The Sand Creek Massacre
Weld Council Transcript
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We'll never forget
"Report Of Council with Cheyenne and Arapahoe Chiefs and Warriors, Brought to Denver by Major
Wynkoop; Taken Down by the Indian Agent Simeon Whiteley, 1 as it Progressed"
Daily Rocky Mountain News, (Sept. 13, 1865) vol. 6, No. 16, p. 2.
(transcript appears here, unedited, with footnotes added):
CAMP WELD, DENVER.
Wednesday, Sept. 28, 1864.
Present--Gov. John Evans, Colonel Chivington, Comd'g Dist. Colorado, Col. Geo. L. Shoup, Third
Colorado Volunteer Cavalry, Maj. E. Wynkoop, Colorado First, S. Whiteley, U. S. Ind. Agt.
Black Kettle, leading Cheyenne Chief.
White Antelope, Chief central Cheyenne band.
Bull Bear, leader of Dog Soldiers, (Cheyenne).
Neva, sub-Arapahoe chief, (who was in Washington).
Bosse, Arapahoe chief.
Heap of Buffalo, Arapahoe Chief.
Na-ta-nee, Arapahoe Chief. 2
The Arapahoes are all relatives of Left Hand, Chief of the Arapahoes, and are sent by him in his stead.
John Smith, Interpreter to the Upper Arkansas agency, and many other citizens and officers. 3
His Excellency Gov. Evans asked the Indians what they had to say.
Black Kettle then said: On sight of your circular of June 27th, 1864, I took hold of the matter, and have
now come to talk to you about it. I told Mr. Bent, who brought it, that I accepted it, but it would take
some time to get all my people together--many of my young men being absent--and I have done
everything in my power, since then, to keep peace with the whites. As soon as I could get my people
together, we held a council, and got a half-breed who was with them, to write a letter to inform Major
Wynkoop, or other military officer nearest to them, of their intention to comply with the terms of the
circular. Major Wynkoop was kind enough to receive the letter, and visited them in camp, to whom they
delivered four white prisoners--one other (Mrs. Snyder) having killed herself; that there are two women
and one child yet in their camp, whom they will deliver up as soon as they can get them in; Laura Roper,
16 or 17 years; Ambrose Asher, 7 or 8 years; Daniel Marble, 7 or 8 years; Isabel Ubanks, 4 or 5 years.
The prisoners still with them (are) Mrs. Ubanks and babe, and a Mrs. Morton, who was taken on the
Platte. Mrs. Snyder is the name of the woman who hung herself. 4 The boys were taken between Fort
Kearney and the Blue. 5
I followed Major Wynkoop to Fort Lyon, and Major Wynkoop proposed that we come up to see you. We
have come with our eyes shut, following his handful of men like coming through the fire. All we ask is
that we have peace with the whites. We want to hold you by the hand. You are our father. We have
been traveling thro' a cloud. The sky has been dark ever since the war began. These braves who are
with me are all willing to do what I say. We want to take good tidings home to our people, that they may
sleep in peace. I want you to give all the chiefs of these soldiers to understand that we are for peace,
and that we have made peace, that we may not be mistaken by them for enemies. I have not come here
with a little wolf bark, but have come to talk plain with you. We must live near the buffalo or starve.
When we came here we came free, without any apprehension to see you, and when I go home and tell
my people that I have taken your hand, and the hand of all the chiefs here in Denver, they will feel well,
and so will all the different tribes of Indians on the Plains, after we have eaten and drank with them.
Gov. Evans replied: I am sorry you did not respod to my appeal at once. You have gone into an
alliance with the Sioux, who were at war with us. You have done a great deal of damage--stolen stock,
and now have possession of it. However much a few individuals may have tried to keep the peace, as a
nation you have gone to war. While we have been spending thousands of dollars in opening farms for
you, and making preparations to feed, protect, and make you comfortable, you have joined our enemies
and gone to war. Hearing, last fall, that they were dissatisfied, the Great Father at Washington sent me
out on the plains to talk with you and make it all right. I sent messengers out to tell you that I had
presents, and would make you a feast, but you sent word to me that you did not want to have anything
to do with me, and to the Great Father at Washington that you could get along without him. Bull Bear
wanted to come in to see me at the head of the Republican, but his people held a council and would not
let him come.
