A WIN FOR
DSST Cedar, formerly known as DSST Byers, is a Middle and High School located in Denver, CO. The school was named after William Byers, a known supporter of the Sand Creek Massacre. William Byers ran Denver's first newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News from 1859-1878. In an editorial for the paper, Byers wrote published the message: “A few months of active extermination against the red devils will bring quiet, and nothing else will.” Byers's endorsement of the genocide of Indigenous people contributed to a long legacy of generational trauma experienced by Native people in Colorado and their descendants who remain today.
In 2022, Spirit of the Sun joined with community partners to launch a campaign for a name change for the school. Through various community meetings, restorative justice discussions, and public outreach campaigns, we won our fight for a new name for the school!
We do not want to honor or memorialize people who have systematically harmed communities of color. As institutions dedicated to educating and uplifting future generations, our schools have a responsibility to teach children about the importance of an openness to change in healing past harms.
The sand creek massacre
The Sand Creek Massacre was the deadliest day in Colorado’s history, and it changed Cheyenne and Arapaho people forever. At sunrise on November 29, 1864, the US Army, appointed by John Chivington, attacked a camp of mostly women, children, and elders on Big Sandy Creek in southeastern Colorado. In approximately 8 hours, the soldiers murdered more than 230 peaceful Cheyenne & Arapaho people. This was genocide.
This is not a part of history that the Native people of Colorado have "moved on from" but rather a part of their enduring legacy with impacts that still reverberate into their lives today.
Spirit of the Sun has been educating and mobilizing the community in support of the name change for over a year.
RECENT UPDATE: WE WON!
After a long journey, DSST Byers officially has become DSST: Cedar! We are overjoyed with this change as our communities have been working tirelessly towards this goal!
Click through OUR NAME CHANGE announcement!