The road less traveled by

by Bob Hoelscher 5. January 2011 21:14

While traveling in December from St. Louis back to my current home in Southwestern Utah, I decided to take the “back roads” and visit four, lesser-known sites administered by our National Park Service, including one of the most recent additions to the over 390 parks that make up our National Park System. 

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, established in 2007, is located in rural Southeastern Colorado near the small town of Eads. This remote park commemorates the 1864 massacre of almost 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho people (two thirds of them women, children and elderly) surprised by cavalry and artillery forces of Colorado volunteers led by Col. John Chivington.

At the time, tensions between two vastly different cultures (settlers in the new Territory of Colorado and the native tribes) had been escalating rapidly, leading to this bloody confrontation, which was later harshly condemned by a Congressional Joint Committee. I was most fortunate to be given the complete story of the battle by Park Ranger Craig Moore.

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

Bob Hoelscher, CTC, CTP, MCC, CTIE, is a longtime travel industry executive who has sold his tour company, bought a motorhome and is traveling the highways and byways of America. He is a former chairman of NTA, and was a founding member of Travel Alliance Partners (TAP).

Well-known in the industry as both a baseball and symphony aficionado, Bob is also one of the country’s biggest fans of our national parks, both large and small. He has already visited more than 325 NPS sites and has several dozen yet to see. He is currently traveling the country to visit as many of those parks as possible. His blog, “Travels with Bob”, appears periodically on The Group Travel Leader’s blogsite, “Are We There Yet”. 

Bob is available for contractual work in the industry and may be reached at or by calling (435) 590-1553.



Lesser Known National Parks


1/8/2011 10:35:05 PM #

I worked with Cheyenne and Arapaho people on a documentary film.  It was their story, and they told it, on film.  One thing surfaced more than any other during the several years it took to get the job done.  Respect.  Respect has never really been shown to the Cheyenne and Arapaho people.  If respect is shown, and it is meant, then, it will be most helpful to the Cheyenne and Arapaho people.

When writing about the Sand Creek Massacre, one should always interview Cheyenne and Arapaho people.  They tell quite a story (check my award-winning documentary, "The Sand Creek Massacre", and you will understand what I mean.  If one doesn't interview Cheyenne and Arapaho people, then they are showing disrespect to the Cheyenne and Arapaho.

Southern Cheyenne Chief Laird (Whistling Eagle)Cometsevah told me that over 400 Cheyenne people were murdered at Sand Creek.  He also told me that the Arapaho people always traveled and camped about 8 miles away from the Cheyenne.  He said they were not at Sand Creek.  He bases these statements on what has been passed down through his family.  His great-great grandfather survived the Sand Creek Massacre.

The Cheyenne oral histories must also be respected, particularly since whoever presently writes about the Sand Creek Massacre, were not there on November 29, 1864.  Cheyenne people's ancestors were there.  Cheyenne people's ancestors passed their oral histories down through their families.  So, these oral histories must be respected.  They contain more facts about the Sand Creek Massacre than most Caucasians can find, many more facts.  

Donald L. Vasicek |

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