SAND CREEK MASSACRE (1864) / THE FAMILIES' STORIES
The Stories

In September of 1863 the Governor of Colorado Territory was named John Evans. He attempted to get the several chiefs of the Cheyennes and the Arapahoes who signed the 1861 Fort Wise Treaty that gave up the lands assigned the tribes by the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1851 to get all the Chiefs to meet and agree to take a reservation along the Arkansas River.
Failing to get no one to show up in Sept. of 1863 made Gov. Evans angry. Evans planned for war with the tribes. He was joined by the military commander of the District of Colorado, Colonel John M. Chivington, the hero of Glorieta Pass. Chivington was a Methodist minister turned soldier.
Black Kettle and several other chiefs and several Arapahoes wanted peace. Evans and Chivington met with these chiefs at Camp Weld near Denver on Sept. 26, 1864. The Indians thought the whites wanted peace so the Indians turned in their arms at Ft. Lyon and went to camp on Sand Creek.Then on Nov. 29, 1864, without any warning Chivington, the 1st. Colorado Cavalry and the 100 Day Enlistees of the 3rd. Cavalry attacked the sleeping village of the Cheyennes and one Arapahoe family. 
"The soldiers slaughtered the defenseless Indians in a most brutal manner, killing men, women, and children indiscriminately and mutilating in revolting fashion the bodies of those who fell. Black kettle and others escaped, but about one hundred and fifty Indians, including White Antelope, were killed in this Sand Creek Massacre."
(References- The Great White Father, The United States Government and the American Indians, By Francis Paul Prucha, Univ. of Neb. Press, 1984, Pages 458-59.)
Note: The 1865 Little Arkansas Treaty, Article 6, states that the Government will pay to certain Cheyenne families from certain bands that suffered at the Sand Creek Massacre damages for annuities, livestock, land, provisions, and loss of life to the descendants or survivors. These damages are individual claims and no attorneys, tribal officials or business committee members of any tribe or tribes can file this claim, speak on behalf or represent the certain families that had losses at Sand Creek Massacre unless the certain families agree to such with whoever they choose to represent them in any court of law for damages.
No one has the authority to represent the descendants as a whole in any land deals or any dealings involving business ventures without fully consulting the descendants and getting a legal agreement from the descendants and only the descendants.
(John Sipes Cheyenne Files-- Sand Creek Massacre)

The People

  The following is the list of Cheyennes killed 
at Sand Creek Massacre, according to the U.S. War Department records: 

Vo-ke-cha/White Hat
Na-ko-ne-tum/Bear Skin or Robe 
Na-ko-yu-sus/Wounded Bear
O-ko-che-voh-i-tan/Crow Necklace
No-ko-a-mine/Bear Feathers
Ne-sko-mo-ne/Two Lances
O-ne-mok-tan/Black Wolf
Vo-ki-ve-cum-se-mos-ta/White Antelope
E-se-ma-ki/One Eye
Ne-so-min-ni/Tall Bear
Co-kah-you-son-ne/Feather Head
On-ne-ma(hito)/Tall or Big Wolf
O-ka-cha-his-ta/Heap of Crows -
killed were both a father and son 
of the same name, 
and the sons wife and children.
O-ko-che-vo-voi-se/Spotted Crow
Ma-pa-vin-iste/Standing Water
Make-ti-he/Big Head
Mah-she-ne-(ve)/Red Arm 
No-ko-ist/Sitting Bear
Vou-ti-pat/Kiowa
Mak-o-wah/Big Shell 
O-ne-ah-tah/Wolf Mule 
Ve-hoe/White Man
Oh-to-mai-ha/Tall Bull 
Mok-tow/Black Horse 
Oh-co-mo-on-est/Yellow Wolf 
No-veh-yah/Loser in the Race
 
 
 

 

( Family Oral Stories In Interviews And Stories Told To John Sipes On Sand Creek Massacre (1864) and the Lodge Pole (Washita) Massacre (1868) By Family Elders):

Verna Standing Bird Yellow Cloud, Wilbur Standing Bird, Cleo Sipes, Woodrow Goose, Sherman Goose, Pete Bird Chief, Jr., Gladys Red Bird Beartusk Barton, Prairie Woman Red Bird, Small Back Snake, No-wa-hy (Cora Prairie Chief Flynn), Susie Standing Bird Reynolds, Everett Wilson, and my many gt. aunts and gt. uncles of the Standing Bird and Medicine Water extended family that took time to share stories with me on Cheyenne history and culture.

