Plan will guide future stewardship of open space land where Fort Chambers likely stood. Fort is where Boulder-area men trained before participating in the Sand Creek Massacre.

BOULDER, Colo. – The City of Boulder extends its gratitude to Arapaho and Cheyenne Tribal Representatives for their guidance in developing a draft concept stewardship plan for open space land northeast of Boulder with a direct community connection to the Sand Creek Massacre.

The city and Arapaho and Cheyenne Tribal Representatives welcome community feedback on a draft concept plan through an online questionnaire that will be open through Sunday, April 14. The city encourages community members to read the concept plan and share their input.

The draft concept plan provides recommendations for how the city – with continuing guidance from Tribal Representatives – will care for land where Fort Chambers likely stood, which was near Boulder Creek east of 63rd Street and south of Jay Road. It also will help guide the city’s ongoing work to acknowledge and communicate the role of Fort Chambers and the Boulder community in the Sand Creek Massacre.

From Aug. 28 to Sept. 16, 1864, more than 100 Boulder-area men of Company D of the Third Colorado Calvary Regiment trained at Fort Chambers. The men of Company D later participated in the murder of 10 Cheyenne people on Oct. 9, 1864, and the killing of more than 230 peaceful Arapaho and Cheyenne Peoples at the Sand Creek Massacre on Nov. 29, 1864.**

Learn more about Fort Chambers and its connection to the Sand Creek Massacre. Read more about the lands’ historical, ecological, and agricultural significance, and why the city purchased the land to preserve it as open space.

“When we began work with city staff and visited the land, we shared all these stories and things that came from us,” said Fred Mosqueda (Southern Arapaho). “They listened to us with open minds so we could share our feelings of this place and for us all to understand where we were coming from and the things that happened on the land. As we began to understand what we could do together, I think it began to heal us by being able to talk about it and make this place a place to tell the whole story.”

City staff closely collaborated with Tribal Representatives from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, the Northern Arapaho Tribe and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe to understand their Tribal Nations’ desired long-term relationship with the land. Their guidance has led to a shared future vision for the land: “Heal the Land; Heal the People.”

Key elements of the concept plan include:

  1. Ecological Restoration: Heal the land from past land uses and improve ecological health through a large-scale restoration along Boulder Creek.

  2. Healing Trail: Create Indigenous plantings, interpretive elements and program areas to provide places for education, reflection, healing and gathering.

  3. Visitor Access: Develop an entrance drive that leads to a parking area with a bus drop-off to support visitors and provide site access.

  4. Farmstead Improvements: Support ongoing agriculture, including diversified vegetable farming and irrigated hay fields. Recommendations also include restoration of the historic Queen Anne-style house and existing farm structure.

Read more about how the city developed the concept plan in collaboration with representatives from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, the Northern Arapaho Tribe and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.

“We would like to make this a success story for everyone,” said Chester Whiteman (Southern Cheyenne), referring to planned, ongoing collaboration with Arapaho and Cheyenne Tribal Nations for the land where Fort Chambers likely stood. “This is going to take healing on all sides, all of the Nations that are involved in this – the Native and the Non-Native Nations. They all have to heal. It can’t just be one-sided. Everybody has to work together to get to that point, and we need to come together to educate everybody that comes to this location.”

The public is invited to provide feedback on the draft concept plan using an online questionnaire through Sunday, April 14. City Open Space and Mountain Parks staff will also hold “office hours” to answer questions and help community members who may need assistance providing their input.

  • Where: OSMP Hub, 2520 55th Street
  • When: 4 to 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 3, 2024.

The city will review public input and consider revisions with additional guidance from Tribal Representatives. Open Space and Mountain Parks staff anticipate presenting community feedback on the plan to the city’s Open Space Board of Trustees in the summer. After the concept plan is finalized, specific plan elements will be further developed with guidance from Tribal Representatives.

“Arapaho and Cheyenne Tribal Nations come in with a great knowledge of these lands here. It’s long overdue that we come out and give our sense of true history,” said Ben Ridgley (Northern Arapaho). “That helps us to bring us to this point today, where we can collaborate together and build a better understanding of history, and work towards healing for not only for the Tribes, but the state of Colorado and the people here.”

** The City of Boulder has updated this webpage to provide more specific historical information about the barbaric Sand Creek Massacre. Learn much more through the information resources below.

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