In 1961, to head off confusion with the new Fleming Law School, the University of Colorado Boulder renamed Fleming Residence Hall after Colorado pioneer David Nichols. In naming Nichols Hall, the board of regents had understandably focused on his role as a territorial politician who had been influential in establishing the university at Boulder. It was not until the 1980s that Nichols’ role as a US Army captain and a commander of troops in 1864 at the Sand Creek Massacre raised questions about the appropriateness of honoring him on campus. In this report, written in 1987, Patty Limerick thoughtfully sizes up the body of historical evidence about what happened at Sand Creek Massacre and reflects upon how modern Westerners engage with and face up to the moral complexity of our region’s history.

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