Skip to main content

Sand Creek

On November 29th, 1864, while John Evans was governor of Colorado and territorial superintendent of Indian Affairs, a Cheyenne and Arapaho village along Sand Creek in the Colorado Territory was attacked by United States soldiers. Around 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho people were killed, most of them women, children and elders.

The Sand Creek Massacre remains one of the worst atrocities committed by US soldiers in history and remains in the recent memory of Cheyenne and Arapaho people. As an institution founded by John Evans, it is within Northwestern University's obligation to assist the healing from these events.  Numerous events are held each year to learn about and learn from the Sand Creek Massacre, including a commemoration of the event held every November.

Learn more about the tragedy of the Sand Creek Massacre and read first-hand accounts from U.S. soldiers, which helped lead to the establishment of the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site.

Report of the Native American Outreach and Inclusion Task Force

University of Denver Task Force on Native American Inclusivity Report

Only the Mountains and the Earth Film

As an educational institution, Northwestern is committed to discovering and discussing difficult aspects of its past. The University is undertaking several steps to engage this history and to work towards the present and future wellbeing of Cheyenne and Arapaho people and of the Indigenous peoples on whose ancestral homelands the University sits. This film, commissioned by Northwestern University, is part of that effort seeking to gain deeper insight into that history by hearing directly the voices of descendants of the Sand Creek Massacre survivors. 

Content Warning: genocide, violence, death
While this film will help us gain a deeper understanding into the history of the Sand Creek Massacre and it’s impact even today, it contains graphic content around violence and genocide, which may be triggering. So, we encourage you to take care of yourselves and your well-being as you engage with the content presented in this film. Please see our reflection guide to help you process the content you've viewed.

Link to video: Only the Mountains and the Earth Film (~12 minutes) 

Link to Reflection Guide: Reflection Guide