The Cheyenne Medicine Bundles

Medicine bundles are important to many of the Northern Plains tribes. The concept of “medicine” refers to spiritual power, which is not limited to healing. For the Plains Indians, spirit power—medicine—was needed for success in hunting, gambling, war, love, and other activities. The medicine bundle contains sacred objects which are symbols of spiritual power: they are not the spiritual power itself. Thus, if a personal medicine bundle is lost or stolen, the power is not lost as the individual has the power to remake the bundle.

There are basically three kinds of medicine bundles: (1) personal bundles made in accordance with instructions received from spiritual helpers during the vision quest, (2) society bundles maintained by the warrior societies, and (3) tribal bundles which are important to the entire tribe.

Among the Cheyenne, there are two sacred tribal medicine bundles: the Sacred Arrows and the Sacred Buffalo Hat.

The Sacred Arrows (Maahotse) were originally given to the prophet Sweet Medicine by Maheo (the Creator) in a holy cave within the sacred mountain (Novavose or Bear Butte). In his book Sweet Medicine: The Continuing Role of the Sacred Arrows, the Sun Dance, and the Sacred Buffalo Hat in Northern Cheyenne History, Father Peter J. Powell writes:  “Sweet Medicine’s teaching is the spiritual milk by which the Cheyenne have grown in wisdom. His greatest gift to the People was Mahuts, the Sacred Arrows.”

The Sacred Arrows are living things and are the holiest of the Cheyenne tribal possessions. Father Peter J. Powell, in an article in American Indian Art, writes:  “Ma’heo’o pours his life into Cheyenne lives through the Sacred Arrows. The Cheyenne people, in turn, are made one with him and with each other in him through those Sacred Arrows who bless their life and identity as a holy nation.”   He goes on to say:  “So perfect is that unity of the Cheyenne people with Ma’heo’o and each other through Maahotse that when a murder occurs within the Cheyenne nation, flecks of blood appears on the shafts of the Sacred Arrows.”

In his book, Father Powell summarizes the importance of the Sacred Arrows by saying:  “Without the Arrows, there can be no Cheyenne tribe, no People in any supernatural sense.”

The Sacred Arrows are symbols of male power. Father Peter J. Powell reports:  “No female dares look at them when they are exposed to veneration.”

Even today, women will excuse themselves from the presence of men who are speaking about the Sacred Arrows.

The Massaum Ceremony is an ancient Cheyenne ceremony which was given to the people by Sweet Medicine who first performed it at Bear Butte. The five-day ceremony re-enacts the creation of the world. During this ceremony, the Sacred Arrows are cleansed and all creation is renewed.

The second Cheyenne bundle is the Sacred Buffalo Hat (Esevone) which was a gift from Maheo to the Sutai prophet Erect Horns (Tomsivi). In historic times the Cheyenne were composed of two tribes: the Cheyenne (Tsistista) and the Sutai. The Sacred Buffalo Hat is generally associated with the Sutai who became incorporated into the Cheyenne in the late 18th century. The power of the Sacred Buffalo Hat is female. In an article in American Indian Art, Father Peter J. Powell writes:  “Together, the Sacred Arrows and the Sacred Buffalo Hat form the two great covenants of the Cheyenne people.”

Through these two bundles Maheo assures continual life and blessings for the people. The people, however, must venerate and care for the bundles.

When the Sacred Buffalo Hat is renewed, those seeking a blessing stand at the edge of the old lodge cover facing the Sacred Mountain to the east. The keeper of the Hat then prays and offers the pipe to Maheo, the Earth, and the four directions. In single file, those wishing a blessing walk across the old cover to the east.

Regarding the two Cheyenne medicine bundles, George Bird Grinnell writes in his book The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Lifeways:  “So long as due reverence was paid to these relics, and the ceremonies were performed which the culture heroes had been taught and had told them must be practiced, the influence of these protective gifts was beneficial and helpful, but failure properly to respect them was certain to be followed by misfortune to the tribe.”

The Cheyenne Migrations

In 1851, the United States government met in treaty council with 8,000 to 12,000 Indians from several Plains tribes at Fort Laramie in present-day Wyoming. One of the tribes attending this council was the Cheyenne. While many Americans assumed that the Cheyenne had always been a Plains tribe, in fact, when Europeans first encountered them in the early 1600s they were living in the woodlands at the mouth of the Wisconsin River in what is now Minnesota. Like the other tribes in this area at this time, the Cheyenne lived in permanent or semi-permanent villages making their living by farming.

