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July 2014
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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. Below is his award-winning trailer, which is the prototype for the feature. Contact Don for information about how you can be part of this compelling film project. You can see a longer version on the Video page.
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I worked with Cheyenne and Arapaho people on a documentary film. It was their story, and they told it, on film. One thing surfaced more than any other during the several years it took to get the job done. Respect. Respect has never really been shown to the Cheyenne and Arapaho people. If respect is shown, and it is meant, then, it will be most helpful to the Cheyenne and Arapaho people.

When writing about the Sand Creek Massacre, one should always interview Cheyenne and Arapaho people. They tell quite a story (check my award-winning documentary, “The Sand Creek Massacre”, and you will understand what I mean). If one doesn’t interview Cheyenne and Arapaho people, then they are showing disrespect to the Cheyenne and Arapaho.

Southern Cheyenne Chief Laird (Whistling Eagle)Cometsevah told me that over 400 Cheyenne people were murdered at Sand Creek. He also told me that the Arapaho people always traveled and camped about 8 miles away from the Cheyenne. He said the Arapaho were not at Sand Creek. He bases these statements on what has been passed down through his family. His great-great grandfather survived the Sand Creek Massacre.

The Cheyenne oral histories must also be respected, particularly since whoever presently writes about the Sand Creek Massacre, were not there on November 29, 1864. Cheyenne people’s ancestors were there. Cheyenne people’s ancestors passed their oral histories down through their families. So, these oral histories must be respected. They contain more facts about the Sand Creek Massacre than most Caucasians can find, many more facts.

Southern Cheyenne Joe Big Medicine

Southern Cheyenne Joe Big Medicine

Sand Creek Massacre Shows Media Failings with Objective Journalism

Media and others fail to mention that Southern Cheyenne Chief Laird (Whistling Eagle) Cometsevah told this filmmaker that there were over 400 Cheyenne murdered at Sand Creek. To make it clear, most media and others say: “…At least 150 were killed at Sand Creek…” There were more than 150 murdered, not killed at Sand Creek. The reason for this is the same reason Germans would not publicly discuss the Holocaust. They were ashamed of it. All competent journalists and the like should always interview Cheyenne people before they write something about the Sand Creek Massacre. To do anything less is to show disrespect to the Cheyenne people, something that has been going on since the 1825 Friendship Treaty promoted and signed by the Cheyenne people.

And for all of you media people out there, remember this, the most powerful kind of journalism is objective journalism. Anything less than that is writing and broadcasting with a Hollywood mentality. Don’t forget that.

Let’s get this right, folks. It’s time.

What Caused the Sand Creek Massacre?

Donald L. Vasicek

A General Chronology:

1. The breakout of the Indian Plains War of 1864 fueled by tribal skirmishes in Western Nebraska, which some believed, threatened the well being of Caucasians on the Plains.

2. In June of 1864 the Hungate family was brutally murdered by 4 Northern Arapaho Indians just miles outside of Denver City. Fear about being attacked in Denver City reached monumental proportions.

3. Denver City was flooded in June of 1864. This caused Caucasian property loss, which exposed them to the elements, which included Indians.

4. In the summer of 1864, the Colorado Territory experienced a severe drought. This caused the Cheyenne (according to Southern Cheyenne Chief Laird [Whistling Eagle]Cometsevah, the Arapaho followed the Cheyenne, always camped about 8 miles away from them, and were camped 8 miles away when the massacre occurred), who followed the buffalo, to go to where the buffalo roamed, to the Arkansas River Valley where there was water.

4. Because of the Hungate murders and rumors circulating throughout the Colorado Territory that the Cheyenne and Sioux, some 3,000 strong, were gathering at Smoky Hill to plan an attack to wipe out Denver City, Territorial Governor John Evans issued a proclamation that all Indians report to the nearest fort. Failure to do so would result in all who don’t would be deemed criminals. They would be hunted down, arrested, tried, convicted, and imprisoned.

This occurred in August of 1864. After being refused twice by Secretary of War Seward to send 10,000 troops to the Colorado Territory, Evans issued the proclamation.

5. The Cheyenne did not receive this message for 3 months because they were far from Denver City in the Arkansas River Valley. By this time, it was too late for them.

6. In September of 1864, certain Cheyenne Chiefs met with Evans at Camp Weld near Denver City. Evans ordered them to take their people and go to Fort Lyons where they would be given supplies and provisions until the U. S. government could send people to teach the Cheyenne how to plant and grow crops. This was in accordance with the 1861 Treaty of Fort Wise.

7. The Cheyenne complied. At Fort Lyons, they were ordered to give up their weapons and go to Sand Creek to await provisions, supplies, and people who would teach them how to plant and grow crops.

8. In November of 1864, Governor Evans and Colonel John M. Chivington were defeated in their runs for Congress. Statehood for Colorado was also defeated.

9. Crooked U. S. Indian Agents stole provisions and supplies intended for the Cheyenne at Sand Creek. They sold them to unsuspecting people. Meanwhile, the Cheyenne were starving at Sand Creek.

10. On November 29, 1864, 700 Colorado 1st and 3rd Cavalries, with some New Mexico troops sprinkled in for good measure, attacked and brutally murdered over 400 (Chief Cometsevah said his great-great grandfather, who survived the Sand Creek Massacre, gave that figure)Cheyenne mentally- and physically-disabled, women, children and elders (most of the younger Cheyenne men were out on a hunting trip). Troopers raped Cheyenne women. Troopers mutilated bodies, even cutting out fetuses (as Arapaho Lee Pedro said, “…a perfect act of genocide”)in Cheyenne woman, and burned most of the bodies as well as the 500 Cheyenne lodges at Sand Creek.

Camp Weld Sign in Denver