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Scarred Remains of the Sand Creek Massacre

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When bison roamed the high plains of southeastern Colorado cold winds blew and Cheyenne and Arapaho tribesmen crouched in wait for the opportunity to kill and to sustain their families and the larger tribe for another season. Today another cold wind moans across the same plains with the groans of the murdered and the mutilated. The bison have bee…

!– BEGIN THEIA POST SLIDER —

Sand Creek Memorial today | Michelle Le Blanc

Sand Creek Memorial today | Michelle Le Blanc


When bison roamed the high plains of southeastern Colorado cold winds blew and Cheyenne and Arapaho tribesmen crouched in wait for the opportunity to kill and to sustain their families and the larger tribe for another season.
Today another cold wind moans across the same plains with the groans of the murdered and the mutilated. The bison have been hunted out of existence and the tribes, or what little is left of them, have been sequestered away from white man’s manifest destiny and fallible, futile dreams.
While the nation stood divided against itself over human and natural resources and battled for dominance in the east, a similar battle raged between resources on the plains. Except the perceived enemy was the other, people not like the white settlers. In pursuit of continuing independence and freedom from war, white settlers left the east in waves to escape the civil war and to plant their flagged stakes in the new land and a promise, though oftentimes an empty promise, of a brighter future. Justified and encouraged by the U. S. Government and the railroads, they moved in droves across the plains. The gold rush in the Rocky Mountains was also in full tilt.
The indigenous people of the plains were themselves battling for territory with each other, because they were all being pushed aside and pushed down by the white man. Drought conditions dominated in 1863 making game scarce as well as winter provisions. But even more brutal days lay ahead for all involved.
As Chiefs were trying to secure the peace, Colorado Governor John Evans called for men to fight to secure the Western Plains. In weeks the men would attack.

As Chiefs were trying to secure the peace, Colorado Governor John Evans called for men to fight to secure the Western Plains. In weeks the men would attack.


In the spring of 1864 four Arapaho Indian renegades killed the Hungate family who homesteaded 30 miles southeast of Denver. Because Colorado Territorial Governor John Evans’s unfounded fear of an Indian War brewing against the whites, this brutal incident spurred him to request funds and guns for a citizen militia to fight the Indians. However, Evans had diametrically opposed interests: as governor he was charged with protecting all of those who lived in Colorado Territory, native and settlers alike, but he was also a successful business man who had worked to bring the railroad to Denver. The natives stood in the way of that endeavor. His need to remove obstacles for his financial ventures lead to quick solutions to complex problems and instigated violence against the predominantly non-violent Cheyenne and Arapaho bands in Colorado.
A long-time friend of Governor Evans was Colonel John Chivington, who had successfully defeated the Confederate Army during the Battle of Glorieta Pass in New Mexico in 1862, had not seen battle nor the subsequent glory of winning in two years. He and Evans shared the philosophy of manifest destiny and worked for the manpower and weapons to support it in Colorado Territory. In August, Evans proclaimed all natives to be “at war and hostile to all whites;” the next day he called for the formation of a citizens’ militia, the 100 Days Men, and put them under Chivington’s command. They were later referred to as the Bloodless Third.
The confluence of the inner conflicts of two clashing societies, two vastly different values systems, created the perfect storm for not only loss and betrayal but a near complete and on-going genocide fueled by power, technology, and ignorance.
That confluence was the Sand Creek Massacre on November 29, 1864, where nearly 150 peacefully camping Cheyenne and Arapaho people were slaughtered – mostly women, children and the elderly – even as Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle waved the white flag. At the time, Governor Evans was running for Congress should Colorado gain statehood and Chivington was running for Congress. A show of strength and aggression would bolster their campaigns and crown them war heroes. Before dawn, Chivington ordered more than 700 soldiers to assault the sleeping camp of 500 with pistols, rifles, and howitzers, the precursor to the machine gun. Few of the natives had such weapons and, in fact, had been told by officials at Fort Weld earlier in the year they would be safe camped on Sand Creek.
Sand Creek Howling Wolf
When Black Kettle visited Fort Lyon in the autumn of 1864, he did so with a posture of cooperation and with shame for the attacks carried out against the white settlers by disagreeable members of his tribe. In pursuit of food for their children and elders, as well as revenge for a series of broken treaties or disagreements with their leaders, rogue bands of Indians attacked settlers and towns. But they were the exception, not the rule. An over simplified perspective about the indigenous peoples of the Americas worked against Black Kettle and his people camped on Sand Creek.
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The allure of small parks like Pueblo Mountain Park

It’s time to rediscover why a small park like Pueblo Mountain Park is important to outdoor life.

