Tour 11: Niinenii-niicie: Exploring the Ongoing Indian History of Denver
Tour leaders: David Halaas, author and consultant to the Northern Cheyenne Tribe; Tink Tinker, Iliff School of Theology; and William Philpott, University of Denver
Though it can be easy to overlook amidst the skyscrapers and suburban subdivisions, the entire Denver metro area sits on land that was expropriated from Arapahos and Cheyennes in the 1850s and 1860s. Through repeated treaty violations and bloody aggressions, most notoriously the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864, these tribes were systematically removed not just from the Denver area but entirely from Colorado Territory. Ever since, there has been a tendency in Denver to relegate Natives to a sort of ghosthood: people only of the past. But Native Americans never fully vanished as 19th-century thinking assumed they would—nor did the living legacies of the 1860s violence against them. On this tour, we will explore the persistent history of Indian people in the metro area—both their continued presence in the city, and the continuing relevance of their past. Our exploration will take us to a number of sites. At the State Capitol and its surrounding monuments, we will discuss the ways Sand Creek and Colorado’s Indian history more broadly have been alternatively erased, mythicized, and memorialized. At the Four Winds American Indian Center, a community center near downtown, we will discuss the experiences of Native Americans in Denver since World War II, including struggles for civil rights, housing, education, health, religious expression, and cultural preservation. Leading our tour will be David Halaas, retired former Colorado state historian and current consultant to the Northern Cheyenne Tribe; Tink Tinker (wazhazhe/Osage Nation), professor of Indian cultures and religions at Denver’s Iliff School of Theology and long-time local spiritual and community leader; and Bill Philpott, history professor at the University of Denver.
This bus tour will involve a small amount of walking. The downstairs meeting room at the Four Winds American Indian Center is ADA accessible, but the main hall of the center is accessible only by stairs.
Limit 25 people. $20 members, $25 nonmembers