President Bush Signed the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Ste
bill Tuesday August 2,2005
The Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site (NHS)
Establishment of the NHS, to help preserve and commemorate the
site of the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre, was authorized by Public Law
106-465, in November, 2000.
In the summer of 2005, Public Law 109-45 authorized the Secretary of
Interior to accept trust responsibility for 1465 acres within the site,
currently owned by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma.
This area, the former ‘Dawson Ranch’, was acquired by the Tribes in
Title work to convey this land from the tribes to the United States has
been completed. The Secretary of Interior formally establish
the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site April 28, 2007.
Initially, the NHS includes about 2,400 acres.
Currently, the National Park Service (NPS) is working to understand and
protect the site’s natural and cultural resources. Through various
partnerships, the NPS has initiated wildfire prevention and management
efforts, environmental history and stewardship projects, plant and
animal species inventories, and other projects. The NPS has worked
closely with Kiowa County, the Northern and Southern Cheyenne and
Arapaho Tribes, the Public Lands Corps, the Rocky Mountain Bird
Observatory, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Colorado
State University Cooperative Extension Service, and Northern and
Southern Cheyenne tribal fire crews.
Through the Rocky Mountain Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit, which
partners university researchers with federal land management needs, the
site has received assistance from the University of Colorado, Colorado
State University, the University of Montana, Utah State University, and
the University of Nevada Reno.
The Sand Creek Massacre is one of Colorado’s most profound
historic events. The legacy of the attack and its
aftermath has reverberated throughout the west for more than a
century. The Indian Campaign which culminated at Sand
Creek, involved several Regiments of Colorado Volunteers.
The Sand Creek Massacre site, located near the town of
Chivington, is one of Colorado's most controversial historical events.
The legacy of the attack and its aftermath has
reverberated throughout the west for more than a century. The
Indian Campaign which culminated at Sand Creek, involved several
Regiments of Colorado Volunteers.
Before the five-day ride down the Arkansas, the
volunteers were joined by Colonel John Chivington. After a stop at
Fort Lyon, where the troops were augmented by additional by a battalion
of the Colorado 1st and a detachment of New Mexico Infantry commanded by
Major Scott Anthony, the command began an all-night ride to Sand Creek.
The Cheyenne and Arapaho people
believed they were under the protection of the U.S. Army
were winter camped along the north bank of Big Sandy Creek. There were
about 100 lodges of Cheyenne and a few lodges of Arapaho, about 500
people total. The village consisted mainly of women, children and the
old. Many of the men were away seeking food, at the time of
The assault on the camps of Chiefs Black Kettle, White
Antelope, Bear Tongue, Spotted Crow and others extended for several miles along
the valley of the Big Sandy began in the early morning hours of November
29.1864. By the end of the day around 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho lay dead.
The Coloradans also suffered, with several dozen
casualties in killed and wounded, including some 13 commissioned and
Atrocities committed by some soldiers, and questions
surrounding the attack, resulted in a military inquiry and several Congressional
investigations. These Investigations labeled the attack a massacre, and
condemned the role of Colonel Chivington.
Efforts by the NPS to locate the Sand Creek Massacre site began in 1998 when
Congress passed the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site Study Act. Using
a range of research, including archeology, historical documentation and tribal
traditional methods, a boundary roughly 5 miles in length and 2 miles wide was
identified. In 2001, the “core” of this area, about 7,500 acres, was added to
the National Register of Historic Places.
According to the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site
Establishment Act of 2000, the park unit was established for the following
reasons (NPS 2000a):
• To protect and preserve the site, including the topographic features
that the Secretary determines are important to the site; artifacts and
other physical remains of the Sand Creek Massacre; and the cultural
landscape of the site, in a manner that preserves, as closely as
practicable, the cultural landscape of the site as it appeared at the
time of the Sand Creek Massacre; and
• To interpret the natural and cultural resource values associated with
the site and to provide for public understanding and appreciation of,
and preserve for future generations, those values; and
• To memorialize, commemorate, and provide information to visitors to
the site to enhance cultural understanding about the site; and to assist
in minimizing the chances of similar incidents in the future.
Alden Miller - Superintendent for the Sand Creek Massacre National
You may contact the Sand Creek offices at 910 Wansted, P.O. Box
249,Eads, Colorado 81036 Phone 719-438-5916 -719-729-3003 . The parks
official website is www.nps.gov/sand