April 18, 2013

Sand Creek called "collision of cultures"

Sand Creek Massacre Exhibit to Close for Tribal Consultation

By Carol BerryA controversial museum exhibit about the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 will be closed to the public as History Colorado consults with tribes whose ancestors were killed by U.S. Army volunteers at a southeastern Colorado encampment where they had been promised safety.

Complaints of inaccuracy in the exhibit, which opened in April 2012, and a failure to consult with the affected tribes had been lodged by the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana with support from the Northern Arapaho Tribe of Wyoming. The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma also cited problems with the government-to-government consultation process.

Tribal members asked that the exhibit at the History Colorado Center in downtown Denver be closed until further consultation took place. Underlying some tribal criticism was History Colorado Center’s presentation of the massacre as part of an inevitable and neutral “collision of cultures” rather than as a major atrocity related to invasion and attempted annihilation.

“To underscore our sincerity in wishing to engage in meaningful consultation, History Colorado will close the exhibit to the public during consultation and while any agreed-upon changes resulting from the consultation are made to the exhibit,” said Edward C. Nichols, president and CEO of History Colorado in a letter to John Robinson, president of the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Council.
Comment:  For more on Sand Creek, see Northwestern Founder Oversaw Sand Creek and Sand Creek Massacre Spiritual Healing Run.

Below:  "The History Colorado Center in downtown Denver with the bison sculpture titled On the Wind."

1 comment:

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:


History Colorado and tribal representatives meet to discuss Sand Creek

Seven months after the Northern Cheyenne tribe sent its last letter to History Colorado demanding that Collision: The Sand Creek Massacre 1860s to Today be closed, fourteen months after History Colorado opened its new building with that exhibit in place despite earlier protests, and nearly 149 years after the Sand Creek massacre itself, History Colorado officials met last month with tribal representatives for an official consultation on that exhibit—and much more. And as the meeting got under way at the History Colorado Center, Collision was finally closed to the public.

The exhibit devoted to the November 29, 1864, massacre of 150 people in a peaceful camp on Sand Creek—most of them women, children and the elderly—was considered one of the core "Colorado Stories" components when the History Colorado Center opened in April 2012. But tribal members weren't the only ones who had trouble with Collision: Historians complained from the start about not just the content—including inaccuracies in dates and spellings—but also its dumbed-down, Disneyfied style.

Although for months History Colorado resisted any attempts to close the display, this past April, History Colorado head Ed Nichols finally sent a letter to tribal representatives, agreeing to close the exhibit during a tribal consultation that would be facilitated by the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs. Troy Eid, the former U.S. Attorney for Colorado, was chosen to mediate the meeting between History Colorado and official representatives of the Northern Cheyenne of Montana, the Northern Arapaho of Wyoming, and the Cheyenne and Arapahoe tribes of Oklahoma.