Interior Secretary Haaland Says US Is Expanding Native American Massacre Site

Interior Secretary Haaland Says US Is Expanding Native American Massacre Site

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced Wednesday the expansion of a National Park Service historic site dedicated to the massacre of more than 200 Native Americans by U.S. troops in what is now the Southeast. from Colorado.

Haaland, the first Native American to head a US cabinet agency, made the announcement during a solemn ceremony at the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, about 170 miles (272 kilometers) southeast of Denver, to honor to the dead, the survivors and their descendants.

The move marks the latest step taken by Haaland to act on issues important to Native Americans in her role as Secretary of the Interior. Haaland’s “Tribal Homelands Initiative” supports raising funds to purchase land and requires federal managers to seek indigenous knowledge about the resources.

Haaland’s selection to lead the federal agency that has exerted influence over the nation’s tribes for nearly two centuries was hailed as historic by Democrats and tribal groups who said it meant that indigenous peoples, who lived in North America before the United States was created, the first time I’ve seen a Native American lead the powerful department where decisions are made about relations with the nearly 600 federally recognized tribes.

Earlier this year, the agency released a first-of-its-kind report on Native American boarding schools that the US government supported to strip indigenous peoples of their cultures and identities. It has also formally declared “squaw” a derogatory term and has taken steps to remove it from federal government use and replace other derogatory place names.

The expansion of the Sand Creek Massacre site, about 170 miles (272 kilometers) southeast of Denver, will provide more opportunities for visitors to learn about the 1864 massacre of Cheyenne and Arapaho people, most of them women and children, Haaland said Wednesday. She stated that it is the department’s “solemn responsibility” to “tell our nation’s story.”

“The events that took place here forever changed the course of the Northern Cheyenne, Northern Arapaho, and Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes,” he said. “We will never forget the hundreds of lives that were brutally taken here – men, women and children killed in an unprovoked attack. Stories like the Sand Creek massacre are not easy to tell, but it is my duty, our duty, to make sure they are told. This story is part of American history.”

The Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site near Eads, Colorado preserves the haunting scenery of the November 29, 1864 attack by a volunteer U.S. Cavalry regiment. Troops stormed a sleeping camp of 750 Native Americans along Sand Creek, killing more than 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho, most of them women, children, and the elderly.

The expedition was apparently to retaliate for Native American raids on white settlers. Soldiers brought body parts to Denver to celebrate. But some commanders refused to attack, saying Native American leaders who believed they had made peace with the American commander of nearby Fort Lyon tried to wave white flags. Congress convicted the leader, Colonel John M. Chivington, of an unprovoked massacre.

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Sand Creek was established as a National Park Service Historic Site in 2007. The service has collaborated with the Northern Cheyenne of Montana, Northern Arapaho of Wyoming, and the Cheyenne and Arapahoe tribes of Oklahoma.

The new expansion will also preserve what Haaland called one of the largest intact shortgrass prairie ecosystems within the National Parks system.

In recent years, Colorado officials have attempted a fix.

State and US officials are preparing to rename Mount Evans, a prominent Rocky Mountain peak named after territorial Governor John Evans, who resigned after the Sand Creek massacre.

Last year, Gov. Jared Polis rescinded an 1864 proclamation by Evans that called on citizens to kill Native Americans and seize their property. In 2014, Governor John Hickenlooper apologized on behalf of the state to tribal members on the 150th anniversary of the massacre.

Tribal representatives, National Park Service Director Chuck Sams and Colorado officials, including Hickenklooper, now a US senator, attended Wednesday’s ceremony.

Incorporating land from a private seller, the expansion was funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund, established by Congress in 1964, and Great Outdoors Colorado, which invests state lottery proceeds in wilderness preservation. The lands include important archaeological remains and are considered sacred by the tribes.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.