Black Kettle--That is true.
Gov. Evans--I was under the necessity, after all my trouble, and all the expense I was at, of returning
home without seeing them. Instead of this, your people went away and smoked the war pipe with our
Black Kettle--I don't know who could have told you this.
Gov. Evans--No matter who said this but your conduct has proved to my satisfaction that was the case.
Several Indians--This is a mistake. We have made no alliance with the Sioux, or any one else.
Gov. Evans explained that smoking the war-pipe was a figurative term, but their condct had been such
as to show they had an understanding with other tribes.
Several Indians--We acknowledge that our actions have given you reason to believe this. 6
Gov. Evans--So far as making a treaty now is concerned, we are in no condition to do it. Your young
men are on the war path. My soldiers are preparing for the fight. You, so far, have had the advantage;
but that time is near at hand when the plains will swarm with United States soldiers. I understand that
these men who have come to see me now, have been opposed to the war all the time, but that their
people have controlled them and they could not help themselves. Is this so?
All the Indians--It has been so.
Gov. Evans--The fact that they have not been able to prevent their people from going to war in the
past spring, when there was plenty of grass and game, makes me believe that they will not be able to
make a peace which will last longer than until winter is past.
White Antelope--I will answer that after a time.
Gov. Evans--The time when you can make war best, is in the summer time; when I can make war best,
is in the winter. You, so far have had the advantage; my time is just coming. I have learned that you
understand that as the whites are at war among themselves, you think you can now drive the whites
from the country. But this reliance is false. The Great Father at Washington has men enough to drive
all the Indians off the plains, and whip the rebels at the same time. Now the war with the whites is nearly
through, and the Great Father will not know what to do with all his soldiers, except to send them after
the Indians on the plains. My proposition to the friendly Indians has gone out; I shall be glad to have
them all come in, under it. I have no new propositions to make. Another reason that I am not in a
condition to make a treaty, is that war is begun, and the power to make a treaty of peace has passed
from me to the Great War Chief. My advice to you, is, to turn on the side of the government, and show,
by your acts, that friendly disposition you profess to me. It is utterly out of the question for you to be at
peace with us, while living with our enemies, and being on friendly terms with them.
Inquiry made by one Indian--What was meant by being on the side of the government?
Explanation being made, all gave assent, saying "All right."
Gov. Evans--The only way you can show this friendship is by making some arrangement with the
soldiers to help them.
Black Kettle--We will return with Major Wynkoop to Fort Lyon; we will then proceed to our village, and
take back word to our young men, every word you say. I cannot answer for all of them, but think there
will be but little difficulty in getting them to assent to helping the soldiers.
Major Wynkoop--Did not the Dog Soldiers agree, when I had my council with you, to do whatever you
said, after you had been here?
Black Kettle--Yes. 7
Gov. Evans explained that if the Indians did not keep with the U.S. soldiers, or have an arrangement
with them, they would all be treated as enemies. You understand, that if you are at peace with us it is
necessary to keep away from our enemies. But I hand you over to the military, one of the chiefs of
which is here today, and can speak for himself, to them, if he chooses.
White Antelope--I understand every word you have said, and will hold on to it. I will give you an
answer directly. The Cheyennes, all of them, have their eyes open this way, and they will hear what you
say. He is proud to have seen the chief of all the whites in this country. He will tell his people. Ever
since he went to Washington and received this medal, I have called all white men as my brothers. But
other Indians have since been to Washington, and got medals, and now the soldiers do not shake
hands, but seek to kill me. What do you mean by us fighting your enemies? Who are they?
Gov. Evans--All Indians who are fighting us.
White Antelope--How can we be protected from the soldiers on the plains?
Gov. Evans--You must make that arrangement with the Military Chief. 8
White Antelope--I fear that these new soldiers who have gone out, may kill some of my people while I
Gov. Evans--There is a great danger of it.
White Antelope--When we sent our letter to Major Wynkoop, it was like going through a strong fire, or
blast, for Major Wynkoop's men to come to our camp; it was the same for us to come to see you. We
have our doubts that the Indians south of the Arkansas, or those north of the Platte, will do as you say.
