Is Commemorating the Sand Creek Massacre "Fun"? No, But It's America All the Way

At dawn on November 29, on the 150th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre, more than 500 descendants of massacre survivors and other tribal members gathered on Monument Hill for private ceremonies commemorating their fallen ancestors. Meanwhile, down below at the headquarters of the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, which was dedicated in April 2007, hundreds of other people arrived to remember -- or perhaps hear for the first time -- what had happened on November 29, 1864, when Colonel John Chivington led 675 volunteers and regular Army troops on that bloody raid of a peaceful camp, a chief's camp that was supposed to be under the protection of the U.S. government, and killed up to 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho, most of them women, children or elderly men.

See also:
Sand Creek Massacre -- Governor John Hickenlooper's Apology, Story Behind It

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Video: Denver's Historic Role as Christmas Capital of the World, Illuminated by Tom Noel
Video below.
Colorado is famous for many firsts: The first cheeseburger was cooked up at the old Humpty-Dumpty drive-in on Speer Boulevard; in November 2012m voters approved making this the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. But at this time of year, there's a more appropriate Colorado first to celebrate: A century ago, on Christmas Eve 2014, the first illuminated outdoor Christmas tree was created in northwest Denver -- inspiring a trend that earned Colorado the nickname "Christmas Capital of the World" in the '20s, a reputation that lives on with the glowing City & County Building today. To illuminate this chapter of local history, we checked in with appropriately named historian Tom Noel. Here's a video that tells his tale.

See also: Top Ten Colorado Inventions, From Christmas Lights to Getting Lit

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Sand Creek Massacre: The Healing Run Is Headed for the Future

The runners gathered just after dawn Sunday on Monument Hill. The day before, on the 150th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre, more than 500 descendents of the massacre and other tribal members had gathered here for private ceremonies on an unusually warm November morning; the good weather continued through the afternoon's speeches down below, at the headquarters of the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, which was dedicated in April 2007. The crowds were even larger this day, as hundreds of people arrived to remember -- or perhaps hear for the first time -- what had happened on November 29, 1864, when Colonel John Chivington had led 675 volunteers and regular Army troops on a raid of a peaceful camp of Arapaho and Cheyenne. As many as 200 were killed, most of them women, children and the elderly.

See also: A Century and a Half Later, the Wounds of Sand Creek Are Still Fresh

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R.I.P. Kent Haruf, Colorado Author Who Captured the Plains

Author Kent Haruf has passed away.
I spent the weekend driving across the plains of Colorado, and it's impossible to travel over that terrain without thinking of Kent Haruf, the author who captured both the land and the people who live there so well in his books, including Plainsong and Eventide. Now comes word from his publisher that Haruf has passed away at 71.

See also: Kent Haruf stakes out the Literary Turf of Colorado

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Colorado Inside Out Travels Back in Time for Four Episodes Tonight

Colorado Inside Out, 1951-style.
Travel back in time tonight on Colorado Public Television, which will be reprising four of the Emmy Award-winning Time Machine shows that the crew behind Colorado Inside Out, the Friday night public affairs program, creates every year. The weekly, Friday night CIO usually focuses on current events; these Time Machine shows, under the careful guidance of co-producer and CIO sound designer Larry Patchett, transport the concept back in history.

See also: Sand Creek Massacre -- John Evans Founded DU, But Left a Legacy of Shame

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Denver Showed It Had the Light Stuff a Century Ago, With the First Christmas Tree

This has been a tough year for Colorado history, with the state marking the 150th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre on November 29 and the hundredth anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre back in April. But not all anniversaries are dark: A century ago, Denver was the first spot in the world to feature outdoor Christmas lights. Or so the story goes -- and this is just the time of year for prettily tied-up tales.

See also: Nativity Scene Protests Are a Denver Tradition -- Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

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Sand Creek Massacre: John Evans Founded DU, But He Left a Legacy of Shame

A DU committee found both John Chivington and John Evans culpable for the Sand Creek Massacre.
When you're trying to right a 150-year-old wrong, you do not want to make another mistake. You do not want to add insult to grievous injury. That's why the members of the University of Denver's John Evans Study Committee took such care with their investigation of the connection between John Evans, the territorial governor (and thus Supervisor of Indian Affairs in Colorado) who founded the forerunner to DU, and the Sand Creek Massacre.

See also: A Century and a Half Later, the Wounds of Sand Creek Are Still Fresh

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Free & Equal's Third-Party Gubernatorial Debate Doesn't Have Everyone at the Party

Room for Arvada High students, but not Paul Fiorino.
The Colorado gubernatorial debate hosted by the Free & Equal Elections Foundation on October 8 at Infinity Park Events Center in Glendale wasn't all that equal. While the organizers were bemoaning the current two-major-party system and decrying the failure of incumbent governor John Hickenlooper (Democrat) and two-time gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez (Republican) to accept an invitation to participate, there was a cry from the back of the room: "Where's Fiorino?"

See also: Public Enemy, Dynasty and Third-Party Politics in Colorado Campaigns

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Colorado Was First State to Legalize Abortion: Why Are We Still Talking About It?

The stunning avalanche of action set in motion by the U.S. Supreme Court's inaction on same-sex marriage last week shows just how quickly this country can change.

So why, nearly fifty years after Colorado became the first state in the union to legalize abortion, have we not put this equally sticky issue to bed? Why are we watching Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez play doctor, telling us that an IUD is abortifacient (when an actual doctor will tell you that while an IUD is a very effective form of birth control, it does not induce abortions) and listening to Senate candidate Cory Gardner, that randy Republican, talk about how he picked up birth-control prescriptions for his wife (not IUDs, clearly...and not that many prescriptions, either, judging by the size of his expanding family) while sidestepping the fact that he's pushed federal Personhood laws?

Has any other issue in this country had such a lengthy labor?

See also: Look Who's Mad at Dick Lamm Now!

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The Sand Creek Massacre Is a Textbook Lesson in What Happens When History Is Rewritten

National Parks Service
Living history: The site of the Sand Creek Massacre.
References to the Sand Creek Massacre are everywhere these days, including page 55 of the new AP United States History course, one of the most controversial -- if unread -- documents in Colorado and the focus of the proposed curriculum review committee that a few members of the Jefferson County Public Schools Board of Education would like to start. They'll be discussing that proposal, as well as the temerity of the students who've walked out in protest, at tomorrow night's meeting. Not on their agenda: the dangers of rewriting history.

See also: Our Top Five Jeffco School Board Picks for New Sex Ed and Health Classes

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