(Dec. 3) – Marking the arrival at the State Capitol of the Sand Creek Massacre Healing Runners, Rep. Joe Salazar (D-Thornton) announced today that his legislative agenda in the 2015 legislative session will include measures to “show we are committed” to addressing injustices against American Indians.
Rep. Salazar, who sponsored a bill in the 2014 session to grant in-state tuition rates to American Indian students from tribes with historical ties to the land that is now Colorado, has said he is working on a measure to require public schools to seek permission from a panel of American Indians if they want to use Indian nicknames, logos or mascots.
Participants in the 16th annual Healing Run arrived today on the West Steps of the Capitol, four days after leaving the Sand Creek Massacre site in southeastern Colorado. The unprovoked attack on Nov. 29, 1864, was perpetrated by Colorado soldiers against peaceful Arapaho and Cheyenne bands camped near present-day Eads. About 200 American Indians, mostly women and children, were slaughtered and mutilated in perhaps the worst single episode in the long list of outrages committed by the United States government against its aboriginal population.
“We can say we feel bad about what happened 150 years ago, but our words are empty if they are only words,” Rep. Salazar said. “We can show we are committed to the American Indian community by taking concrete action to help the descendants of the people who were massacred and the people whose lands were stolen. The bills I will bring will not be empty promises.”