Anniversary at Milk Creek site unites cultures

Around 160 people attended the 140th anniversary of the Milk Creek Battle Saturday, including representatives from all four Ute tribes and ancestors of some of the Buffalo Soldiers. Above, Jonas Grant Bullethead stands in full regalia next to members of the Meeker VFW. Joe Sullivan and Dr. Dave Steinman were honored posthumously for their part in developing the Milk Creek Battlefield Park and informational signage installed earlier this year. One of the 15 signs features a quote from Sullivan, who stated, “The Utes were humans too, and they deserve our recognition.”
Caitlin Walker Photo

MEEKER | About 160 people attended the 140th anniversary of the Milk Creek Battle, including representatives of all four Ute tribes and ancestors of some of the Buffalo Soldiers. Battling intense winds, members of the Grant family—Jonas and Joy Grant Bullethead and their grandson, Jonah—clad in traditional regalia, spread some of Joe Sullivan’s ashes at the site as part of the ceremony.

“It’s an honor to do a tribute to our old friend Joe. We talked a lot,” Jonas said.

Sullivan, along with the late Dr. David Steinman, were instrumental in the development of the Milk Creek Battle Field Park, which honors all who lost their lives during the five-day battle between the Utes and the U.S. Cavalry that happened at the same time as the Meeker Incident, in which Utes killed the white men at the White River Agency, including Indian agent Nathan Meeker, and took the women captive. As a result, the Utes were relocated from their traditional homeland to reservations in southwest Colorado and eastern Utah.

Bev Steinman, speaking on behalf of her late husband, said, “A friendship was developed between our cultures,” through the process of establishing the park.

By Niki Turner | editor@ht1885.com

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