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giovedì 1 dicembre 2016

The Sand Creek Massacre

On the morning of Nov. 29, 1864, Col. John M. Chivington led a band of volunteer soldiers to an American Indian encampment on the Sand Creek Reservation near Eads. The troops surrounded Fort Lyon, a local Army base, arrested their officers, and in the following hours brutally killed an estimated 230 people.

I seen lots of women and children that had been killed. Some were not dead yet… After the fight was over I seen 2 or 3 soldiers together standing over the dead I suppose scalping them.

Bear Tongue and Yellow Woman, the parents of Little Bear survived the Sand Creek Massacre.

Bucks, women, and children were scalped, fingers cut off to get the rings on them…while begging for their lives,” wrote Lt. Joseph A. Cramer, a solider at the massacre.
Beginning Thursday, members of the Northern and Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes from Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma and as far as Pittsburgh, Pa., will gather at the site of the massacre to walk or run to Denver to commemorate the 152nd anniversary of the massacre.
After the massacre, soldiers mutilated the corpses and carried body parts back to Denver to parade them around the city, said Karen Wilde, the Tribal Liaison for the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site. The participants follow the same route to pay homage to their ancestors.
The 18th Annual Sand Creek Massacre Spiritual Healing Run, which is sponsored by the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana and the Northern Arapaho Tribe of Wyoming among others, begins at 7 a.m. Thursday with a sunrise ceremony at the monument in Eads, according to a news release.
Participants will walk or run toward Denver over the next four days. Organizers expect around 500 participants from American Indian reservations across the West.
After they complete the nearly 200-mile journey from the national monument to the Colorado State Capitol, participants will meet with officials from Colorado’s state government, said Gail Ridgely, a coordinator for Wyoming’s Northern Arapaho tribe. Participants will also give presentations on American Indian history and issues the tribes now face.
The event is in memory of our ancestors who died at Sand Creek and the ones who survived,”  Ridgely said.
Sunday’s event also will celebrate the lives of Joseph Cramer and Capt. Silas Soule, who were present at the 1864 massacre and declined to participate. Later, the men wrote letters to military officials that exposed Chivington and his troops, which led to investigations by two congressional committees and an Army commission. These investigations changed the public’s perception of Sand Creek from a battle to a massacre of men, women and children.
All of the events are open to the public, said Otto Braided Hair, an event coordinator who is a member of the Northern Cheyenne of Montana tribe. He encouraged participants to dress for inclement weather and to call him at 406-749-4325 for a location to join the walkers after Friday’s kickoff.
Next week the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site will hold a walking tour at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Researcher Jeff Campbell will lead a free presentation on the Sand Creek Massacre at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Crow-Luther Cultural Events Center at 1304 Maine Eads.

On Nov. 29, 1864, hundreds of Native Americans were killed

In treaties such as the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851, the lands of Native peoples in the west were legally recognized and guaranteed. That such agreements carry the full weight of the United States Constitution belies the casual nature of their neglect.

The Sand Creek Massacre of Nov. 29, 1864, represents just one example of our nation’s failure to live up to the ideals and laws sanctified in the documents of civilization.

Less than a decade after the Fort Laramie Treaty was signed, gold was discovered in land covered by the agreement. For some settlers, this news made the Fort Laramie Treaty a troublesome nuisance. The influx of prospectors and settlers into the Rocky Mountain region hastened the establishment of a territorial government and an urgent necessity to deal with Native nations living there. As more settlers arrived, the resulting violence demanded attention. But the territorial government was unwilling and perhaps unable to secure the treaty boundaries against such violation, so instead they set out to create a new treaty greatly reducing the land of the Arapaho and Cheyenne people within Colorado territory.

Known as the Treaty of Fort Wise, this new agreement was signed in 1861 by a smaller group of Arapaho and Cheyenne chiefs and representatives. Given that many of the Native people affected were unaware of the treaty or opposed the stipulations, it was widely rejected. Even so, land in Colorado’s central and eastern plains and in Kansas—including the area around Sand Creek—was encompassed within the treaty boundaries.

These places, by rights of occupation, treaty and law, were Indian land.

By 1862, John Evans, a physician from Ohio, would be appointed by President Lincoln as Governor of Colorado Territory. Born into the cauldron of war that was the old Northwest where the Shawnee leader, Tecumseh, and his Native allies had faced down General William Henry Harrison and the United States Army, it is not surprising that he harbored unsympathetic views of Native people. His arrival in Denver was marked by escalating violence and cries for the wholesale annihilation of Native people.