These oral stories were handed down from Medicine Water, Man on Cloud, Iron Shirt, Measure Woman Standing Bird, Sprinkle Horse Woman, Standing Bird, Goose, Little Woman Curious Horn, White Buffalo Woman Goose, Bird Chief, Woista (White Girl Beartusk Wilson), John Wilson, Man Riding on Cloud and many other elders of the family.

The research on the Sand Creek Massacre of families who were there should include the families who are related by intermarriage to the Sioux and still today live on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Other Sioux Sand Creek descendants have been traced to link with Cheyenne families through the research of Ruby Bushyhead and John Sipes and the Donald J. Berthrong Collection.
Not all the Northern Cheyennes from Montana will be descendants of Sand Creek Massacre. Only certain bands of the Cheyennes were located on the Arkansas River (Colorado) during the time of Sand Creek and the other bands of Cheyennes were located on the North Platte River and Powder River areas.

The Sand Creek Massacre has remained a mystery of what actually happened. Researchers from the National Park Service and certain appointed Cheyenne and Arapaho consultants have been working to locate the camp site in Colorado. Reports state they have found the site and are working to make a memorial site there to be managed by the National Park Service for the tribes. As of September, 2004, reports are that the Sand Creek descendants who had families who died and survived or were wounded there need to get written permission from several appointed representatives of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes to enter the site whether it be for sacred ceremonies or to visit the site now managed by the National Park Service.

There is other research and documentation that has been compiled on the Sand Creek Massacre site that will beyond a doubt show the present site is only a small portion of the actual location and needs to be addressed and looked at by all parties involved with the site research.
During the last 15 years there has been much artifacts and human remains returned to the Cheyenne Sand Creek descendants through the NAGPRA (Native American and Graves Repatriation Act) through tribal appointed representatives and the Sand Creek descendants are today still requesting reports on this so much more history can be added to the massacre by families,

The Ft. Marion POW project will be working in this area as the POWs were all Sand Creek Massacre descendants and descendants of the Washita Massacre.

Information on the students that attended Carlisle Indian School and other boarding schools from 1879-1930 will be researched and compiled as these students were Ft. Marion, Sand Creek Massacre, and Washita Massacre descendants also.
Oral stories from the descendants will be added to the POW project.)
(Sipes Notes On Sand Creek, 2004)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Co-pe-pah/Coffee
Ta-ik-ha-seh/Cut Nose
Veh-yah-nak-hoh/Hog
No-ko-nis-seh/Lame Bear
Oh-tam-i-mi-neh/Dog Coming Up
Why-mih-est/Foot Tracks
One-vah-kies/Bob-Tail Wolf
Mo-ke-kah/Blue Crane
Ah-kah/Skunk
Ni-het/Mound Of Rocks
Vos-ti-o-kist/White Calf
Oh-e-vil/(Morning Star or Dull Knife, 
     listed as Black Kettles brother)
Min-ne-no-ah/Whirlwind or Standing Bear 
     Mi-hah-min-est/Spirit Walking
Wost-sa-sa-mi/White Crane
Wi-can-noh/Forked Stick
O-hit-tan/Crow
Mah-hite/(Iron ?)
Mah-ki-mish-yov/Big Child
Man-i-tan/Red Paint
To-ha-voh-yest/White Faced Bull
No-ko-ny-u-/Kills Bear
No-ko-nih-tyes/Big Louse
O-ha-ni-no/Man On Hill
Mah-voh-ca-mist/White Beaver
Mah-in-ne-est/Following His Wife
    (This could be Turtle Following His Wife)
Mak-iv-veya-tah/Wooden Leg
O-ma-ish-po/Big Smoke
Ne-o-mi-ve-yuh/Sand Hill
Mo-ha-yah/Elk AKA Cohoe
Van-nit-tah/Spanish Woman
O-tat-ta-wah/Blue Horse

Other names that researchers said should have been on the list were:
Kingfisher
Cut Lip Bear
Smoke or Big Smoke
One Eye
Big Man 
Cheyenne Chief Left Hand.

