Boulder Weekly: Tribes feel connection to sacred Valmont Butte

"As we approach the conclusion of the Ghosts of Valmont Butte series, we’re going back to the beginning.

Back to the first people who used the butte — not as a dumping ground, but as a sacred place.

There is evidence that Native Americans began inhabiting Boulder Valley more than 10,000 years ago. And when pioneers arrived in Boulder Valley in 1858, Valmont Butte served as a winter camp for Arapaho Indians.

According to historical accounts, like an archeological history of the property written by Peter Gleichman in 2004, the land belonged to the Arapaho and Cheyenne by treaty, and had been used by the Utes. Native Americans found the buttes (there used to be several, before dams were built between them to hold in tailings) and the lakes south of them suitable for camping and hunting. Settlers reported that about 400 Arapaho participated in a communal antelope hunt there in 1860.

The Valmont Butte area also has a connection to the massacre of Cheyenne and Arapaho at Sand Creek in 1864 — it was at a sod fort just north of the butte where the Colorado volunteer militia mustered before the attack.

The last of the remaining tribes were removed from the area in 1881."

Get the Story:
Sacred spine (The Boulder Weekly 5/31)

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