Remove Mass Murderer John Chivington's name from Cheyenne and Arapaho Territory

Remove Mass Murderer John Chivington's name from Cheyenne and Arapaho Territory

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Ashley Ward started this petition to Governor Jared Polis and

On November 29, 2020 I visited the Sand Creek Massacre site to honor the innocent lives lost 156 years ago. Upon arrival I realized that the town in which this event occurred is called Chivington: as in Colonel John Chivington, the man who led the unprovoked attack at Sand Creek, which resulted in the mass murder and mutilation of peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho people. 

To name this territory after the man who murdered the community within it is likened to naming a school after a school shooter.

With this petition I aim to garnish signatures in favor of replacing the name Chivington with one that properly represents the Indigenous people to whom this land rightfully belongs.

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Chivington, Colorado, established in 1887, is an unincorporated community in Kiowa County named after U.S. Volunteers Colonel John Chivington.

In 1851, the United States and several Native American nations, including the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, signed the Treaty of Fort Laramie, recognizing and securing tribal territory bordered by the North Platte and Arkansas rivers and spanning across Colorado from the Rocky Mountains into western Kansas. 

Over the next ten years, immigrant settlers began moving westward in search of Rocky Mountain gold and in 1861 the Treaty of Fort Wise was signed by a small handful of chiefs who, without consent or approval from tribal members, agreed to reduce tribal land to 1/13th of the territory recognized in the Treaty of Fort Laramie. This treaty was largely disavowed and instigated several years of conflict between Native Americans and settlers. Many innocent lives were lost on both sides.

In 1864, Governor Evans invited all friendly Plains Indians to Fort Lyons, promising provisions and protection in the harsh winter months. As advised by the Fort Lyons commander, Chief Black Kettle and Chief Niwot (Left Hand) led a small band of Cheyenne and Arapaho people to Sand Creek where they planned to camp for the winter. Though promised safety, as an extra security measure, Chief Black Kettle flew an American flag and a white flag over his lodge.

On November 29, 1864 Colonel Chivington led a unit of 675-700 volunteer militia to Sand Creek, the area we now know as Chivington, and ordered his men to launch an unprovoked attack on the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes residing there. This event, known as the Sand Creek Massacre, resulted in a heavy loss of life, including many women and children, most of whom were mutilated, their body parts kept as trophies.

Upon investigation by The Joint Committee on the Conduct of War the panel declared the following:

"As to Colonel Chivington, your committee can hardly find fitting terms to describe his conduct. Wearing the uniform of the United States, which should be the emblem of justice and humanity; holding the important position of commander of a military district, and therefore having the honor of the government to that extent in his keeping, he deliberately planned and executed a foul and dastardly massacre which would have disgraced the veriest savage among those who were the victims of his cruelty. Having full knowledge of their friendly character, having himself been instrumental to some extent in placing them in their position of fancied security, he took advantage of their in-apprehension and defenceless condition to gratify the worst passions that ever cursed the heart of man.

Whatever influence this may have had upon Colonel Chivington, the truth is that he surprised and murdered, in cold blood, the unsuspecting men, women, and children on Sand creek, who had every reason to believe they were under the protection of the United States authorities, and then returned to Denver and boasted of the brave deed he and the men under his command had performed.

In conclusion, your committee are of the opinion that for the purpose of vindicating the cause of justice and upholding the honor of the nation, prompt and energetic measures should be at once taken to remove from office those who have thus disgraced the government by whom they are employed, and to punish, as their crimes deserve, those who have been guilty of these brutal and cowardly acts."

Colonel Chivington resigned from his position and charges were never brought against him, although several witnesses testified against him. In 1887, twenty-three years after the Sand Creek Massacre, Kiowa County established this area as the unincorporated community of Chivington. 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!
At 1,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!