A large number of Sioux have crossed the Platte in the vicinity of the Junction, into their country. When
Major Wynkoop came we proposed to make peace. He said he had no power to make a peace except
to bring them here and return them safe.
Gov. Evans--Again, whatever peace they make, must be with the soldiers and not with me. 9
Gov. Evans--Are the Apaches at war with the whites?
White Antelope--Yes, and the Camanches and Kiowas as well; also a tribe of Indians from Texas,
whose names we do not know. There are thirteen different bands of Sioux who have crossed the Platte
and are in alliance with the others named.
Gov. Evans--How many warriors with the Apaches, Kiowas and Camanches?
White Antelope--A good many. Don't know.
Gov. Evans--How many of the Sioux?
White Antelope--Don't know, but many more than of the southern tribes.
Gov. Evans--Who committed the depredations on the trains near the Junction, about the 1st of August?
White Antelope--Do not know did not know any were committed. Have taken you by the hand and will
tell the truth, keeping back nothing.
Gov. Evans--Who committed the murder of the Hungate family, on Running Creek?
Nevah--The Arapahoes; a party of the northern band who were passing north. It was Medicine Man, or
Roman Nose, and three others. I am satisfied from the time he left a certain camp for the north, that it
was this party of four persons.
Agent Whiteley--That cannot be true.
Gov. Evans--Where is Roman Nose?
Neva--You ought to know better than me. You have been nearer to him. 10
Gov. Evans--Who killed the man and boy at the head of Cherry Creek?
Neva--(After consultation)--Kiowas and Camanches.
Gov. Evans--Who stole soldiers horses and mules from Jimmy's Camp, twenty-seven days ago?
Neva--Fourteen Cheyennes and Arapahoes, together.
Gov. Evans--What were their names?
Neva--Powder Face and Whirlwind, who are now in our camp, were the leaders?
Col. Shoup--I counted twenty Indians on that occasion.
Gov. Evans--Who stole Charley Autobee's horses?
Neva--Raven's son. 11
Gov. Evans--Who took the stock from Fremont's Orchard, and had the first fight with the soldiers this
spring, north of there?
White Antelope--Before answering this question I would like for you to know that this was the
beginning of war and I should like to know what it was for, as a soldier fired first.
Gov. Evans--The Indians had stolen about forty horses, the soldiers went to recover them, and the
Indians fired a volley into their ranks.
White Antelope--This is all a mistake. They were coming down the Bijou, and found one horse and
one mule. They returned one horse before they got to Geary's to a man, then went to Geary's,
expecting to turn the other one over to some one. They then heard that the soldiers and Indians were
fighting somewhere down the Platte; then they took fright, and all fled. 12
Gov. Evans--Who were the Indians who had the fright?
White Antelope--They were headed by the Fool Badger's son, a young man, one of the greatest of
the Cheyenne warriors, who was wounded, and though still alive, he will never recover.
Neva--I want to say something. It makes me feel bad to be talking about these things and opening old
Gov. Evans--Let him speak.
Neva--Mr. Smith has known me ever since I was a child. Has he ever known me commit depredations
on the whites? I went to Washington last year--received good council. I hold on to it. I determined to
always keep peace with the whites. Now, when I shake hands with them they seem to pull away. I came
here to seek peace and nothing else.
Gov. Evans--We feel that they have, by their stealing and murdering, done us great damage. They
come here and say they will tell me all, and that is what I am trying to get.
Neva--The Camanches, Kiowas and Sioux have done much more injury than we have. We will tell what
we know, but cannot speak for others.
Gov. Evans--I suppose you acknowledge the depredations on the Little Blue, as you have the
prisoners then taken in your possession.
White Antelope--We (the Cheyennes) took two prisoners, west of Fort Kearney, and destroyed the
Gov. Evans--Who committed depredations at Cottonwood?
White Antelope--The Sioux. What band, we do not know.
Gov. Evans--What are the Sioux going to do next?