Prior to living in Minnesota, Cheyenne oral tradition says that the people lived far to the northeast in what is now Canada. They were not farmers at this time, but lived by fishing, hunting and gathering wild plant foods. According to tradition, they were living by a large body of water. There was, however, a time of great sickness and the people left their homeland and moved south. The Cheyenne call this the “ancient time” when the people were happy but were decimated by a terrible disease leaving the people as orphans.

They next settled in the marshy areas between Ontario and Minnesota and it was here that they learned farming from the other tribes in the area. The Cheyenne call this the “time of the dogs” when dogs were used as beasts of burden.

About 1635, the Cheyenne began their slow migration westward toward the Great Plains. Their migration may have been motivated or initiated in part by the westward expansion of tribes to the east including the Sioux, Iroquois and the Anishinaabe. The many villages that made up the Cheyenne did not move all at one time, but rather they moved piecemeal. Archaeological data suggests that it may have taken two centuries for all of the different groups to migrate west of the Mississippi River and into the Great Plains. By 1700 many of the bands were living in the Sheyenne River Valley in eastern North Dakota. Here they adopted the life-style of the farming tribes in that region which included living in villages made up of semi-subterranean earthlodges. They continued to farm corn, beans, and squash.

In the mid-1700s, the Plains Cree, Plains Ojibwa, and the Assiniboine pushed the Cheyenne farther west. The Cheyenne re-established themselves in the Black Hills area where they acquired the horse and became nomadic buffalo hunters. In the Black Hills, the Cheyenne encountered the Arapaho who had probably moved out of the Minnesota area ahead of them. While the Arapaho had moved into the Black Hills first, they did not view the Cheyenne as intruders, but welcomed them as friends. The two tribes intermarried and became confederated.

Pressure from the Teton Sioux toward the end of the eighteenth century pushed the Cheyenne even farther west. Once again, this migration was carried out piecemeal. By 1800, the Cheyenne still had some villages which were planting corn along the Missouri River. After 1825, the Cheyenne began to divide into a Northern tribe and a Southern tribe. The Southern Cheyenne continued their close association with the Arapaho while the Northern Cheyenne developed a close association with the Sioux.

At Fort Laramie in 1851, the Americans failed to distinguish between the Northern Cheyenne and the Southern Cheyenne. The Americans in their infinite wisdom assumed that there was only one Cheyenne tribe and “awarded” them a reservation in what would become Oklahoma.  The Southern Arapaho were also assigned to this reservation.

The Northern Cheyenne had no intention of moving to a reservation on the Southern Plains so they stayed in the north where they affiliated themselves with the Sioux. However, following the Battle of the Little Bighorn where the Sioux and Cheyenne defeated a surprise attack led by Lt. Colonel George Custer, the Northern Cheyenne were scattered as the Americans attempted to force them to move to the reservation. Finally, in 1882, the government moved the Northern Cheyenne under the leaders Two Moon and White Bull to a small reserve on Rosebud Creek and the Tongue River in Montana. This marked the beginning of the formation of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.

The Bozeman Trail

In 1851, the United States called a treaty council at Fort Laramie, Wyoming which was attended by 8,000 – 12,000 Indians from the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Shoshone, Crow, Assiniboine, Arikara, Gros Ventre, Mandan, and Hidatsa tribes. The purpose of the council and of the resulting treaty was to establish peace between the United States and the tribes, including a promise to protect Indians from European-Americans, and to stop the tribes from making war with one another. At the Fort Laramie Treaty Council, each tribal area was defined.  

The Council ignored the participation of the Shoshone and assigned their northeastern hunting range to the Crow.  As there were no River Crow at the Council, the Mountain Crow version of their geographic rights and hunting areas was used and was assumed by the Americans to be binding to all of the Crow tribes.

The Sioux received the rights to the Black Hills and other lands claimed by the Northern Cheyenne.

Signing the treaty for the Yankton Sioux was Smutty Bear who complained about the destruction of grass and trees by travelers on the Overland Trail and about the subsequent scarcity of game. Smutty Bear’s complaint turned out to be prophetic. Over the next decade more tribes were pushed out onto the Plains where they were supposed to depend on the buffalo for subsistence. At the same time the buffalo herds decreased due to a combination of over-hunting, destruction of grazing by cattle herds and immigrant wagon trains, and the destruction of the environment by the railroads. Consequently, the Sioux had to hunt in lands farther west. The tyranny of the map laid down by the Americans during the Treaty of Fort Laramie was soon obsolete and did not reflect the new reality of the need to find food and clothing.