Other heads of families listed as present in the camps 
     at Sand Creek Massacre were:
Moke-tah-vah-to/Black Kettle 
     (Suhtai Chief married into the Cheyenne tribe); 
Kah-makt/ Stick or Wood; 
Oh-no-mis-ta/Wolf That Hears; 
Co-se-to/Painted or Pointed Tomahawk; 
Ta-na-ha-ta/One Leg; 
O-tah-nis-to(te)/Bull That Hears; 
O-tah-nis-ta-to-ve/Seven Bulls
Mis-ti-mah/Big Owl
No-ko-i-yan/Bear Shield
Vo-ki-mok-tan/Black Antelope 
O-to-a-yest-yet/Bull Neck
Sish-e-nue-it/Snake
Non-ne/Lame Man, White Bear or Curious Horn 
O-ne-na-vist/Wolf Horn
Com-sev-vah/Shriveled Leg
O-ne-i-nis-to/Wolf That Speaks or 
     Howling Wolf 
No-ko-i-kat/Little Bear
O-ne-mi-yesp/Flying Bird 
Moh-sehna-vo-voit/Spotted Horse 
Ish-ho-me-ne/Rising Sun
Wip-puh-tah/Empty Belly
Mah-oist/Red Sheath
Ak-kin-noht/Squirrel
Meh-on-ne/Making Road
O-ko-oh-tu-eh/Bull Pup, 
Male Crow O-ye-kis/Man Who Peeps Over The Hill 
O-ne-i-kit/Little wolf
Sa-wah-nah/Shawnee
Mok-tok-kah/Wolf Road
O-ha-va-man/Scabby Man
Ta-ne-vo/Arapahoe
A-st-yet/Bushy Head
Ca-sum-mi/Wolf Grey
Kah-i-nist-teh/Standing Skunk
Kast-yah/Lean Belly
O-Ko-kah/Four Bears
     (this seems to be a misinterpretation)
No-ko-mi-kis/Old bear
Tah-vo-tuveh/Mad Bull
Vo-tou-yah/Tall Bird
No-ko-se-vist/? Bear
Es-toh/Stuffed Gut
Oh-mah/Little Beaver
Mah-hi-vist/Red Bird
Ve-hoe/White Man
O-ko-che-ut-tan-yuh/Male Crow 
E-yo-vah-hi-heh/Yellow Woman 
Min-hit-it-tan-yeh/Male Cherry 
A-ya-ma-na-kuh/Bear Above
O-kin-neh/Smooth Face
No-ku-hist/(Possibly White Bear)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Watonga Republican Newspaper, June 24, 1998.
Sand Creek Survivors Moved To Cherry Creek.
By John Sipes.
On November 29, 1864, Col. John Chivington at sunrise attacked a Cheyenne village on Sand Creek in southeast Colorado.
"The Wutapiu clan headed by Black Kettle was the sufferer of most lives lost. The Heviqsnipahis clan headed by Sand Hill had the least loss of lives, mainly because they were camped farther down on Sand Creek.
Yellow Wolfs Hevhaitaniu clan lost about half of their people. Yellow Wolf was killed with his people in this camp.He was 85 years old and he also lost his brother, Big Man.
The Oivimana clan also lost half its people. White Antelope with his clan of Hisometainio lost many people. Chief One Eye (Lone Bear) was killed with many of his band.The Suthai clan lost a few people." (George Bent Letters).
The people ran up Sand Creek to escape and the soldiers fought with them at different points for about 5 miles. This lasted for about 6 hours. Some sources say the pursuit lasted for about 10 miles up Sand Creek by the soldiers.
Major Anthony stated the fight went on for 5 hours up the creek. George Bent stated the soldiers stopped fighting and killing the people at 5:00 in the evening.
"The rifle pits dug by the people were about 2 miles up the creek. The butchery of the people took place during the initial attack when the warriors were pinned down in the rifle pits." (Little Bear, survivor, to George Bent).
The plunder of the camp lasted about two days after the Cheyennes had fled. Chivington then marched down the Arkansas River to attack the Arapahoes, but they had fled their camps and went to the camps of the Kiowas and the Comanches south of the Arkansas River.
Chivington stated he left 400-600 dead Cheyennes at Sand Creek. Ed Guerrier, who was with the Cheyennes for about four weeks afterwards, said there were 148 missing, 60 being men and the rest women and children.
George Bent, 25 years later, stated to Samuel F.Tappan by letter that 137 Cheyennes were killed: 8 were men and the rest were women and children. Ten men who were present at the massacre put the dead at 150-200.
