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By Joel Hillan

DENVER (CBS4) – This week, 153 years ago, Colonel John Shivington ordered cavalry and artillery to attack a Cheyenne and Arapaho village outside of present day Eads on the eastern plains of Colorado.

The temporary camp was on the border of treaty lands. When troops approached, Peace Chief Black Kettle raised the U.S. flag and white flag of truce, they were still attacked.  Of the nearly 200 killed, two-thirds were women, children or elderly.

Members of Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes have come together each year over the last 19 years to honor victims of the Sand Creek Massacre with a special run.

The 19th Annual Sand Creek Massacre Spiritual Healing Run began at Monument Hill.

“It was a test of your mind, it pushed you to your limits. Especially yesterday’s run, we went up so many hills,” said Morningstar Hoffman. This was her first year running in the event.

“When we were running we were constantly praying,” she said.

Each participating tribe ran 20 miles, 60 in total. On a journey that would take them from Sand Creek to the steps of the State Capitol.

massacre walk denver 3 Annual Run Honors Victims Of Sand Creek Massacre

(credit: CBS)

“It’s like all those children are your sons, your daughters and it makes you prideful,” said Donald Yellow Eagle. “At the same time it gives you an overwhelming sense of hope because you know that they are going to try to carry this on.”

massacre walk denver 2 Annual Run Honors Victims Of Sand Creek Massacre

(credit: CBS)

The tribes hope this connection to their past can help them overcome the challenges of the present, and together, look forward to a brighter future.

“We just want Colorado to understand that we are still here as a people that we still have culture, language, we still have our identity and we’re just trying to heal, even after 100 years of what happened we still want to focus on our children, our elders and our original way of life,” Yelloweagle said.

Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.

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