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Trail honors victims of massacre

2006-08-16T23:00:00Z Trail honors victims of massacreThe Associated Press The Associated Press
August 16, 2006 11:00 pm  • 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) -- Arapaho and Cheyenne tribal members -- some in business suits, some in basketball jerseys and others in traditional regalia -- danced outside the Union Pacific Depot on Wednesday to celebrate the creation of the Sand Creek Massacre Trail, commemorating the deaths of more than 150 of their ancestors.

''It's finally done,'' said Gail Ridgley, a Northern Arapaho tribal member whose ancestor Lame Man survived the Sand Creek Massacre. ''This is about historical and educational awareness and about the spiritual healing of the Cheyenne and Arapaho people.

''This is to memorialize and remember those who fell innocently at Sand Creek -- to memorialize because they're still there, and the trauma is still there.''

On the morning of Nov. 29, 1864, members of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes camping along Big Sandy Creek in southeastern Colorado Territory were attacked by Col. John Chivington and his 800 militia troops. Most of the tribes' men were away hunting, leaving mostly women, children and the elderly in the camp. Fewer than a dozen soldiers died, while an estimated 150 or more Indians were killed.

An investigation concluded that the Indians were ''surprised and murdered, in cold blood,'' but neither Chivington nor his men were ever punished.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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