Winner of the 2012 Mountain-Plains Museum Association 'Leadership & Innovation Award' and the 'Josephine H. Miles History Award' from History Colorado for 2012. This award goes to an individual, organization or museum in Colorado that has made a major contribution to the advancement of Colorado History.
Chief Niwot struggled to find peace during the most fateful years in Southern Arapaho history. His life and legacy are revealed in this exhibit along with the Arapahos' place in Boulder's history.
The Boulder History Museum is excited to present the powerful story Chief Niwot, one of the most notable Indians of the plains, a man about whom legends were made. Niwot’s story is one of honor and deceit, hope and despair. When hoards of white men began migrating to the central plains in the mid-nineteenth century, they moved into the land that was home to the Arapaho and Cheyenne Indians. In 1858, the Arapaho Chief Niwot (translated in English as Left Hand) astonished the early gold-seekers in Colorado by greeting them in their own language. He and his tribe hoped to make peace with the newcomers to allow the two cultures to share the same land and coexist peacefully. Niwot devoted his life to this struggle but his efforts ultimately failed. He was mortally wounded at the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864. This exhibit is the first to reveal the story of Chief Niwot and the complexity his struggle to find peace during the most fateful years in the history of the Southern Arapaho Indians.
The Museum’s exhibit is part of a community wide program exploring Niwot’s life and legacy in our region of Colorado. One Action, One Boulder: Niwot’s Arrow, a yearlong series created by local nonprofits, is not only an effort to educate residents about the history and tragedy of Niwot, but also to generate ideas and tools to create a more responsible, peaceful and inclusive community for the future.
The Boulder History Museum has committed to providing the historical substance for this community-wide collaborative effort. While the name of Niwot is prominent in our community, most citizens are not aware of the facts of his life. Many have heard of ‘Niwot’s Curse,’ but what is the historical basis to that persistent myth?
Particularly challenging is the fact that there are no known photographs of Niwot himself. We are telling the story with a group of carefully researched documents, artifacts, photographs and interactive elements that chronicle the events and personalities that affected the Arapaho Chief. Our exhibit team is comprised of Arapaho tribal members, academics, historians, researchers and professional designers.
From May until January 2013, our exhibit will be the centerpiece of the community programs for the year. We hope to be the starting point for conversations between generations and between friends. Our community will be strengthened by exploring a pivotal piece of regional history in its rightful context.
Listen to BHM's CEO, Nancy Geyer, interview by Hanna Leigh Myers about the Chief Niwot~Legend & Legacy exhibit on KGNU's Morning Magazine.
Join us for book discussions of One Book, One Boulder's Chief Left Hand by Margaret Coel on August 8th and August 15th.
Be sure to check out the Museum's Chief Niwot~Legend & Legacy Program Series co-sponsored by the Native American Rights Fund.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF BOULDER COUNTY, WELLS FARGO AND SCFD.
1st Floor Galleries of BHM