Bull Bear--Their plan is to clean out all this country. They are angry and will do all the damage to the
whites they can. I am with you and the troops, to fight all those who have no care to listen to what you
say. Who are they? Show them to me, I am not yet old--I am young. I have never hurt a white man. I
am pushing for something good. I am always going to be friends with the whites--they can do me good.
Gov. Evans--Where are the Sioux?
Bull Bear--Down on the Republican, where it opens out.
Gov. Evans--Do you know that they intend to attack the trains this week?
Bull Bear--Yes. About one half of all the Missouri River Sioux and Yanktons, who were driven from
Minnesota, are those who have crossed the Platte. I am young and can fight. I have given my word to
fight with the whites. My brother (Lean Bear) died in trying to keep peace with the whites. I am willing to
die in the same way, and expect to do so.
Neva--I know the value of the presents which we receive from Washington. We cannot live without
them. That is why I try so hard to keep peace with the whites.
Gov. Evans--I cannot say anything about those things, now.
Neva-- I can speak for all the Arapahoes under Left Hand. Raven has sent no one here to speak for
him. Raven has fought the whites. 14
Gov. Evans--Are there any white men among your people?
Neva--There are none except Keith, who is now in the store at Fort Larned.
Col. Chivington--I am not a big war chief, but all the soldiers in this country are at my command. My
rule of fighting white men or Indians is to fight them until they lay down their arms and submit to military
authority. They are nearer Major Wynkoop than any one else, and they can go to him when they get
ready to do that. 15
The Council then adjourned.
I Certify that this report is correct and complete; that I took down the talk of the Indians in the exact
words of the Interpreter, and of the other parties as given to him, without change of phraseology, or
correction of any kind whatever.
In late September 1864, Major Edward Wynkoop and Captain Silas Soule brought Black Kettle
and other Cheyenne and Arapaho chiefs to Denver after a successful council on the Smoky Hill
River in western Kansas. At the Smoky Hill Council, Black Kettle turned over four white
children captured by Cheyenne Dog Soldiers during their brutal August 1864 raids on the Little
Blue River near the Kansas/Nebraska border. Black Kettle and Arapaho Chief Left Hand had
traded personal belongings to Dog Soldiers and Sioux warriors for the children, and
subsequently offered them to Wynkoop in trade for a peace council. Wynkoop was further
impressed when Bull Bear, one of the more influential Dog Soldier chiefs, attended the Smoky
Hill Council and pledged his support of Black Kettle's efforts to make peace with the military.
The chiefs hoped their efforts would demonstrate to Wynkoop that they sincerely wanted to
keep their respective clans out of the impending war between the Army and the pro-war Dog
Soldier and Sioux warrior tribes. In their meeting, Major Wynkoop told the chiefs that he did
not have the authority to negotiate a peace agreement, but he offered to bring the chiefs to
Denver for a meeting with Governor John Evans, who was also the Superintendent of Indian
Affairs. Wynkoop believed at the time that Evans, who in the past had negotiated with the
Indian tribes, would welcome the opportunity to settle a peace agreement with the non-
combatant members of the Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes.
Although Wynkoop saved the children, his subsequent decisions were fundamentally flawed for
two reasons. First, he took a small contingent of Fort Lyon soldiers to the Smoky Hill to rescue
the children without gaining permission from his superiors. His reasoning was due to a
warning sent by Black Kettle that the Chief couldn't guarantee how long his clan could safely
remain at the proposed meeting place at the Smoky Hill. (See Black Kettle's Letter.) Wynkoop
feared that the lengthy process of sending messengers across Kansas to Leavenworth and
awaiting a reply could doom the children, whom had already endured a month of hostile Indian
captivity. Secondly, once Wynkoop secured the release of the children, he believed Governor
Evans, as Indian Superintendent, had full authority to negotiate a peace treaty, when in fact the
Army was now officially at war with the tribes and such authority rested solely with General
Samuel Curtis, commanding the District of Kansas. (Although 500 miles away from Leavenworth,
Colorado's Fort Lyon was part of the Upper Arkansas District, and ultimately under Curtis'
At the time of the Smoky Hill Council, Wynkoop’s top responsibility was to take the rescued
children along a shorter and safer route back to Fort Lyon. Once at Lyon, Wynkoop knew that
taking Black Kettle and the other Chiefs to Denver (250 miles northwest along the protected
Platte Trail) with his small escort of 40 soldiers was less risky than taking them to Fort Riley or
Leavenworth - across 400 miles of hostile Indian country. Although a reasonable decision
(perhaps the only option under the circumstances), it would later appear that Wynkoop again
breached military protocol by not gaining General Curtis' permission before he acted. He
instead sent a messenger ahead to Denver, boldly informing Governor Evans that he was
bringing the Indian leaders for a peace council. His decision would not only exacerbate the
political power struggle for command of the Colorado Territory between Colonel John
Chivington and General Curtis, it would also turn the wrath of Denver's nervous citizenry on
Evans for allowing the much feared Indian chiefs into the city. Consequently, Evans was
infuriated by Wynkoop's actions, but the politically savvy Chivington smelled an opportunity.