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If you thought the only officially sanctioned outdoor recreation area that Pueblo had to offer was Lake Pueblo, think again. When imagining Pueblo, visions of pine-covered mountains and thick evergreen forestry don’t necessarily come to mind. There really isn’t a place in Pueblo where you can go hiking – in the traditional sense. Unless you count dodging rattlesnakes out on the trails around the reservoir “hiking.”

But I’m talking about the kind of hiking where pine needles crunch beneath each step, where the bark of ponderosas makes the air smell like vanilla. Hiking that involves changes in elevation, in surroundings and in heart rate. And if you too crave this breed of hiking experience but suffer a loss of enthusiasm knowing you may have to travel 30+ minutes to satisfy it, then you’re in for a treat to savor an old favorite.

Nestled in the southern foothills of Colorado just outside of Beulah is Pueblo Mountain Park: a 611-acre piece of land owned by the City of Pueblo and managed by the Mountain Park Environmental Center (MPEC). The drive is 20-25 minutes and while making it a conveniently close hiking spot that eases the stress of planning around travel time.

There are approximately six miles of hiking trails through the Wet Mountains in Pueblo Mountain Park that connect with and loop around one another to give you options for a shorter or longer hike. Two of the trails at the west end of the park connect with San Isabel’s Squirrel Creek Trail on which you may access the nearly 17,000 additional acres of San Isabel National Forest land…

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Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you can change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the “Last Locals” in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism produced by the best writers in Colorado. But that costs money, time and hard work. So enjoy this article right now, and if you read $5 worth of PULP, we’ll ask you to make a small contribution to PULP and writers like Madison Gill.

!– BEGIN THEIA POST SLIDER —

If you thought the only officially sanctioned outdoor recreation area that Pueblo had to offer was Lake Pueblo, think again. When imagining Pueblo, visions of pine-covered mountains and thick evergreen forestry don’t necessarily come to mind. There really isn’t a place in Pueblo where you can go hiking – in the traditional sense. Unless you count dodging rattlesnakes out on the trails around the reservoir “hiking.”
But I’m talking about the kind of hiking where pine needles crunch beneath each step, where the bark of ponderosas makes the air smell like vanilla. Hiking that involves changes in elevation, in surroundings and in heart rate. And if you too crave this breed of hiking experience but suffer a loss of enthusiasm knowing you may have to travel 30+ minutes to satisfy it, then you’re in for a treat to savor an old favorite.
Nestled in the southern foothills of Colorado just outside of Beulah is Pueblo Mountain Park: a 611-acre piece of land owned by the City of Pueblo and managed by the Mountain Park Environmental Center (MPEC). The drive is 20-25 minutes and while making it a conveniently close hiking spot that eases the stress of planning around travel time.
There are approximately six miles of hiking trails through the Wet Mountains in Pueblo Mountain Park that connect with and loop around one another to give you options for a shorter or longer hike. Two of the trails at the west end of the park connect with San Isabel’s Squirrel Creek Trail on which you may access the nearly 17,000 additional acres of San Isabel National Forest land.
There are four main trailheads at Pueblo Mountain Park. Devil’s Canyon Trail is the most popular, following the path of a seasonal drainage called Devil’s Dribble. After about a half a mile of easy hiking beneath the shade of the pines, this trail cuts directly through a small canyon, requiring hikers to scramble up jutting sandstone rocks and fallen trees along the Dribble to reach the checkpoint to link up with either Mace Trail or Northridge Trail.
On Mace Trail, you can get to Lookout Point where all that stands between you and the panoramic views of the valley below, the mountains above and San Isabel beyond is a guard rail fixed to the edge of a cliff. Northridge Trail is the longest trail in the park and one that connects to San Isabel’s Squirrel Creek Trail. The terrain of Northridge Trail changes rapidly: one moment in the dry and rocky semi-desert plains freckled with juniper and pinyon, another gazing down from above the treeline at a green sea of Douglas firs huddled shoulder-to-shoulder. Tower Trail is another that accesses Squirrel Creek Trail, but its main attraction is Fire Tower: built in the 1930’s as a fire lookout but never officially used. Fire Tower marks the highest point in the park at 7,400 feet.
Pueblo Mountain Park has b…
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Let’s Talk About It: Pueblo Murals

Once viewed as vandalism, street art has become the dominant voice of art in Pueblo.

