The Sand Creek Massacre
Weld Council Transcript
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"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 enemies.
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
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 am here.
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
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
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 sores.
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
Gov. Evans--I suppose you acknowledge the depredations on the Little Blue, as you have the prisoners then taken in your
White Antelope--We (the Cheyennes) took two prisoners, west of Fort Kearney, and destroyed the trains.
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. 13
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
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
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' authority.)
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, Jack Smith (son of John Smith), John S. Smith, Heap of Buffalo, Bosse, trader Dexter Colley, 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.)
after Weld Council,
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Stan Hoig: The Sand Creek Massacre
Gary L. Roberts: Sand Creek, Tragedy and Symbol
Louis Kraft: Sand Creek and the End of a Lifeway
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
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 Sioux bands.
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
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. 494-495.
|Ned Wynkoop & the Lonely Road
From Sand Creek
|Sand Creek and the
Tragic End of a Lifeway