Boulder museum bringing back exhibit on Chief Niwot

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(Photo: Courtesy of Boulder History Museum)
<p>This sculpture of Chief Niwot is near the Boulder County Courthouse.</p>

An exhibit devoted to Chief Niwot of the Southern Arapaho Indians became the most popular display ever at the Boulder History Museum two years ago.

It was so popular, in fact, the museum is bringing it back.

"People had strong reactions saying they were really moved by the story," curator Carol Taylor says. "One of the things that came up over and over again was a comment like, 'Why didn't I know this?' They were sort of angry they hadn't learn this in school."

The museum is putting the exhibit back on display as part of a series of events to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre, which occurred on Nov. 29, 1864.

Niwot, a champion of peace, died in the massacre.

He first encountered white people in late 1858 in the Boulder Valley. They asked for his permission to settle since the Treaty of Fort Laramie acknowledged the area was Indian land.

Niwot turned down that request but agreed to let them stay through the winter. That promise was broken, and then a tidal wave of 100,000 gold seekers flooded into the area.

"He always tried to keep the peace," Talyor says. "He was greatly outnumbered with only a few thousand Arapaho people at that time."

Taylor has a book full of comments left by people who saw the exhibit a few years ago.

She reads one left by a child: "Chief Niwot, we need more people like you in the world today. You knew the true meaning of peace."