The United States has always maintained a working policy of transferring potential wealth-minerals, petroleum, timber, good farmlands-from Indians to non-Indians. Thus in 1862, when gold was discovered on Grasshopper Creek in Montana, all treaty agreements about keeping non-Indians out of Indian territory were ignored. Soon the miners were invading Indian territories with the support of the United States government. The gold discovery resulted in heavy traffic along the Montana Trail between Salt Lake City and the gold fields. The Trail passed through Shoshone territory in Utah and Idaho. On the one hand, the Indians resented the new intrusion, but they were also intrigued by the possibilities for plunder of the relatively small and unprotected miners’ parties.

In 1863, American miners and others seeking a faster way to the Montana gold fields created the Bozeman trail. The trail started from the Oregon Trail near present-day Douglas, Wyoming and ran north into Montana. While livestock grazing and water were scarce along this route, it was the fastest way to the gold fields. The Americans were unconcerned that it cut through the buffalo hunting grounds of the Lakota, Arapaho, and Northern Cheyenne. The Indians, however, found this illegal incursion into their prime hunting grounds to be intolerable. In response they began a series of sporadic raids against the American emigrants.

In 1865, the gold fields of Virginia City, Montana were connected with points east through the Niobrara-Virginia City Wagon Road. The road cut through the hunting grounds of the Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes.

That same year, the Sawyers Expedition-a civilian road-building group with military escort-entered the Powder River country in Wyoming. The group of 143 men, including 118 cavalry, reached Pumpkin Buttes near present-day Wright without any Indian opposition. Here they were attacked by a war party of 600 Southern Cheyenne, Northern Cheyenne, and Sioux warriors.

After several hours of fighting, the Indians called for a truce. Dull Knife, Bull Bear, Red Cloud, and Charlie Bent met with the Americans and George Bent acted as interpreter. The Cheyenne explained to the Americans that peace would be possible on only one condition: the hanging of Colonel Chivington, the American leader in the Sand Creek massacre. The Cheyenne felt that they were strong enough to fight the U.S. troops.

Over the objections of the military officer, the civilian leader of the expedition offered the Indians bacon, sugar, coffee, flour, and tobacco in exchange for safe passage. The peace was short-lived as two troops were killed when they wandered out among the Indians.

The 12th Missouri Cavalry and the 2nd Missouri Light Artillery then entered the Powder River Country from Nebraska to wage war against the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho. The cavalry was armed with Spencer repeating carbines which had an effective range of 900 yards. Camped in the area, but unknown to the army, were 1,000 Sioux and Cheyenne lodges with 6,000 people.

After several encounters with Indian war parties in which the army had the advantage of superior fire power, the army decided to turn back and head for Fort Laramie. For several days a running battle was fought with Cheyenne warriors armed with bows, lances, and a few trade guns. Roman Nose, riding a white war horse, rode in front of the troops, demonstrating his bravery and prowess. While his horse was hit, Roman Nose escaped injury and the fight became known as “Roman Nose’s Fight.”

Roman Nose

Roman Nose is shown above.

In 1865, an army force of 558 soldiers and 179 Indians (95 Pawnee and 84 Winnebago and Omaha) set out to attack the Cheyenne, Sioux, and Arapaho in the Powder River area where the Indians were holding their traditional summer ceremonies.

The army encountered an Arapaho village under the leadership of Black Bear and Medicine Man. By the time the army reached the village most of the warriors were mounted on their horses and the women and children had already begun their march to a new camp. For an hour, the army howitzers pounded the village and the Indian scouts killed Arapaho men, women, and children indiscriminately. As the soldiers entered the village to engage in fierce hand-to-hand fighting, the Arapaho women fought beside the men. Many of the Arapaho reached a high point near the village. The army destroyed the Arapaho village and their supplies. Eight Arapaho women and 13 children were captured; 65 Arapaho were killed; 250 lodges burned; and 500 horses captured.  

In 1866, Sioux leader Red Cloud and others met with U.S. officials at Fort Laramie to discuss the Bozeman Trail.  General Sherman provided the Indians with goodwill gifts of gunpowder, lead, and food. The Government asked permission for emigrants to cross Sioux and Cheyenne lands. In addition, General Sheridan sought permission for three forts to be built on the Bozeman Trail connecting the Platte River with Montana’s mines. Red Cloud broke off negotiations because the United States had brought in soldiers to use as a threat of force. In the months that followed, the Oglala and other Sioux tribes engaged in guerrilla war along the Bozeman Trail, making it dangerous to travel.

Red Cloud

Red Cloud is shown above.

The army, under orders to protect the gold seekers, established Fort Reno, Fort Phil Kearny, and Fort C.F. Smith along the Bozeman Trail. The army was determined to make the Bozeman Trail a major thoroughfare to the Montana gold fields. The United States government was reeling under the immense financial strain of the Civil War and saw the Montana gold fields as one answer to the financial problems.