Although Chivington had no military authority over Wynkoop’s command at Fort Lyon, he
jealously kept Wynkoop under his thumb, oftentimes usurping orders of Wynkoop’s superiors
in Kansas. Chivington relished the chance to meet Black Kettle and glean information that
might ultimately lead him to a military defeat of the Cheyennes - the kind of victory that would
surely enhance his future political ambitions.
As a side note, it is often argued, and Wynkoop himself later defended the fact that military
officers in remote outposts were allowed some latitude in making command decisions without
permission when circumstances warranted. Wynkoop argued that the critical time restraints of
the impending Indian war justified his actions.
At the time Wynkoop and the chiefs arrived in Denver, the U.S. War Department had finally
acquiesced to Governor Evans’ desperate plea to commission and outfit a Denver-based
volunteer militia, led by Chivington, for the purpose of defending the city against the growing
threat of a war declared by the Cheyenne Dog Soldiers and Sioux warriors. Evans, who
mistakenly believed that Black Kettle was a Dog Soldier leader who had sanctioned the Indian
war, at first refused to meet with the chief, claiming that the new Colorado Third Volunteers had
been raised to kill all Cheyennes, not parley with them. The Governor told Wynkoop that the
War Department would think he had “misrepresented matters” concerning the murderous
Indian attacks in Colorado if he should now try to make peace with them. More importantly,
Evans justifiably believed a peace treaty would give the appearance that the Army was
admitting defeat in light of the horrific depredations committed by the Dog Soldiers in Kansas
and Nebraska the previous month.
After a heated argument, Wynkoop finally convinced Evans to listen to Black Kettle and
consider the Chief’s proposal to help Colorado soldiers stop the marauding warriors. Evans
agreed, with the stipulation that he would only accept a proposition of surrender by Black
Kettle and the Indians he and the other chiefs represented. Wynkoop supported this
proposition, for he had established a strong friendship with not only Black Kettle, but with Bull
Bear, who accompanied the Cheyenne contingency to Denver. Bull Bear was the only Dog
Soldier leader, however, who supported Black Kettle’s peace efforts. His reaction to the
negotiations with Evans was critical.
The resulting Weld Council became a pivotal moment leading to the Sand Creek Massacre . . .
Standing L-R: Unidentified, Dexter Colley (son of Agent Samuel Colley), John S. Smith,
Heap of Buffalo, Bosse, sheriff and mayor Amos Steck, Unidentified soldier.
Seated L-R: White Antelope, Bull Bear, Black Kettle, Neva, Na-ta-Nee (Knock Knee).
Kneeling L-R: Major Edward W. Wynkoop, Captain Silas Soule.
Photos courtesy (Denver Public Library Western History/Genealogy Dept.)
taken after Weld
|Sand Creek also
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Stan Hoig: The Sand Creek Massacre
Gary L. Roberts: Sand Creek, Tragedy and Symbol
Go to BIBLIOGRAPHY for citation
1 - Simeon Whiteley, Ute Indian Agent.
2 – No-ta-nee, incorrectly identified as Arapaho; No-ta-nee, also known as Knock-knee was a Cheyenne sub-chief.
3 – Also present of were Captain Silas Soule, Dexter Colley (son of Cheyenne/Arapaho Indian Agent Sam Colley), and
Amos Steck, Denver lawyer and mayor.
