A Sad Week in Oklahoma History

by William D. Welge, CA, Director of the Research Division

The end of November marks two tragic events in our pre-statehood era. November 29th, 1864 in southeastern Colorado, Chief Black Kettle’s band of peaceful Cheyenne’s were brutally attacked by the 1st Colorado Volunteers lead by Colonel John Chivington. Though told to fly the American flag as a sign of peace, Black Kettle’s camp was nearly all massacred by the men under Chivington’s command.

Sadly, nearly four years to the day on November 27th, 1868 another massacre took place at Washita in northwestern Oklahoma in what is Roger Mills County near Cheyenne, Oklahoma. A mix of Cheyenne’s under Black Kettle, Arapaho’s and some Kiowa’s were suddenly attacked by General George Custer in what must be considered one of the most cowardly military attacks second only to Sand Creek. This time, Peace Chief Black Kettle was killed with his family.

The members of the Cheyenne, Arapaho and Kiowa’s still mourn their loss to this day. For more information about these historical incidents please see The Sand Creek Massacre and The Battle of the Washita authored by Stan Hoig.

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