29 November 2006

Running To Remember...

These brave runners have done their Ancestors and their Oyate proud...


Runners Remember Victims At Sand Creek

By Hector Gutierrez, Rocky Mountain News
November 25, 2006

The driving cold wind on the Colorado plains made the lungs of the Indian runners burn.

As they got closer to Denver, the altitude made some sick. Jogging on paved roads took a toll on their legs.

Yet the runners, some descendents of the Cheyenne and Arapaho massacred at Sand Creek more than 140 years ago, were determined to finish the nearly 100-mile route from the Sand Creek Massacre Historic Site, near the town of Eads, to Denver.

After two days of running, they joined about 70 supporters Friday at the Wheel circular sculpture of trees outside the Denver Art Museum, where they held a candlelight vigil for the nearly 200 women, children and elderly victims slaughtered on Nov. 29, 1864, by Colorado militia forces led by Col. John M. Chivington.

"I want to give more publicity, to let people know what happened at the massacre, let people know what went on, and to honor our descendents," said Rena West, a Cheyenne from Watonga, Okla., who joined in the eighth annual Healing Run, which began Thanksgiving Day.

West, 17, fared somewhat better than some of the runners. She's on the cross-country team at Watonga High School and showed no signs of the wear and tear from the run.

"I can do this every day," she said.

And she will. West will join the group of runners today at the Riverside Cemetery at the grave of Silas Soule, a captain of a cavalry that positioned itself outside the Sand Creek village, occupied by the Arapaho and Cheyenne.

Soule has been declared a hero by the Arapaho and Cheyenne because he refused to participate in the debacle and eventually helped expose the massacre.

From Soule's grave site the runners plan to head to the state Capitol.

Christopher Yellow Eagle, a coordinator for the Sand Creek Healing Run, said the group of young runners took a vow to stay away from alcohol, illegal drugs and foul language.

"We're going to try to sustain a healthy lifestyle," Yellow Eagle said.

William Tall Bull, another coordinator of the run, said runners will stop at 15th and Arapahoe streets. Tall Bull explained that research by American Indians has indicated that Soule was assassinated near the present-day intersection.


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