This poster was presented at A Century of Design in the Parks Symposium, Santa Fe, New Mexico, June 21-23, 2016.
By Dominic Henry
The Sand Creek Massacre Historical Site was established to remember victims and survivors from a tragic act of genocide due to Westward Expansion. The location is where about 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho men, women and children were slaughtered by the U.S. Colorado militia on the morning of November 29. 1864. Although Chief Black Kettle raised an American flag over his teepee as a symbol of peace, his village was still attacked by the U.S. Calvary.
The site reminds us of our nation’s earliest and darkest segments of history that goes beyond the eras of the Great Depression.
The National Park Service and its partners established the Sand Creek Massacre Historical Site as a place of remembrance on April 28, 2007. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The planning stages for the Sand Creek site involved consulting with tribal leaders of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations. The National Park Service is required by federal law to consult with affiliated federally recognized Indian tribes when design plans or activities may affect the interest of Indian tribal governments. This purpose goes beyond fulfilling project based requirements, but is rather an important duty for building meaningful and lasting government-to government relationships with tribes, while respecting Indian self-determination.
This research poster will examine the environmental and cultural resource planning stages accomplished in collaboration with tribal officials, which contributed to the successful establishment of the site. In addition, this investigation will analyze the continued government to-government relationships the NPS unit holds with affiliated tribes.
The Sand Creek cultural landscape is a natural outdoor environment with wayside exhibits, guided tours and picnic areas. Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal members regularly place sacred offerings around the premises and more sensitive locations are closed to the public. Sand Creek is a sacred site and must be respected by all who visit.
The planning of the Sand Creek Massacre Site remains a prime model that demonstrates the importance of tribal consultation for developing accurate and sensitive NPS site design. It is an important location of remembrance and pays homage to America’s first people. It is a place for all to experience.
Dominic Henry preserves Native American, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian natural and cultural resources for tribes and U.S. military installations. He also manages NAGPRA and repatriation issues. His background includes preservation technology, cultural landscapes and international preservation.