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Look down virtually any of the alleyways in the East side and Bessemer areas of Pueblo and at various locations downtown and in the business district, and you can find some form of street art. Pueblo is regarded nationally as a street art capital, and it’s no secret why. For one, Pueblo is home to many members of the high-profile Creatures Crew – a muralist/graffiti artists group that host collaborators and fellow artists from around the country. You can find some of their work gracing the walls behind The Klamm Shell in Bessemer, or the alleyway outside of Shamrock Brewing Co.

In 2015, local muralist Mathew Taylor hosted The High Desert Mural Fest here in Pueblo. And along the Arkansas River levee used to be the longest mural in the world as officially declared by the Guinness Book of World Records. The mural ran for three miles along the levee up until around four years ago, when the City of Pueblo announced that a nearly $15 million construction project to address repairs to the levee would mean the destruction of the beloved mural that had been around since the 1970s. Efforts were made to preserve parts of the mural, but it ceases to maintain its world-record status.

Other recognizable murals in Pueblo include a large brown bear surrounded by flowers in the Central Plaza area (painted by Taylor and co artist Michael Strescino), the famous faces depicted outside the Pirate’s Cove, a horse stuck in a tree down on Main Street (that was actually commissioned by the city to commemorate the flood of 1921) and many others ranging from simple to more abstract designs. Some of these designs cross into graffiti territory, but retain an obvious component of artistry that keeps people of the community and city officials from calling for their removal.

Therein lies a point of debate surrounding the street art movement in Pueblo. When is street art considered vandalism? Where do we draw the line between approved artistic expression and illegal tagging?

!– BEGIN THEIA POST SLIDER —

Look down virtually any of the alleyways in the East side and Bessemer areas of Pueblo and at various locations downtown and in the business district, and you can find some form of street art. Pueblo is regarded nationally as a street art capital, and it’s no secret why. For one, Pueblo is home to many members of the high-profile Creatures Crew – a muralist/graffiti artists group that host collaborators and fellow artists from around the country. You can find some of their work gracing the walls behind The Klamm Shell in Bessemer, or the alleyway outside of Shamrock Brewing Co.
In 2015, local muralist Mathew Taylor hosted The High Desert Mural Fest here in Pueblo. And along the Arkansas River levee used to be the longest mural in the world as officially declared by the Guinness Book of World Records. The mural ran for three miles along the levee up until around four years ago, when the City of Pueblo announced that a nearly $15 million construction project to address repairs to the levee would mean the destruction of the beloved mural that had been around since the 1970s. Efforts were made to preserve parts of the mural, but it ceases to maintain its world-record status.
Other recognizable murals in Pueblo include a large brown bear surrounded by flowers in the Central Plaza area (painted by Taylor and co artist Michael Strescino), the famous faces depicted outside the Pirate’s Cove, a horse stuck in a tree down on Main Street (that was actually commissioned by the city to commemorate the flood of 1921) and many others ranging from simple to more abstract designs. Some of these designs cross into graffiti territory, but retain an obvious component of artistry that keeps people of the community and city officials from calling for their removal.
Therein lies a point of debate surrounding the street art movement in Pueblo. When is street art considered vandalism? Where do we draw the line between approved artistic expression and illegal tagging?

Artist Mathew Taylor gives a guided talk in front of one of his murals during a 2018 Pueblo Mural Tour. (Photo: Ashley Lowe for PULP)


Taylor is firm in his belief that legal graffiti art murals deter the practice of illegal graffiti tagging. In his perspective, the artistic drive that goes into composing a mural commands a certain degree of respect. Tagging for the sake of staking a territorial claim is distinguishably less driven by artistic vision and marked by its hurried or moreover careless appearance. Thus completed murals tend not to be vandalized by gang-related tagging in his experience. In t…
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In Southeast Colorado, Libraries are access in the digital divide

Libraries contemplate new roles as community centers and tech hubs.

