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Award-winning Writer/Filmmaker Donald L. Vasicek's dream is to create awareness by documenting the Sand Creek Massacre. The Centennial, Colorado filmmaker/writer has worked for numerous years, using his money to produce a feature documentary film about the Sand Creek Massacre. You can see a longer version on the Video page.
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BROOMFIELD HEIGHTS MIDDLE SCHOOLHello Everyone,

A funny thing happened to me during the screenings of
“The Sand Creek Massacre” film at Broomfield Heights
Middle School this past Friday. Five different classes.
Over 125 individual kids. The biggest rise I got out
of all of these kids was when I mentioned that
I was an old geezer and I still had my original teeth.
They laughed out loud.

You gotta think about that. The subject matter, racism,
the fact that it was Friday and it was the first class of
the day, cast a gloom in the classroom. The kids and
teacher were tired. They needed a boost. So, I caused
them to brighten their faces, wake up and have some fun.

How much did you know about racism when you were in
the 8th grade? I knew nothing. But, in these classes, terms
like racism, genocide, points-of-view, collision, terrorism, beheadings,
mutilations, ISIS and Nazis, were parts of the classroom discussions when the
teacher started each class session, during the film and when I spoke to each class
after each screening.

I was impressed with the intelligence, the knowledge,
the discipline, the attention, the respect and the manners expressed
by the students during this day long affair. It was a learning
and growing experience for this old geezer, and one that
I will always cherish.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Best Regards,
Don

Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC
The Zen of Writing & Screenwriting

http://www.donvasicek.com

dvasicek@earthlink.netBROOMFIELD HEIGHTS MIDDLE SCHOOL

Sand Creek Massacre, Racism and History

SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE TRAIL

SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE TRAIL

Sand Creek Massacre Site Trail

Hello, Everyone,

There have been educators, historians, politicians, retired military, authors, writers and the like who have confronted me about my perspective on the Sand Creek Massacre (battle?).  Many believe that it was a battle whereby the Indian Plains War of 1864, the Hungate murders in June of 1864 about 15 miles southeast of Denver City, racism, ignorance about the Indian culture, hate, power, skirmishes between troops and Indians and settlers and Indians, etc. triggered Colonel John M. Chivington, with over 700 1st and 3rd Colorado Cavalry in addition to New Mexico troops and four 12-pound canons (first and only time canons were used in Colorado during a battle (massacre?), to attack defenseless Cheyenne and Arapaho special needs people (Cheyenne Chiefs are responsible for everyone in their tribe. Where they travel, so does everyone else. Chief Black Kettle was the Cheyenne Chief of the Council of 44 Chiefs at Sand Creek), elders, women and children at Sand Creek while the warriors were out on a hunting trip.

The Fort Wise 1861 Treaty and amended in 1864 sent the Cheyenne and Arapaho to Fort Lyon and then to Sand Creek where it is arid and the land is barren and consists primarily of sagebrush and mostly treeless. The Fort Wise Treaty stipulated that the U. S. government would provide tools and seeds and teach the Cheyenne and Arapaho to raise crops on this land in place of following the buffalo, which is how they had always survived. U. S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs A. B. Greenwood, the government’s negotiator, told Chief Black Kettle at the time of the negotiations that he would represent the Cheyenne and Arapaho after Chief Black Kettle raised the question about legal representation for the Indians, which was, at the least, a conflict of interest, and illegal.

This attack at Sand Creek resulted in rape, executions, murder, mutilations and burning of the Cheyenne and Arapaho people who were camped at Sand Creek. My perspective counters those who say that with the fear of the Cheyenne and Sioux congregating on Smoky Hill to plan an attack on Denver City resulted in the Sand Creek Massacre (battle?). Based on years of research, which has included reading numerous books, articles, websites, academic journals, interviewing educators, historians, politicians, military persons, letters by people during those times including Silas Soule, a hero of the Sand Creek Massacre because he refused to unlimber his canon on the Cheyenne and Arapaho people who were fleeing the attack authors, writers, Cheyenne and Arapaho people and the like, it is my opinion that the Sand Creek Massacre (battle?) was a massacre. Much like ISIL and Nazis, some Colorado and New Mexico troops brutalized the Cheyenne and Arapaho people in the Sand Creek camp including beheading, burning and execution.

