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(taken with permission)

A miracle of forgiveness occurred in 1968, one century after Washita on November 27, 1868. Articles about it will be after each diary; that's the framework for this series of unknown duration. I have found several things that I believe need to be addressed in order to fully appreciate the miracle that happened in 1968. In general, these are: restating Black Kettle and the Sand Creek Massacre of Nov. 29th, 1864 (Part 2),clearing away untruths one by one surrounding Washita, exploring the power grid of the generals at that time, how the other Cheyenne and Arapaho viewed Black Kettle and how that was used against him, the fact Custer tracked 10 to 15 dog soldiers into Black Kettle's camp, Black Kettle's meetings for peace, the tragedy itself, and how that broke the Southern Cheyenne Arapaho as being formidable adversaries to the policy of extermination.

Crossposted at Progressive Historians

Black Kettle, a Peace Chief of the Cheyenne Arapaho , had a vision of peace with the whites.


What Black Kettle may have trusted were his own traditions. As a Peace Chief following pipe tradition, he would have been taught the four central tenets of faith, truth, humility and respect. Black Kettle is remembered as much for how he lived as how he died.

I personally believe the most significant part of it came true in 1968. The story needs to be told.

Washita is not officially named a massacre, which is one of the things that will be discussed. It is a source of controversy, but not from a descendant himself.


What followed was a massacre of the people from the pregnant Cheyenne women being cut open at the womb and babies left on the frozed ground dead with their mothers. Women, children and elders alike were shot down as at a turkey shoot.

Custer took 52 captives back to Camp Supply and they were later transfered to Ft. Hayes, Kansas, as prisoners of war.

Thus this needless massacre just four years almost to the date later from the Sand Creek Massacre and to the very same bands and families nearly wiped out this extended kinships of families that had survived the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864 in southeastern Colorado.

(Sipes Cheyenne Files- Lodge Pole River (Washita) Massacre)

Nor, from these individuals.


We, the undersigned, object to the site being termed a battlefield. Such an identification is an incorrect interpretation of the historical facts, resulting in misinformation. It is no more a battlefield than Auschwitz was a battlefield. Instead, we request that the site be designated the Washita National Historic Site of Genocide.

I do think that since much evidence that proves how several lies told by Custer were in fact lies as proven by Custer's own accounts as cited in Jerome A. Greene's new book "Washita," such as 
blaming the  Kansas Raids on Black Kettle -

Nor is there evidence to support the notion that Black Kettle was personally to blame for the events that precipitated the attack. p.186

- there is a need for those in my position (not being a descendant as far as I know) to refer to Washita as "Washita," and let history unfold.

I can personally testify that the information at the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site does not pull any punches in citing the facts. The people I met are goodhearted, well informed, and dedicated to the truth of this historic tragedy.

I feel a need to allow for space and debate without offering my opinion at present, but I may or may not do so in the future. I sincerely believe and feel that what needs to be front and center in the controversy is the miracle of forgiveness that I spoke of in the beginning. I'll fill in the key details in the future. I asked for permission to do so.

Approximately one Quarter mile from the Black Kettle's death at Washita.

Cheyenne story of massacre and reconciliation mesmerizes Bethel audience


One hundred years later, in 1968, Hart, his children and other Cheyenne living near the town of Cheyenne, Okla., took part in a centennial commemoration of the massacre, which white historians were calling "the last great battle between the U.S. Army and the Indians in Oklahoma Territory." The Cheyenne had reluctantly agreed to participate, on condition that they be permitted to bury the remains, on display in the local museum, of a Cheyenne child killed in the massacre.

The reenactment became too real when the Grandsons of the Seventh Cavalry, a group of men from California, joined the scene in authentic uniforms, shooting blank cartridges from authentic carbines and brandishing authentic sabers.
Hart described the deep feelings of hostility this incident drew out of him, not least because the Cheyenne had not been told the Grandsons were taking part in the reenactment and they felt they had been betrayed yet again.

However, the reburial of the child's remains proceeded. At the end of the ceremony, a gesture of reconciliation initiated by Cheyenne elders with Eric Gault, the commander of the Grandsons of the Seventh Cavalry, became deeply significant to Hart.

Although my own history was lost, any imagined resentment I felt towards Custer is now gone.

Originally posted to Winter Rabbit on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 12:50 PM PST.


Had you been aware of the Cheyenne story regarding the massacre and reconciliation?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips and a modern correlation... (9+ / 0-)

    The policy of extermination against the indigenous people "worked best" prior to them being U.S. citizens protected by the Constitution...

    On June 2, 1924, President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill granting Native Americans full citizenship. Coolidge posed with four Osage Indians in front of the White House to commemorate the event.

    ...Thus, having habeas corpus.

    Military Commissions Act raises painful memories
    Posted: October 06, 2006
    by: Editors Report / Indian Country Today

    Ghosts of Sioux warriors surround the controversy on the Military Commissions Act, 38 of them to be precise. They offer a warning that should not be ignored.

    On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the type of tribunal the Bush administration intended to use for terrorist trials. On Sept. 29, Congress passed a fix that met the court's objections but left civil libertarians very nervous. The issues are an eerie echo of the debate over one of the most notorious of these tribunals, which 154 years ago ordered the largest mass execution in U.S. history. This was the military commission of Col. Henry Sibley, which tried and condemned alleged participants in the Minnesota Sioux uprising of 1862. ..

    The aftermath of the Sioux uprising showed how easily military commissions can be abused, even by reputable men. This lesson should not be forgotten.

