Sand Creek Memorial At Colorado’s Capitol Could Help Heal Old Wounds

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Photo: Sand Creek Memorial model
A grieving native woman is one element of the Sand Creek monument envisioned for the state capitol, shown here in a model designed by artist Harvey Pratt.

The suffering caused by the Sand Creek Massacre more than 150 years ago still angers Herb Welsh of the Northern Arapaho tribe. His ancestors survived the attack by cavalrymen on unsuspecting Cheyenne and Arapaho in eastern Colorado. Some 200 people, mostly women, children and elderly men were slaughtered that day.

Welsh is among the tribal representatives working to create a Sand Creek memorial at the state Capitol. The proposed memorial includes a path that recreates the bend in the river where the massacre took place and some bronze statuary depicting the scene. The original plan was to place the memorial close to the state Capitol, But that has changed to a location across the street.

Last week the memorial proposal crossed a major hurdle in the approval process. It cleared the committee that manages the state Capitol grounds. The proposed monument is a step closer to becoming reality, although it still needs to make it through another committee and then get approval by the full legislature.