Those who have opposed my opinion about this have used a counter argument that the Cheyenne and Arapaho people along with the Sioux were intent on wiping out all of the Caucasian people in the Colorado Territory, and thus, the reason for the massacre (battle?). The question everyone should ask themselves regarding the Sand Creek Massacre (battle?), ISIL and the Nazis is, what came first, the egg or the chicken? (so to speak). Who was on American soil before it became American soil? Who set out to create a master race by murdering everyone who did/do not fit the profile of the Nazis or ISIL’s?

Indians were on soil that became American soil before Caucasian people were on this soil. A host of religions and cultures battled and massacred by extremists to kill all unbelievers with respect to what the Prophet Mohammad intended when he wrote the “Qur’an”, but has been “misinterpreted” just like the “Bible” has been misinterpreted, has resulted in the most heinous of crimes on human beings.

The fine point of this discussion is to point out that after watching my award-winning Sand Creek Massacre documentary film, which was cataloged into the Smithsonian Institute Libraries, in addition to museums, colleges, schools, universities, libraries, and numerous venues, two fourth grade classes at Federal Heights Elementary School in Colorado, based on an assignment, sent me letters, 19 in all, each sharing with me their opinions regarding the Sand Creek Massacre (battle?) after I answered their questions in the school library after the screening of the film.

Maria: “In my opinion, the Indians were treated badly from the soldiers.”

Valeria: “…The soldiers trapped the Cheyenne, they did not know where to go.”

Aisha: “…The Native Americans were treated unfairly they had a surprise attack on them.”

Kevin: “…Indians thought the whites wanted peace, so they surrendered their weapons to get food.”

Nevaeh: “…The Native Americans put up a white flag and the calvary still attacked the Indians by
by surprise…the Native Americans were unprepared and couldn’t fight back.”

Michelle: “I am really disappointed at what the calvary did to the Indians.”

Jaquelin: “I heard there were two boys that informed all the Indians Colonel Chivington soldiers that attacked the Indians did not get punished. In addition I learned that the Indians
who went to camp at Sand Creek raised two flags and thought they would be safer
there, but they were wrong. The soldiers ignored it and attacked the Indians anyways.
I agree that the soldiers did the wrong thing.”

Perla: “…I don’t think the army should have taken the Indians property because they
wouldn’t like the Native Americans taking their property.”

Amiah: “I’ve got another question: Why did the soldiers take the parts of dead Indians they
killed?”

Dominick: “..I think that the Native people were mistreated. My first reason is that they surrendered their weapons. Next, the only people at Sand Creek were women, kids and elders.
Finally, they were surprised by the attack.”

Bethany: “…I want to say they should not have been attacked because Col. John Chivington thought all Indians were bad.”

Alejandra: “…innocent people died because the soldiers wanted revenge. I think this is very sad that this happened in Colorado.”

Joservis: “…the soldiers snuck up on the Native Americans at Sand Creek. This was a bad thing to do. the Native Americans tried to make peace with the soldiers.”

Lamila: “…the cavalry thought all Indians were bad.”

Lurita: “…the Indians didn’t have their weapons, so they could not fight back.”

Edwin: “In my opinion, the Indians were right because not all the Indians attacked settlers.”

Jonathan: “…all the Indians traded their weapons for food, but instead they were attacked.”

Isaac: “…They got slaughtered because they had no weapons…they scalped the Indians and bragged about it at the fort.”

William: “…the Indians should not have been killed during the massacre or should not have been killed at all!”