4 – Mrs. Snyder was captured by Arapaho warriors led by Little Raven’s son, of the same name, in a raid above Fort Lyon
on the Arkansas River. Her husband and two other men were murdered. Mrs. Snyder hanged herself shortly before
Black Kettle and Left Hand returned the four captured children to Wynkoop at the Smoky Hill Council. It’s possible that
Mrs. Snyder may have committed suicide because she mistakenly thought that Wynkoop’s troops had left the area after
the council. (Laura Roper reported that all of the captives at first believed Wynkoop had left, but his troops in reality had
drawn back for safety while Black Kettle rounded up the available prisoners for delivery).
5 – Laura Roper, Lucinda Eubank and her daughter, Isabel, and baby (William Jr.) were also kidnapped by Dog Soldiers
in raids near the Little Blue River on the Nebraska/Kansas border. Mrs. Eubank’s husband, father-in-law, sister-in-law,
and four brothers-in-law were all murdered in the raid. Laura, a neighbor, was visiting the Eubank farm at the time. Mrs.
Eubank and William Jr. were separated from Isabel and taken by Sioux warrior Two Face, who enslaved Lucinda as a
wife. She and the baby were later rescued by soldiers near Fort Laramie, and Two Face was executed. Little Isabel was
left in the charge of Laura Roper, and they lived first with a Dog Soldier band, and later traded to Arapaho Chief Left
Hand, who turned them over to Wynkoop. Sadly, Isabel died in Denver a short time later, likely from injuries or a disease
contracted during her ordeal. She was never reunited with her mother before her death. Laura, however, was eventually
reunited with her family and lived a long, happy life. Although for many years she resisted numerous requests to tell her
story, she finally spoke out about her experiences shortly before her death. Go to Oak Grove Massacre: Indian Raids on
the Little Blue River in 1864 for Laura Roper's firsthand account of the ordeal. (Special thanks to Christopher Wynkoop).
6 – The chiefs at this council denied any alliance with the Sioux, which may be true, for most of the Indians that these
chiefs represented ranged several hundred miles south of the Republican River. Bull Bear, however, was a Dog Soldier
Chief, and although he didn’t represent all of the Dogmen bands, many of those clans indeed were banding together
with Sioux warriors. It must be considered, as well, that Black Kettle and White Antelope’s bands often camped with
7 – For all of his good intentions, Black Kettle implies here that all of the Dog Soldiers would comply with his orders. He
may have believed this, for he indeed was Principal Chief of the Southern Cheyennes, but in reality, the only Dog Soldier
Chief that pledged his support was Bull Bear. Tall Bull, among many other Dog Soldier chiefs, did not agree to any
peace councils with the soldiers, and in fact walked out on Black Kettle’s tribal council to discuss going to Denver for the
purpose of treating with Evans.
8 – Evans only refers to the ‘Military Chief’ when he tells the chiefs they must make peace arrangements through the
army. At the time, General James Blunt was the commander of the Upper Arkansas District (where Black Kettle and the
other chiefs intended to camp). General Samuel Curtis, however, was Blunt’s superior as commander of the District of
Kansas, and Blunt and Curtis rarely saw eye-to-eye. Adding to the confusion, Chivington commanded the District of
Colorado, and claimed that he was given authority to cross district lines in pursuit of hostile Indians. This three-way
power struggle between Chivington, Blunt and Curtis often resulted in conflicting orders sent to Wynkoop at Fort Lyon.
When Evans tells the chiefs to make peace arrangements with the Military Chief, it is possible that he didn't name a
particular officer because he himself didn't know who was ultimately in charge of Fort Lyon.
9 – Now Evans tells the chiefs to make peace with the soldiers, not him. Again, he does not specify who is in charge.
Although the Governor was also Superintendent of Indian Affairs, he clearly wished to distance himself from the military
campaign that Chivington’s 3rd regiment had planned.