The Cheyennes with the wounded fled to a large Dog Soldier camp located at the Big Timbers (Headwaters of the Smoky Hill River). After a few days they moved to a large Sioux camp on the Solomon River. From here the camp moved to Cherry Creek, a tributary that flows into the South Fork of the Repiblican River.
Here the camps consisted of Spotted Tails and Pawnee Killers Sioux. Some Northern Arapahoe were also camped on Cherry Creek.
The war pipe had been sent out to the Sioux tribes camps before the Cheyenne left Big Timbers encampment. The Dog Soldiers and the Northern Arapahoes also smoked the war pipe. All who smoked the war pipe and the Sand Creek survivors gathered at Cherry Creek formed a village of about 1000 lodges strong.
On January 1, 1865, the chiefs decided to attack Julesburg, Colorado, located on the South Platte River in the extreme northeast corner of Colorado. Around 1000 strong they moved from Cherry Creek to Julesburg, taking along women with extra horses to help carry back the plunder to camp.
Camp Rankin, a small Army post stood just up the Lodge Pole Creek from Julesburg.
It presented no problem to the Indians. On January 7, 1865, the town was attacked and much plunder taken. It took three days to get back to camp on Cherry Creek.
The Cheyennes stayed on Cherry Creek some days and on January 15 they broke camp and moved to White Butte Creek, half way between the South Fork of the Republican and the South Fork of the Platte River.
The Army, under Brigadier Gen. Mitchell, scoured the Platte, Medicine Creek, Red Willow, Blackwood, White Mans Fork, Stinking Water and Ten-Mile Creeks. They camped at Big Timbers and went to White Butte, but the Cheyennes had already left. Mitchell finally went down the Republican never finding the Cheyennes.
Black Kettle left the camps at White Butte with 80 lodges heading south of the Arkansas to join the Southern Arapahoes, kiowas, and Comanches. That same spring they met with the Government officials and the Army and signed a treaty at the Little Arkansas River.
Cherry Creek is where the plains war between the Indians and the whites began. The war lasted 12 years and culminated at the Little Big Horn River in Montana in 1876 with the Custer fight.
On September 8, 1990, Tobe Zweygardt, of St. Francis, Kansas, Cheyenne County (Kansas) historian and metal sclptor, held a dedication ceremony in honor of the Cheyenne survivors of the Sand Creek Massacre. Metal sculptors designed by Tobe and placed at the Cherry Creek site to honor the survivors were also dedicated.
Descendants of those survivors, John Sipes and his family, participated. John Sipes mother, Cleo Wilson Sipes, cried as she looked on the site and remembered the sufferings of her people as passed down through oral history. John spoke at the dedication thanking Tobe and the people of western Kansas for the memorial and honoring those that died and suffered and were wounded at Sand Creek.
Watonga Republican, March 11, 1909.
Buffalo Woman, wife of White Antelope, died at the age of 71. Was one of two wives with her sister. Sororate marriage.
Brothers are, Yellow Shirt, a policeman, Chief Bushy Head, Yellow Bear, Little Bird, Victor Bushy Head, Stump Horn. Sisters are, Mrs. Red Leaf and Mrs. Bear Louse.
She was the last custodian of the mysteries of the lodge decorations.
Father of White Antelope was White Antelope, killed by Chivington at Sand Creek.

Text Copyright (c) 2004 Sipe/Berthrong Cheyenne Collections.