Chief Left Hand

In late November, 1864, friendly Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians were encamped on Sand Creek in Southeastern Colorado Territory.  Because they were flying the American flag, as ordered by Col. Chivington, Commander of nearby Fort Lyon, the Indians felt safe.  In fact, Chief Black Kettle sent most of his warriors to hunt, leaving behind old men, and women and children.  While the warriors were away, Chivington took 800 soldiers of the 1st and 3rd Colorado Cavalry and marched against the Sand Creek encampment.  It was a massacre.  Not only were more than 100 Indians slaughtered, but the troops proceeded to scalp, dismember, be-head and otherwise mutilate the dead. 

Chief Left Hand, raised as an Arapahoe, was a young warrior at the time, but was away with the other hunters when the massacre took place.  Although Left Hand later fought Custer at Little Big Horn, he lived to a ripe old age with his memories and grief.  Working from an old Edward S. Curtis photo, I have recreated Chief Left Hand’s portrait bust, and have attempted to show the grief on the old man’s swarthy face.  This sculpture, then, honors not only Left Hand, but also the innocent dead at the Massacre at Sand Creek. 

Only in 2007 did the National Park Service create the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site in the State of Colorado.






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Bart in the foundry, applying patina




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