There was strong pressure for driving Native people from the territory by the time Arapaho and Cheyenne chiefs, accompanied by Major Edward “Ned” Wyncoop and Captain Silas Soule, arrived at Denver’s Camp Weld on Sept. 28, 1864, to meet with Evans for peace. Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle reportedly said that the trip had been “like coming through the fire,” only hoping for peace—but Evans, who’d first rejected the meeting, stated that he was “in no condition” to make a treaty, and his soldiers were “preparing for the fight.”

When Wyncoop returned to his command at Fort Lyon—some 20 miles from Sand Creek—he assured the assembled Arapaho and Cheyenne that he would protect them. But his superiors were displeased with his humane treatment of these people, and charges were made that forced him to relinquish his command on November 25 of that year.

The Sand Creek Massacre itself would take place a mere four days later. According to reports by Lt. Joseph Cramer—who, along with Capt. Silas Soule, defied orders by refusing to take part in the massacre—“scouts” were placed “around the Post, with instructions to let no one out” to prevent news of the plan from getting out.

Early in the morning of Nov. 29, Cheyenne chiefs Black Kettle and White Antelope came out from their lodges as the troops neared. Black Kettle carried an American Flag and a white flag of truce presented to him by President Lincoln; White Antelope wore a peace medal, also from Lincoln. The soldiers opened fire, wounding Black Kettle and killing White Antelope as he sang his death song: “nothing lives long . . . only the earth and mountains . . .” 

The massacre would not end until the following day, by which time approximately 200 people, mostly women and children, lay dead, with as many wounded. In the report of his subsequent investigation into what had happened, Wyncoop characterizes Col. John Chivington, who led the attack, as an “inhuman monster,” stating that, “the most fearful atrocities were committed that ever was heard of.”

After military and congressional investigations determined Sand Creek to be a massacre, the U.S. government negotiated the Little Arkansas Treaty in October 1865 as a gesture of conciliation, accepting full responsibility and providing reparations. But the terms of this treaty would once again be forgotten within a few years, and Arapaho and Cheyenne people confined to reservations in Wyoming, Montana and Oklahoma.

Now, more than 150 years after the Sand Creek Massacre, its anniversary is still commemorated each year by a days-long Spiritual Healing Run that retraces the route of taken by Chivington and his troops as they made their way back to Denver, there to be welcomed as conquering heroes. But the runners also make their way to the grave of Silas Soule, one of the Army officers who defied Chivington. As we consider the moral and ethical dimensions of these events on this, the 152nd anniversary of the massacre, that aspect of the history should be remembered as well: for this is not just a story about the status of treaties and the question of justice in our American past, but also a reminder that it is always possible to stand up for what is right in the face of hatred and violence.

Billy J. Stratton is an associate professor of English at the University of Denver and the author of Buried in Shades of Night: Contested Voices, Indian Captivity, and the Legacy of King Philip’s War.

The Sand Creek Massacre Took Place More Than 150 Years Ago. It Still Matters Billy J. Stratton  Nov. 29, 2016

More Than 100 Attend 18th Annual Sand Creek Massacre Spiritual Healing Run ICTMN Staff 12/1/16

As word of the massacre spread, the Indigenous resistance to white expansion stiffened. 

This massacre led to the Little Big Horn battle on June 25-6, 1876 where General George Custer and his men were wiped out by the Lakota lead by Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull..

In December 29, 1890, the US 7th Cavalry commanded by Samuel M. Whitside lead the massacre of over 350 Lakota at Wounded Knee Creek.

We have had to live with these horrors since the arrival of the invaders, while they send their "cry babies" to doctors for counselling.

That mindset to slaughter people was brought here. 80 are shot and killed daily in the US, not counting stabbings and death by other means.

Orders always come from the top. On December 26, 1862 Lincoln sanctioned the hanging of 38 randomly picked Indian men and boys without trial, the largest mass hanging in US history. One week later, January 1, 1863, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves. The Blacks then formed the regiment called the Buffalo Soldiers who proudly massacred the Indigenous for their masters. Today both races celebrate their plunder with medals and the theft of our land.

The Americans must be reminded of this continuing genocide. If they don’t know their history, it is bound to repeat itself. The lesson is: be careful what you ask for, you might just get it.

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