10 – This was true. Arapaho warrior Chief Roman Nose and the other three suspected murderers of the Hungate family
were last seen heading toward the Cache La Poudre River, 75 miles north of Denver near Camp Collins (present day
Fort Collins, CO). At the time, Neva claimed that four Arapahos were responsible for the Hungate murders, most likely
based on word of mouth information passed to him by messengers. A new theory suggests the Hungates were
attacked by a larger band of Indians. Click here for more information and theories about the Hungate Massacre.
11 – This was true. Little Raven’s son, a warrior who defied his father’s attempts to make peace, took Autobee’s stock
around the same time that his band killed the Snyders and two others.
12 – The incident at Fremont’s Orchard was essentially the beginning of the Indian Wars that led to Sand Creek. White
Antelope’s description of the Indian’s perspective on the incident was in direct conflict with the soldiers' accounts. As in
the case of many conflicts between Indians and whites of the era, the truth undoubtedly lurked somewhere in the middle.
13 – Bull Bear’s sincerity was most probably genuine at this point, for Black Kettle had appealed to the Dog Soldier Chief
to help him make peace at the Weld Council. It must be noted, however, that Bull Bear was cited as leading one of the
attacks at Plum Creek, Nebraska on August 11, 1864, in which 11 white men were killed. Bull Bear’s claim that he had
never hurt a white man must be called into question, but in fairness, the attack is cited by U.S. Court Claims, Justice
Department, Indian Depredations Court Cases, RG 123 and 205, National Archives, Washington D.C. (see Afton, Jean;
Halaas, David F.; Masich, Andrew E.; with Ellis, Richard N. Cheyenne Dog Soldiers, A Ledgerbook History of Coups and
Combat. Denver: Colorado State Historical Society and the University Press of Colorado, 1997. p. 290)
14 – Although an Arapaho, Neva displays animosity toward fellow Arapaho, Little Raven. It’s fair to assume that Little
Raven had undoubtedly taken part in fights with the soldiers by now, but Little Raven was known by many soldiers at Fort
Lyon to be a peaceably inclined chief. He had carried on a good relationship with white settlers in the early years of
Denver’s birth, and was also a good friend of William Bent. His son, however, had joined the Dog Soldiers and Arapaho
warriors in depredations against whites. Little Raven’s loyalty to the peace chiefs may have created a difficult conflict
with his family, and thus could have been the root of Neva’s accusations.
15 – Despite an obvious break in the chain-of-command throughout the Colorado and Kansas districts, Chivington
clearly states that Major Wynkoop had full authority to make peace with the chiefs. This declaration was misleading, not
only to the chiefs, but to Wynkoop as well, for General Curtis was the ultimate authority for negotiating a treaty. Wynkoop
knew this, and would soon attempt to clear his future peace negotiations with Curtis, but the remoteness of Fort Lyon’s
proximity to Fort Leavenworth would soon seal the fate of Black Kettle’s people at Sand Creek. Chivington’s speech at
the Weld Council may have been the single most damning piece of evidence suggesting that his November attack at
Sand Creek was a set-up.
Governor Evans sent the following report to Indian Agent Samuel Colley, Agent for the
Cheyennes/Arapahos on the Arkansas River, following the Weld Council:
COLORADO SUPERINTENDENCY OF INDIAN AFFAIRS,
Denver, September 29, 1864.
Major S. G. COLLEY,
U. S. Indian Agent:
The chiefs brought in by Major Wynkoop have been heard. I have declined to make any treaty with
them, lest it might embarrass the military operations against the hostile Indians of the plains. The
Arapahoe and Cheyenne Indians being now at war with the United States Government must make
peace with the military authorities. Of course this arrangement relieves the Indian Bureau of their care
until peace is declared with them, and as their tribes are yet scattered, and all except Friday's band are
at war, it is not probable that it will be done immediately. You will be particular to impress upon these
chiefs the fact that my talk with them was for the purpose of ascertaining their views and not to offer
them anything whatever. They must deal with the military authorities until peace, in which case alone
they will be in proper position to treat with the Government in relation to the future.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Governor Colo. Ter. and ex-officio Supt. of Indian Affairs.
re: “War of the Rebellion” - United States War Dept. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and
Confederate Armies. Four series, 128 volumes. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1880-1901. Series I, Volume XLI, Part III, pp.