The essence of this discussion centers around how all of us, individually and/or collectively, can help influence young minds to steer them away from ignorance, fear, hate and racism. We can do it by setting examples for them. We can do it by helping youth understand why people do what they do and what consequences they face when they make bad choices. When cultures and/or religions clash, it is up to us to transcend a violent reaction. In place of that, we have to strive to learn and grow as individuals in our war against tragedies like the Sand Creek Massacre, World War II and the war against ISIL, Al-Qa’ida, and over 20 other extremist groups in the world.

Step Number 1 in elevating our minds and hearts to move away from violent reactions to racism is to show respect to all. The Cheyenne people have repeatedly told me all they ever have desired is to be shown respect. And it boils down to this as far as I’m concerned, how have you felt when you haven’t been shown respect? How do you react? How have you reacted? Have you fueled the fire of ignorance by striking back? How do you deal with it? Racism can be neutralized by showing respect to all others. Sure, it is impossible to show respect to insanity like what ISIL and other extremist groups are exhibiting. However, one can show respect to Islam and Muslims by not connecting them to these groups that are wrecking havoc on the world.
Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC
The Zen of Writing & Screenwriting
http://www.donvasicek.com
dvasicek@earthlink.net
thezenofwriting@icloud.com
303-903-2103

http://www.sandcreekmassacre.net
(Purchase DVD at http://www.films.com/ecTitleDetail.aspx?TitleID=13926&r=SR)

http://captainmovie.weebly.com/

Racism, Sand Creek & 4th Graders

The Sand Creek Massacre Olympus Films+, LLC Newsletter

 

Colorado Territorial Governor John Evans

Colorado Territorial Governor John Evans

4th Graders Jolt Filmmaker

My first thoughts when I was invited to screen my film
and answer questions at Federal Heights Elementary School
was that I hoped somehow the message of the film would get
through to the 4th graders who were going to view it. Well,
they certainly put that notion to rest.

Maria: “In my opinion, the Indians were treated badly from the soldiers.”

Valeria: “…The soldiers trapped the Cheyenne, they did not know where to go.”

Aisha: “…The Native Americans were treated unfairly they had a surprise attack on them.”

Kevin: “…Indians thought the whites wanted peace, so they surrendered their weapons to get food.”

Nevaeh: “…The Native Americans put up a white flag and the cavalry still attacked the Indians by surprise…the Native Americans were unprepared and couldn’t fight back.”

Michelle: “I am really disappointed at what the cavalry did to the Indians.”

Jaquelin: “I heard there were two boys that informed all the Indians. Colonel Chivington and the soldiers that attacked the Indians did not get punished. In addition I learned that the Indians who went to camp at Sand Creek raised two flags and thought they would be safer there, but they were wrong. The soldiers ignored it and attacked the Indians anyways. I agree that the soldiers did the wrong thing.”

<PastedGraphic-3.pdf>
Perla: “…I don’t think the army should have taken the Indians property because they wouldn’t like the Native Americans taking their property.”

Amiah: “I’ve got another question: Why did the soldiers take the parts of dead Indians they killed?”

Dominick: “…I think that the Native people were mistreated. My first reason is that they surrendered their weapons. Next, the only people at Sand Creek were women, kids and elders. Finally, they were surprised by the attack.”

Bethany: “…I want to say they should not have been attacked because Col. John Chivington thought all Indians were bad.”

Alejandra: “…innocent people died because the soldiers wanted revenge. I think this is very sad that this happened in Colorado.”

Joservis: “…the soldiers snuck up on the Native Americans at Sand Creek. This was a bad thing to do. The Native Americans tried to make peace with the soldiers.”

Lamila: “…the cavalry thought all Indians were bad.”

Lurita: “…the Indians didn’t have their weapons, so they could not fight back.”

Edwin: “In my opinion, the Indians were right because not all the Indians attacked settlers.”

Jonathan: “…all the Indians traded their weapons for food, but instead they were attacked.”

