Carol Berry
A carrier of the eagle staff for the annual Sand Creek Massacre Memorial Run took a moment to reflect at the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site near Eads, Colorado, where ceremony was conducted before young runners started out on their three-day journey to the state capitol.

Sand Creek Descendants Seek Reparations for 1864 Massacre

Carol Berry

Some Sand Creek massacre descendants, fed up with government inaction and the probable mishandling of reparations for their ancestors’ murders, are taking legal action to force an accounting of funds and a fulfillment of other provisions of an 1866 treaty.

The U.S. has failed to pay out or to keep track of trust funds that should have gone to descendants of those massacred in 1864, despite more than 100 attempts by government fiscal agencies over the last century to account for the resources cited in the Treaty of Little Arkansas.

Those are contentions in a class action lawsuit charging that the U.S. has “never accounted to any Indian, ever, as required by law, for the [Sand Creek] trust funds held, managed or controlled” by the government.

The horrific massacre of more than 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal members, most of them women, children and the elderly, took place in a southeast Colorado Territory peace camp by cavalry under the command of U.S. Army Col. John Chivington, who said he had “come to kill Indians and believe[d] it is right and honorable to use any means under God’s heaven to kill Indians,” the petition states.

Four tribal descendants of massacre victims filed the lawsuit, against the United States, the Department of the Interior, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The plaintiffs, from Oklahoma, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado on July 11.

Chivington and the massacre’s atrocities came under scrutiny by the Army and others and he resigned, but money appropriated by Congress in 1866 to reimburse “members of the bands of Arapaho and Cheyenne Indians who suffered at Sand Creek” was insufficient, according to the court filing.

A class action is required, the plaintiffs said, because it’s believed there are more than 15,000 descendants of massacre victims at present and each is entitled to a share of reparations promised by treaty in order to “repudiate the gross and wanton outrages perpetrated against certain bands of Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians” at Sand Creek November 29, 1864.

The charge of flawed government administration of Sand Creek trust funds echoes the larger revelation of mismanagement of individual Indian trust monies and tribal trust accounts settled in 2012 in Cobell v. Salazar et al., which established a general picture of negligence by the federal government.

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page



Two Bears Growling's picture
Two Bears Growling
Submitted by Two Bears Growling on
A dishonorable nation with leaders with serpents tongues & lies that roll as freely as a spring stream. The washichu leaders are as wicked & deceitful today as they were 149 years ago. Nothing will ever change so long as evil rules such a people who treat some differently based on ones skin color, religion, place of origin. There is no one so blind as he who has eyes yet refuses to see the truth. There is one no deaf as he who has ears & yet refuses to listen to that which is true. Rest assured that in the time of ancestors it was just as bad & at times even worse my friends. Does that excuse things then as well as today? No! In time the Great Spirit who judges ALL injustice & hands down HIS justice regardless of who someone is, how much money they may have or who their family may be. The Creator does not turn a blind eye to wickedness my friends. He & the Army of Light which He commands seeks out evil & destroys it! Let's pray to Man Above for the justice we seek! Let us seek His vengeance & His justice that comes at the time the Great Spirit says it is time. Death does not let the evil ones escape for all the wickedness they did upon the face of Mother Earth. At the end of time the Creator Himself shall judge every evil thought, deed & action. Sometimes we do not understand why evil deeds are not punished in this realm that we walk. Sometimes it seems unjust when those wicked ones did not pay for all they did while they walked among the land of the living. Our Creator's justice comes at just the right time. Either while we are still walking on this journey or at the end of time when all deeds are judges good or evil. Take care my friends across Indian Country & may He who made all things watch over & protect you all & those you love.