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Governor to Sand Creek Commission: 'We made it historic'

December 12, 2014

Above: Members of the Sand Creek Massacre Commemoration Commission pose for a group photo at their follow-up meeting to the 150th events at the Rocky Mountain Conference office Dec. 10. Photo by Charmaine Robledo, Mountain Sky Area

"We made it historic. You all helped create that moment," Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said at the final Sand Creek Massacre Commemoration Commission meeting held Dec. 10 at the Rocky Mountain Conference office in Greenwood Village.

"You're part of the healing process," Hickenlooper continued. "We need to use the magnitude of that moment to amplify people's awareness."

The Sand Creek Massacre Commemoration Commission met to gather feedback about this year's 150th events. Hickenlooper asked commission members to highlight successes and improvements.

Otto Braided Hair, Sand Creek descendant and member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Montana, said he thought the events were "very successful." He said there were many participants from different states who traveled to be part of the commemoration events and the 16th Annual Spiritual Healing Run.

"For me, that's success" Braided Hair said about the people who traveled. "Everything else that happens in between is blessings."

Ernest House, Jr., of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs, acknowledged Bishop Elaine Stanovsky for initially pulling this group together, as well as the hard work of the commission itself.

"Everybody has put themselves in a great giving capacity," House said.

As for next steps, the governor has been given a list of recommendations, such as developing a Sand Creek curriculum for schools and expanding the state's memorials for the Sand Creek Massacre. Ed Nichols, of History Colorado, said they are exploring an exhibit and memorial at the museum with the inclusion of artifacts.

The key factor for Sand Creek, as Hickenlooper put it, is "continuing those pathways to healing."

Below: From left, Bishop Elaine Stanovsky, Gov. John Hickenlooper, Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia and Ernest House, Jr., of the Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs, talk about last week's Sand Creek Massacre 150th Commemoration. Photo by Charmaine Robledo, Mountain Sky Area