Isaac: “…They got slaughtered because they had no weapons…they scalped the Indians and bragged about it at the fort.”

William: “…the Indians should not have been killed during the massacre or should not have been killed at all!”

The Spark

I felt relaxed when I walked into Federal Heights Elementary School library this past November. There is a certain smell there. It was books. I knew it was books. I grew up with books. I climbed inside of them for protection from the horrors of the outside world where reality meant I had to dodge a compliment of demands on me that didn’t have anything to do with the Edward Stratemeyer’s Frank and Joe Hardy mystery stories, the old newspaper articles about the history of the small town in Nebraska where I grew up, geography books, history books, Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, William Golding, Ray Bradbury, C. S. Lewis, John Steinbeck, Truman Capote books and the list goes on and on and on.

And as I met the teacher who invited me and the 3 other teachers to come show my Sand Creek Massacre documentary film to two 4th grade classes, I looked out over the crowd of people who had gathered in the nicely-lit room. Kids and teachers were settling in to watch the film. It’s a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by young minds that are burgeoning with promise, happiness and intelligence. The teachers sitting to the back of the audience cast shining rays of a genuine interest in their kids. I’ve always had this thing about teachers. I love them. They work so hard, far beyond the regular workday. They teach kids. They provide a launching pad for kids to go out into life and make something of their lives. Anyway, that’s what school teachers did for me as I was growing up and if anything, they are even working harder now with respect to the challenges technology presents them.

So, I said a few words about the Sand Creek Massacre, nodded to the teacher at a computer. She snapped off the lights. She flicked on the film. It became very quiet in the library. I stepped off to the side. While the film played, I observed the audience.

As a filmmaker, you always have that niggling fear that your film is going to bore the audience. But, these 4th graders’ eyes were riveted to the screen. I set out 12 years ago to do exactly what I was doing, informing, educating and creating awareness with respect to racism, particularly for young people. Those of you who have an awareness of ISIL, the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazis and a host of other hate-filled groups in the world can appreciate how vital it is to educate young people with respect to culture, race and religion so that racism and bigotry can be attacked by learning about how being racist can eat away at one’s heart and mind like battery acid until it is reduced to a closed-mind and an empty heart.

19 of these 4th graders sent me letters based on the presentation at their school. Some of the excerpts from those letters are above. Their words exhibit an awareness for what I had always hoped. Their sensibility about racism was far higher than I could have ever thought. Regardless of what is going on in our world today with respect to racism, there are schools, teachers and kids who are raising their perception about racism, and that is good. Hate is an ugly emotion. Knowledge is a beautiful emotion. It guides the direction of a human mind and when kids learn about racism, it can only elevate their intelligence and give them some tools with which to deal with racism in a positive manner.

More On The Sand Creek Massacre

A more detailed breakdown regarding the Sand Creek Massacre and my work making this film is on the sandcreekmassacre.net website should you want to read more about it.

News Bulletin

Bill Tallbull, Cheyenne, of the National Park Service, Indian Affairs and American Culture, has asked me to help them out in a presentation of my film to 300 Northglenn students,
and possibly additional schools to follow. More on this in the future.

Invitation

Should the occasion present itself and you have an interest, please pass the word that I am actively seeking venues to screen the film and answer questions regarding it. The theme is racism. I recently screened the film before the Centennial Rotary Club. Past venues have been schools, colleges, universities, organizations, groups, corporations, clubs, television, theatrical, etc. My contact information is: dvasicek@earthlink.net. 303-903-2103.

Thank you for your continuing interest and support.

Best Regards,
Don

Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC
The Zen of Writing & Screenwriting

http://www.donvasicek.com

dvasicek@earthlink.net
thezenofwriting@icloud.com
303-903-2103

http://www.sandcreekmassacre.net

(Purchase DVD at http://www.films.com/ecTitleDetail.aspx?TitleID=13926&r=SR)

http://captainmovie.weebly.com/

<BEST PHOTO 5-27-2011.tiff>

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