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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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What Caused the Sand Creek Massacre?

by
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

President Obama/U. S. Congress Sear 1885 Major Crimes Act

The following is an example of how far behind
America is with respect to the native people of
America. No human being should be treated
like Native Americans have been and are
treated. America’s founders based the
United States Constitution on equality.

We must, as a people, show our respect
to native people. They eat as we eat. They
breath as we breath. They die as we die.
No human being transcends this. Give me
one reason why anyone is better than anyone
else and I will ask you, what do you mean
by better?

President Barack Obama signed legislation into law
on July 29, 2010 written to help America’s indigenous
women. The Tribal Law and Order Act passed
despite House Republicans efforts to kill the bill.
More than 90 House Republicans voted against
the bill, despite strong bipartisan support in the
Senate.

“When 1 in 3 Native American women will be raped
in their lifetimes, that is an assault on our national
conscience; it is an an affront to our shared humanity;
it is something we cannot allow to continue,” Obama
said.

A Lakota Sioux woman, Lisa Marie Iyotte,
and a rape victim which occurred in front of her 2
daughters, and whose case was never prosecuted
by overworked federal officials because the
perpetrator didn’t use a weapon, said, “If the Tribal
and Order Law had existed 16 years ago, my story
would be very different.” Ms. Iyotte stood at the
podium for several minutes, struggling through
tears to speak, before Obama appeared at her side.

The 1885 Major Crimes Act states that American
Indians cannot prosecute felony crime that occurs
on their reservations, which is the U. S. attorneys’
responsibility, and is based in cities hundreds of
miles away.

“Unquestionably, the issue of violence and crime
against Indians warrants the attention of Congress,
and it deserves better than to be considered under
the process that is most commonly used to name post
offices,” said Nathaniel Sillin, Colorado Rep. Mike
Coffman’s (R) spokesman.
###

Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC

http://www.donvasicek.com

dvasicek@earthlink.net
303-903-2103

In Memorium Sand Creek Massacre Descendant

William Lee ‘Sage Man’ Pedro, In Memoriam, by Donald L. Vasicek

2006-03-26 | William Lee “Sage Man” Pedro
Sand Creek Massacre Descendant
Southern Arapaho

I was informed today that William Lee “Sage Man” Pedro, a Sand Creek Massacre descendent, a descendant of John Smith, and a Southern Arapaho man, who has been proactive with respect to the re-burial of remains taken from the Sand Creek Massacre, died of a brain injury from a fall while shopping with his wife.

Lee, as I was honored to be able to respectfully call him, was a passionate man, whose eyes would tear and sear me when he talked about the atrocities at Sand Creek with me. Although he took me to task for being a white man who could not be trusted simply because I was a white man, and who met me nose-to-nose on several occasions to make sure I was on the straight and narrow with his people and him, he did support my efforts to tell the Cheyenne and Arapaho people’s stories via their oral histories in the educational video and documentary film. He will be missed. I gave one moment today for Lee. I looked up into the sun. My eyes drifted to green grass blades pushing their way into new life on the ground. I saw a majestic maple tree reaching for the blue sky. Then, the greening buds on its branches. A dog barked. It echoed against the silence of this moment, and I knew Lee is now with his ancestors.

I am hopeful that each of you can honor him for one minute out of your busy lives. He was an aboriginal, a native, a man who was part of the roots of America, and its rich, American history. He agonized over the way his people have been treated for nearly four centuries by the United States government and other Americans. Lee’s heart wrenched with sadness, with anger, and with pride over this.

Honor him as he has honored us.

Peace and Love,
Donald L. Vasicek
Olympus Films+, LLC

http://www.donvasicek.com

dvasicek@earthlink.net