A tipi at sunset. Over the tipi fly two flags: the United States flag, and the white flag of peace.

Core Exhibition

The Sand Creek Massacre: The Betrayal that Changed Cheyenne and Arapaho People Forever

The Sand Creek Massacre was the deadliest day in Colorado’s history, and it changed Cheyenne and Arapaho people forever. At sunrise on November 29, 1864, the US Army attacked a camp of mostly women, children, and elders on Big Sandy Creek in southeastern Colorado. The soldiers murdered more than 230 peaceful people.

History Colorado is telling the history of that betrayal from the perspectives of Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal representatives, drawn from oral histories that have been passed down for generations. Cheyenne and Arapaho people continue living with the unresolved trauma the massacre left behind. For many Cheyenne and Arapaho people, the Sand Creek Massacre isn’t just history, it’s family history.

History Colorado is committed to continued work with Tribal partners to ensure that we are aligned with both the law and spirit of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Learn more by clicking here.


Two flags flying- one the flag of the United States, the other a white flag of peace.
Site of the Sand Creek massacre in winter. Frost is on the grass and trees.
A black and white photo of a group of men posing. Some of the men are Native Americans, some are Anglo-American soldiers.
Northern Arapaho Cradleboard
A group of youths prepared to run in the Sand Creek Spiritual Run.