Panel Discussion: Lessons Learned at Bloody Sand Creek

Denver Public Library and Craig Bergsgaard Studios present:
Lessons Learned at Bloody Sand Creek, a free panel discussion on one of the most infamous chapters in Colorado history.
Sunday, April 17, 2 p.m.
Central Library, Level B2 Conference Center

Of all the atrocities perpetrated on the Native American people during the Westward expansion, Colorado was home to one of the worst: The Sand Creek Massacre.

On November 29, 1864, on the banks of the Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado, a 700-man militia raided a peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho settlement, slaughtering and mutilating the inhabitants—most of whom were women, children, and elders.

For 146 years, people have been trying to understand why and how seemingly civilized people could perpetrate such a grisly act.

An expert panel at the Denver Public Library will explore this horrific incident in a new way. Rather than point fingers at those who came before, we ask: What did Colorado learn from the Sand Creek tragedy and what lessons have we missed?

Event Details
When:  Sunday, April 17, 2-4:45 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Level B2 Conference Center
Cost: FREE, complements of sponsor Craig Bergsgaard

The panelists include experts from many disciplines ranging from military history to politics:

  • Rose Fredrick, APAA, Curator and Art Consultant
  • Col Ronald G. Machoian, PhD, Director of International Programs and Assistant Professor of Military & Strategic Studies, US Air Force Academy
  • Glenn Morris, JD, Director, Fourth World Center for the Study of Indigenous Law and Politics at CU-Denver
  • Tom Noel, PhD (“Dr. Colorado”), Professor of History and Director of Public History, Preservation & Colorado Studies at University of Colorado Denver
  • George E. “Tink” Tinker, PhD, Clifford Baldridge Professor of American Indian Cultures and Religious Traditions, Iliff School of Theology
  • Moderator of the panel will be J. Wendel Cox, PhD, Senior Special Collection Librarian, Western History and Genealogy Department of the Denver Public Library

Lessons Learned at Bloody Sand Creek is sponsored by Windsor, Colorado sculptor Craig Bergsgaard. His 2010 bronze, Memorare, Sand Creek 1864 was the impetus for the panel event.

For more info about the panelists, visit:

Sand Creek Massacre image courtesy of the Western History and Genealogy Digital Image Collection.

Written by angela on April 4, 2011


james on April 11, 2011


Was made aware of this article discusing the Brief History of the Sand Creek Massacre. Some good information.

Wendy S. on April 17, 2011


I want to thank everyone who took the time to organize this panel discussion about the Lessons Learned at Sand Creek. I was disappointed that there weren't more boundaries set in the beginning of the discussion to remind everyone, including the panelists, to stay on topic and to be respectful in sharing both sides of the story. Although this particular event was very tragic for the Cheyenne and Arapaho families who were killed, I think the discussion strayed from the point; to have experts talk about the entire event and not point fingers. Instead, we were forced to hear and see a few educated panelists rant about the past instead of intelligently discussing what I believe most of us came to learn, "What did Colorado learn from the Sand Creek tragedy and what lessons have we missed?" Perhaps a part II discussion of the Sand Creek Massacre could be scheduled in the future so everyone could better prepare to leave their baggage outside the door, talk as adults about the Sand Creek Massacre, and most importantly, learn from our past.

Mark Serour on April 19, 2011


This so-called "panel discussion" was nothing more than an occasion for Indian activists to rant from atop their soap boxes. It was clear from the outset that their political rhetoric was to be the agenda and not the events leading up to, or in the wake of Sand Creek. I fairly wasted my time and energy attending this farcical event.

Eric on November 15, 2011


So what do we learn from history, particularly that of "Sand creek"
Simple, you can legislate laws but you can't legislate people. As soon as soon as gold was found in "dem dere hills" human greed took over and just like what resulted in the Sand creek massacre, resulted in government tribal agreements being over turned... Judge if you must but the truth is "ranting" can at times be justified.

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