SEO Headline (Max 60 characters)

Northwestern Issues Report on One of Its Founder's Links to Massacre of Native Americans

May 30, 2014

Northwestern University on Thursday released an independently prepared report on one of its founders, John Evans, and his links to mistreatment of Native Americans when he was governor of the Colorado Territory. The report concludes that there is no evidence Evans helped plan the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre. The study was commissioned in part because Native American students and others said it would be inappropriate for the university to continue to honor someone linked to that massacre of Native Americans. But the study found that "John Evans nonetheless was one of several individuals who, in serving a flawed and poorly implemented federal Indian policy, helped create a situation that made the Sand Creek Massacre possible." Further, the study found that "his conduct after the Sand Creek Massacre reveals a deep moral failure that warrants condemnation. While he denied any role in the massacre, he refused to acknowledge, let alone criticize, what had happened, even going so far as to defend and rationalize it. Regardless of Evans’s degree of culpability in failing to make every possible effort to protect the Cheyennes and Arapahos when they were most vulnerable, his response to the Sand Creek Massacre was reprehensibly obtuse and self-interested."

Several professorships are named for Evans, as is the city of Evanston, where Northwestern is located.

The report called on Northwestern to present a more balanced view of Evans. "John Evans deserves institutional recognition for his central and indispensable contributions to the establishment of Northwestern and its development through its early decades, but the university has ignored his significant moral failures before and after Sand Creek," the report says. "This oversight goes against the fundamental purposes of a university and Northwestern’s own best traditions, and it should be corrected."

Share Article

Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

Back to Top