    I agree with the Senator below in this instance:


    Senator Dodd Introduces Military Commissions Act Fix Bill; ACLU Applauds Move, Urges Congress to Restore Due Process (2/13/2007)



    WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union today applauded Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) for introducing legislation to restore the Constitution and the basic American value of due process to detainees held at Guantanamo Bay. The "Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007" would also fix many of the problems contained in the Military Commissions Act passed by Congress last year.

    "The bill introduced today would restore core American values gutted by the Military Commissions Act," said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "The only thing scarier than a government that would take away our basic freedoms is a Congress and a people that let it happen. We urge lawmakers to stand for the Constitution by restoring due process."

    Because –

    The aftermath of the Sioux uprising showed how easily military commissions can be abused, even by reputable men. This lesson should not be forgotten.

    And, the Sand Creek Massacre was merely two years after the Sioux uprising and Washita was just six years afterwards, while the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 was just eight. If the indigenous people had been considered equal, constitutionally protected, and having habeas corpus then, would any of those things have even happened? If so, to what lesser degree?

  •  thanks for posting, look forward to more (4+ / 0-)

    I think it is worth emphasizing that the man's name was Motavato, as best we can spell it.  Black Kettle was not his name, but rather the English gloss of his name. While I use the gloss also, I think that in any treatment of any man's life and times, we should recognize that he was not defined by the translation of his name into the language of others.

  •  How did it end? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What was the "gesture of reconciliation" initiated by the Elders?  You tell one sad story of betrayal afer another, Winter Rabbit.

    "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

    by JFinNe on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 01:10:03 PM PST

    •  I want to show that in the future... (0+ / 0-)

      there are a few articles on the net. I'll give the first part, though. After the event, both sides were in a line while the child's bones to be buried were being passed down the line. Descendants at the beginning, Custer's grandson at the end.
      Just try to imagine that much of it after the 7th Calvary's offspring came over the hill firing blanks with the descendants in the old traditional encampments.

  •  Thank you. (0+ / 0-)

    I look forward to your next installment.  

    You put this together nicely.  

    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 01:32:21 PM PST

  •  Thank you and citizenship machs nicht (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Winter Rabbit

    Thank you, Winter Rabbit.

    I was glad to read this.

    In re commentary re utility of citizenship - nah.

    The NDN people of California were subjects of Spain while they were enslaved and murdered by the missions and Spanish soldiers.  They were citizens of Mexico when Mexico took over California from Spain and appropriated the native people's/citizens' lands.  They were made citizens of the United States when the US took California under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and instantly began seizing US citizens' lands, kidnapping women and children, paying scalp bounty on Indians out of California treasury funds, and, according to California's second governor, prosecuting a war of extermination so that no Indian would be left alive in California.  

    This is us governing. Live so that 100 years from now, someone might be proud of us.

    by marthature on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 01:41:55 PM PST

    •  I found this... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      California Genocide and included it in this diary

      That's one of my conclusions, once the evil of extermination/genocide is let loose and it's future victims are already made helpless, it's too late. Opportunity seems to trump constitutional protections and citizenship.

      •  That is a good source; however (0+ / 0-)

        in reading US history, original sources, I've seen that the intent to conquer, exterminate, and take was present from Columbus to Pilgrims and all points south.  The Spanish and the Pilgrims repeatedly praised God for giving them conquest and invoked God and Christianity as the casus belli against heathen natives.  Even when New England NDNs became Christians, it did not save them.

        Recommended reading: Guns Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond.  Peoples History of the United States Howard Zinn.
        1491 by Charles Mann

        The interesting conundrum, to me, is that the lies our teachers told us (another excellent book, by James Loewen) made some of us confused and some of us idealists; the facts of US history, when we learned them, broke all our hearts but did not make us less idealistic.  

        I wonder.  If you all who were only taught the idealistic lies of US history had instead been taught only the facts, as they really are, would you all have become so cynical as children that we would not today be progressives trying to create a good and proper nation and world?

        This is us governing. Live so that 100 years from now, someone might be proud of us.

        by marthature on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 02:06:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Great question! (0+ / 0-)

          Give me a little while to ponder that one. I have Jared Diamond's book, but not the others. I do have one called "Puritans and Manifest Destiny" by Segal Stineback that I think others should read. Give me some time on that great question...WR

          •  It's still winter, Rabbit (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            It's the time for hearing the long, old stories.  It's good to think for a long time, and not be hasty.

            This is us governing. Live so that 100 years from now, someone might be proud of us.

            by marthature on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 02:23:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Lol! (0+ / 0-)

              I have a partial answer.
              Children can't see things from another's point of view, and are egocentric naturally. It was considered they could do so beginning at 16, but the psychological profession moved it to 26, because people stay at home longer than they used to and the life expectancy is now longer. Hence, they don't "grow up" as soon, still depending on their parents.
              I think honesty about the time children start doing what their parents don't want them to start doing and thinking about is the right time, which is about the start of puberty. Then, it needs to be considered their ability to understand the vocabulary involved. How to explain a concept like genocide to a middle aged child? By survivors themselves with parent permission slips, of course. Will they "get it?" Not likely, they have a view that "it won't happen to them." Which is why it's hard to convince them not to use drugs, ect. because they just might die or something bad may happen if they do. They have little concept of death, unless they've experienced it much themselves. Would they become more cynical? The ones that experience great tragedy already are, and the ones who haven't won't get it right then. However, that's not saying the seeds shouldn't be planted. They'll "get it" when they're developmentally ready, and not a minute too soon...if, their told the truth while they're young enough and not lied to, I think.

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