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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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National Trust For Historic Preservation Presents Awards To Cheyenne, Arapaho Tribes
by Billings (MT) Gazette staff
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has presented its Preservation Honor Award to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Montana, Wyoming and Oklahoma.

The award to the tribes was one of 23 bestowed by the National Trust during its 2009 National Preservation Conference in Nashville, Tenn.

On Nov. 29, 1864, U.S. military troops attacked a peaceful encampment of Cheyenne and Arapaho along Sand Creek in what is today southeastern Colorado. More than 150 American Indians - many of them women, children and the elderly - were killed in the attack.

Nearly four years later, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer led a surprise dawn raid on a sleeping Southern Cheyenne encampment along the Washita River in western Oklahoma.

Today, more than 140 years after the carnage, both the Sand Creek Massacre Site and the Washita Battlefield are National Historic Sites, thanks in large measure to the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribe members who would not let their history be forgotten.

Working closely with the National Park Service and other partners, the tribes participated in every phase of development of the National Historic Sites - rom site investigation to the design of interpretive centers and exhibits.

Oal histories provided by tribal descendants played a critical role in identifying natural and cultural resources and key battlefield locations.

In addition to their efforts at these two places, the tribes have been actively working to safeguard their history at Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site in Colorado, a reconstructed 1840s fur-trading post of considerable significance to the tribes. There, the Cheyenne and Arapaho provide consultation and assistance ranging from site interpretation to curatorial care of artifacts and the interment of human remains.

"At these historic sites in the American Plains, members of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes are helping make sure the telling of history is clear and accurate - even when it isn't pretty," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

"The tribes should be commended for their foresight and perseverance in heritage preservation, not only for the good of the few, but on behalf of the many."

Along with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, Montana and Wyoming, co-recipients honored were the National Park Service; Steve Brady; Otto Braided Hair; Ben and Gail Ridgely; Lee LoneBear; Richard Williams; Gov. Darrell Flyingman; and Chief Gordon Yellowman.

The National Preservation Awards are bestowed on distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agen-cies and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to their communities through preserva-tion of our architectural and cultural heritage. These efforts include citizen attempts to save and maintain important landmarks; companies and craftsmen whose work restores the richness of the past; the vision of public officials who support preservation projects and legislation in their communities; and educators and journalists who help Americans understand the value of preservation.

Winners of the National Preservation Awards will appear in the November/December issue of Preservation Magazine and online at

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