As Margaret Coel recounts in her book, Chief Left Hand, most of the Eastern Slope of Colorado Territory was recognized as Cheyenne and Arapaho land in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie. Boulder Valley was the winter home of Chief Left Hand’s band of Arapahos. But when gold was discovered, thousands of white people invaded Colorado and the Ft. Laramie treaty was quickly forgotten. Arapaho and Cheyenne leaders realized that their small bands could never prevail over the astonishingly limitless white invasion. They sought peace, and in November 1864 led their peoples to the banks of Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado, under the protection of Ft. Lyon.
….How does healing happen? The Arapaho and Cheyenne peoples themselves initiated a process 14 years ago, led by the beloved Northern Cheyenne elder, LaForce Lee Lonebear, who passed away this September. Lonebear’s ancestor Chief White Antelope was killed at Sand Creek. Over this month’s Thanksgiving holiday, Cheyenne and Arapaho runners will complete a 170-mile Spiritual Healing Run/Walk from the Sand Creek Massacre site to Denver in honor of LaForce Lee Lonebear. This is how they describe the Run:
“The Sand Creek Massacre Spiritual Healing Run/Walk is a prayer. (It) is not a race. (It) is a commemoration for the victims and survivors of the massacre, and for healing ancestral homelands. (It) is led by an Eagle staff representing prayers of the spiritual leaders who had a vision of healing and reconciliation for the descendants of those killed at the Sand Creek Massacre site and for the future generations.”
The Cheyenne and Arapaho peoples invite us to participate in healing by returning with them for ceremonies at Sand Creek on Nov. 21, praying with them in spirit during their three-day Spiritual Healing Run/Walk, and honoring their young runners when they arrive in Denver. There will be a candlelight vigil on Nov. 24 and an official welcoming ceremony at the Capitol on Nov. 25. Event details and schedules are at one-action.org and facebook.com/sand.creek.90.
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