An Independence Day pilgrimage

Discussion in 'Old Hippies' started by granny_longerhair, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. For my Independence Day holiday this year, I decided, instead of fireworks and backyard barbecue, to make a pilgrimage to the spot where my great-grandmother died ... the site of the Sand Creek Massacre, in eastern Colorado.

    The Massacre occurred in November of 1864, when a force of 800 US Army Cavalry attacked a peaceful camp of Cheyenne and Arapahoe. The cavalry raped, slaughtered, and then mutilated about 200 defenseless women and children, leaving the bodies to rot and stink in the sun. My great-grandmother was one of them.

    I cannot even begin to tell you the emotions I felt as I walked along the bluff overlooking the site of the Native encampment along the banks of Sand Creek. Cottonwoods swayed gently in the breeze. The sweet song of meadowlarks drifted across the prairie. I could close my eyes and hear again the screams of the Native women as they pleaded for their lives and the lives of their children, only to be hacked to pieces by the soldiers. I could smell again the clouds of gunsmoke that fogged the air.

    Parts were sliced off the bodies, taken back to Denver, and put on display by the Colorado Territorial government as symbols of this "great victory".

    And I wept for the darkness in the human soul that allows men to do such a thing.

    Today is a day for remembering who we are, for remembering what it means to be American. As a civilization, there is much good inside us. We have accomplished many great things, contributed much to the advancement of the human species.

    But Sand Creek is part of who are, too. We must take responsibility for it. We must acknowledge that there are parts of our heritage that are as vile and despicable as anything in the history of the world.

    This, too, is what it means to be American.
  2. scratcho

    scratcho Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Beautifully written,Granny. There some who will disagree---but I am not one of them.
  3. Meliai

    Meliai Banned

    What a great way to recognize the holiday granny. Safe travels to you
  4. Spectacles

    Spectacles My life is a tapestry Lifetime Supporter

    Thank you for posting this beautiful tribute. :grouphug:
  5. Thank you all for writing :)

    There was a disheartening aftermath to the story.

    A handful of the Natives in the camp at Sand Creek escaped, some of them badly wounded, and made their way back to a larger Cheyenne camp some miles to the north. When the Cheyenne warriors and the rest of the Cheyenne Nation learned what had happened, they were, as you might imagine, enraged.

    In revenge, they went on a trail of terror across eastern and northern Colorado, killing basically every white person they could find. The Governor of Colorado Territory at the time, John Evans, used this as justification for his policy of extermination of the Red Man from the borders of Colorado.

    His words: "... all good citizens of Colorado ... go in pursuit, kill and destroy all Indians that infest the Plains."

    In the months that followed, however, word of the Massacre began to filter back to Washington, mostly from letters written by soldiers in particular units of the main striking force that refused to take part in the killing and mutilations.

    Remember that the Civil War was still going on at the time, and military and government leaders already had their hands full. Yet they initiated three separate investigations of the Massacre. In each one, they found that the actions of Col. John Chivington, who had led the main attack, were without justification and shamed the integrity of the United States. Congress voted to appropriate a large sum of money to be paid to the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Nations as reparations, although to this day, the money has never been paid.
  6. Spectacles

    Spectacles My life is a tapestry Lifetime Supporter


  7. scratcho

    scratcho Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Yeah,well--you know--the only good indian and all that.
  8. thismoment

    thismoment Member

    Thank you for posting all this Granny. It was quite a pilgrimage!

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