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Ari Kelman
Colorado Seminary (Denver, CO 80208-0001)
A Misplaced Massacre: History, Memory, and the Making of the West at Sand Creek

"A Misplaced Massacre" will have two parts. The first will be a brief history of the Sand Creek Massacre itself, an event in which more than 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho Native Americans--the vast majority of whom were women, children or the elderly--were killed in Colorado Territory by a force of approximately 700 Union cavalrymen on November 29, 1864. Part One will focus not only on the massacre's context and impact, but also on the way this event has captured national attention from its aftermath to the present. The second part of "A Misplaced Massacre" will examine recent collaborative efforts undertaken by the National Park Service, the Northern and Southern branches of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, and local landowners to create a national monument at the Sand Creek site. Part Two will investigate the production of historical narratives and knowledge by exploring the contested process of determining exactly where the massacre took place. It will also highlight the challenges of memorializing an event as fraught with politics as this one, an episode in which most Anglo-American participants were neither victims nor heroes, but aggressors. As I plan to tell it, this will be a story of the legacy of the Civil War in the West, of the lingering impact of continental expansion, of the clash of cultures on the borderlands, of power politics across two centuries, of bitter land-use controversies, and of competing views of history. In short, "A Misplaced Massacre" will be an account of the complicated connections between the West's past and present.

[Grant products][Prizes]

Project fields:
U.S. History

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
3/1/2004 – 2/28/2005