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Only the Earth and the Mountains interrogates the narrative of settler colonialism in the American West by white pioneers and its implications to society today by examining the repercussions of the Sand Creek Massacre, in which more than 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho people were murdered by U.S. Cavalry troops on November 29, 1864. In speaking to the survivors’ descendants, it becomes clear that this event is a living, perpetual loss—one that should not be forgotten.


Director’s Statement: Elleni Sclavenitis

As a white woman growing up in Colorado, I didn't learn about the Sand Creek Massacre in school. Nor did I learn about the Cheyenne or Arapaho people, who had inhabited the borderless plains of North America for thousands of years before the formation of the United States. 


Instead, I learned that the West had been an unoccupied wild frontier until it was discovered, tamed, and settled by European pioneers. In Only the Earth and the Mountains, I interrogate this narrative of the settlement of the West by white pioneers and its ongoing implications to society today by examining the repercussions of the Sand Creek Massacre.

  • Year
    2020
  • Runtime
    30 minutes
  • Language
    Cheyenne, English
  • Country
    United States
  • Premiere
    Oregon
  • Director
    Elleni Sclavenitis
  • Producer
    Elleni Sclavenitis
  • Cinematographer
    Elleni Sclavenitis
  • Editor
    Elleni Sclavenitis