Interpretation and Memorialization at the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

  • Andrew Spencer


As an atrocity heritage site, the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site is a liminal place partitioned from the everyday by its “sacredness through desecration” (Sion) and by the “gaze-intent” of the dark heritage visitor (Urry and Larsen). The meanings and interpretations of Sand Creek site are multifaceted, contested, and ever changing and the massacre remains extremely emotionally charged. For the descendants of the tribes involved, the contested site has always been sacred and an intrinsic part of tribal identity and culture. This case study evaluates the interpretive methodologies at the site and interrogates the relative importance of interpretation and memorialization within this atrocity heritage space. Further, Spencer seeks to assess critically the notion of interpretation (as commodified by NPS— National Park Service) and its ability to facilitate individual meaning-making and construct subjective narrations within the visit.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Spencer
    • 1
  1. 1.South Park National Heritage AreaPark CountyUSA

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