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Across Colorado, libraries that were built over one hundred years ago are still serving their communities.

These libraries don’t just check out books, however. Colorado libraries are taking on new roles, from social services to cutting edge technology.

In the small town of Trinidad, technology draws many people to the library, which serves the largest land area of any public library in Colorado.

“Our computers are full most of the day,” said Mallory Pillard, director of the Carnegie Public Library in the old mining town. “People play games, check Facebook or print important documents for taxes or file for divorce. It’s entertainment or important life work, and everything in between.”

The Trinidad Library is named after Andrew Carnegie, a steel industrialist from Pittsburgh who funded thousands of libraries across the United States between 1883 and 1929. Those library buildings are now historic structures that are referred as Carnegie libraries. Across Colorado, 18 Carnegie libraries still operate as public libraries, but look very different from the days that they offered only books and newspapers.

Pillard said that in Trinidad the library building itself had to transform to accommodate the needs of a modern community, including a rewiring project last year to allow faster internet speeds. “Obviously Andrew Carnegie and the people that built this library didn’t think we would need networking stuff here,” said Pillard.

In Pueblo, the Pueblo City-County District Library is redefining what it means to be a library.

!– BEGIN THEIA POST SLIDER —

Across Colorado, libraries that were built over one hundred years ago are still serving their communities.
These libraries don’t just check out books, however. Colorado libraries are taking on new roles, from social services to cutting edge technology.
In the small town of Trinidad, technology draws many people to the library, which serves the largest land area of any public library in Colorado.
“Our computers are full most of the day,” said Mallory Pillard, director of the Carnegie Public Library in the old mining town. “People play games, check Facebook or print important documents for taxes or file for divorce. It’s entertainment or important life work, and everything in between.”
The Trinidad Library is named after Andrew Carnegie, a steel industrialist from Pittsburgh who funded thousands of libraries across the United States between 1883 and 1929. Those library buildings are now historic structures that are referred as Carnegie libraries. Across Colorado, 18 Carnegie libraries still operate as public libraries, but look very different from the days that they offered only books and newspapers.
Pillard said that in Trinidad the library building itself had to transform to accommodate the needs of a modern community, including a rewiring project last year to allow faster internet speeds. “Obviously Andrew Carnegie and the people that built this library didn’t think we would need networking stuff here,” said Pillard.
In Pueblo, the Pueblo City-County District Library is redefining what it means to be a library.
In recent years, the library has studied what Pueblo residents need to lead informed, active and connected lives. The result is a library that looks and sounds very different from the quiet book depositories of yesteryear.
“It’s very busy, full of children, with lots of people in the neighborhood,” said Midori Clark, Director of Community Relations for PCCLD. “The library is a busy place with a lot going on.”
In May, Pueblo City-County District Library was awarded the National Medal of Honor for Museum and Library Service, the highest honor in the United States for cultural institutions.
In granting the award, the Institute for Museum and Library Services commended PCCLD’s “responsive services for unique needs.” The library’s responses to community needs including opening three new branch library locations in 2014 in the neighborhoods that needed services the most.
The services offered at Pueblo’s libraries include much than just books. At PCCLD, Pueblo residents connect with much-needed social services like housing or food resources.
“People don’t think of the library as a place where you can get a high school diploma,” said Clark. In May, five Pueblo residents graduated from high school through a library program designed to help adults earn diplomas online.
Library staff saw some residents visiting to check out books needed additional help, like finding affordable health care. In response, the library hired a social worker to help the Pueblo community. Residents visiting the library could also find out where to get shelter, legal help or food resources.
While it may seem unusual for the library to offer social service connections along with books, Clark says many libraries across the country are transforming into resource centers for people in need.
“Other government agencies might seem scary or daunting if you don’t have all of the paperwork or all the the answers,” Clark said. “We strive to be that non-judgmental place where everybody is treated with respect.”
Libraries across Colorado are looking toward the future. Many libraries responded to the explosive growth of e-readers by adding digital books that can be borrowed and downloaded directly to a tablet or smartphone. Other libraries respond to the digital divide by providing a place where people can connect in person, seeing a role for the future as a community center.
“The library is that place where anybody can come,” said Clark. “We are friendly and welcoming and ever…
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One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you can change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.

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