During 1864, tensions escalated between White settlers and Native Americans in the Colorado frontier. In June of that year, John Evans, the territory’s second governor, issued a proclamation telling Indians to report to outposts like Fort Laramie and Camp Collins for protection and safety.
Two months later, Evans issued a decidedly darker order, authorizing all citizens of the territory to “kill and destroy, as enemies of the country, wherever they may be found … hostile Indians.”
In November of that year, U.S. troops slaughtered hundreds of Arapaho and Cheyenne – including women, children, and the elderly – after several tribal chiefs went out to greet them and as dozens of other Native Americans fled.
Evans’ orders remained on the books for 157 years. That’s not the case anymore. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed an executive order Tuesday rescinding Evans’s proclamations, hoping to make amends for “past sins.”