In one battle near Fort Phil Kearny in Wyoming, Captain William J. Fetterman and 80 soldiers were killed by Oglala and Cheyenne warriors. The Cheyenne were under the leadership of Little Horse, a contrary. The soldiers in the fort prepared to blow it up if the Indians broke through their defenses and the message from the fort was

“We are fighting a foe that is the devil.”

Montana Territorial Governor Thomas Meagher wrote in 1866:

“As for the Sioux, and their allies and accomplices, it is my clear and positive conviction that they will never be reduced to friendly and reliable relations with the whites but by the strong and crushing hand of the military power of the nation.”

In Montana, Oglala leader Red Cloud visited the Crow, bringing them gifts of tobacco, horses, and ammunition. The Oglala asked the Crow to join them in their fight against the Americans. The Crow, who had long been Oglala enemies, declined to join them.

A war party of 3,000 Cheyenne, Sioux, and Arapaho warriors was formed to attack the army station on the Platte River Bridge, near present-day Casper, Wyoming. The army station was protected by a wooden stockade and a company of soldiers.

The Cheyenne warriors were led by Dull Knife, White Bull, and Roman Nose. The Sioux warriors were led by Old Man Afraid of His Horses, Young Man Afraid of His Horses, and Red Cloud. A small group of warriors acted as decoys and a detachment of soldiers was sent out to drive them off. Before the ambush trap could be closed, however, the soldiers were ordered back and returned without loss.  

The following morning 25 soldiers were sent out to escort a military wagon train back to the fort. They were attacked and four soldiers killed. The war party then attacked the wagon train, killing over 20 soldiers. At least seven Cheyenne were killed.

From the Indian perspective, these limited attacks were worthwhile as individual warriors accomplished heroic deeds. The war party had attained sufficient glory for one day and the warriors returned home without attacking the army station.

In 1867, the Sioux and Cheyenne continued their battles against the building of the Bozeman Trail. Dull Knife and Two Moon led the Cheyenne against soldiers near Fort C. F. Smith. Red Cloud attacked woodcutters near Fort Phil Kearny. In Montana, a war party of 700 Sioux warriors attacked a group of 19 soldiers and six civilians who were working in a hayfield. The Americans had the advantage of newer and better guns-rapid-firing, breech-loading 50 caliber Springfield rifles and repeating rifles. After several hours of battle, the Sioux withdrew.

In 1867, the Northern Arapaho under the leadership of Medicine Man met with the Americans at Fort Fetterman in an attempt to reestablish peaceful relations. Medicine Man told the Americans that they did not want to be involved in the Sioux and Cheyenne raids, nor did they want to go to the Sioux Reservation or to Indian Territory. He told them that the Arapaho wanted to stay in the north, in Montana and Wyoming.

The war over the Bozeman Trail, also known as Red Cloud’s War, officially ended in 1868 with the Treaty of Fort Laramie which established the Great Sioux Reservation and preserved the Powder River and Big Horn country as un-ceded Indian territory. The reservation, according to article 2, was

“set apart for the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation of the Indians”.

No cession of the reservation would be valid without the signatures of three-fourths of the adult males.

The treaty was signed with 10 Sioux tribes – Brulé, Oglala, Miniconjou, Yanktonai, Hunkpapa, Blackfeet, Cuthead, Two Kettle, Sans Arcs,  Santee- and with the Arapaho.

The Indians were promised that they could continue to use their hunting grounds outside of the reservation for “so long as the buffalo may range thereon in such numbers as to justify the chase.” The American government, however, was confident that the buffalo would soon be exterminated and thus the Sioux would be confined to the reservation.

The Indians promised that they would withdraw all opposition to the construction of railroads; that they would not attack the people of the United States; that they would not capture white women or children; that they would not kill or scalp white men.

From a Sioux perspective, the treaty was a success as it forced the abandonment of the Bozeman Trail through their hunting grounds and the three forts that guarded the trail.

The Arapaho felt that they had little choice but to sign the treaty. They agreed to settle on a reservation within one year: either with the Sioux or with the Cheyenne and Southern Arapaho in Oklahoma or with the Crow in Montana. Signing the treaty for the Arapaho were Black Bear, Medicine Man, Little Wolf, Littleshield, and Sorrel Horse.

Following the treaty council the army abandoned all of its forts except for Fort Fetterman in Wyoming. The Sioux burned all of the abandoned forts. The burning of the forts was a symbol of their victory against the American invasion of their country.

 

The Battle of the Rosebud

The expansion of the American empire westward across the Mississippi River was motivated by greed and supported by God. During the nineteenth century American greed was manifested in an obsession for privately owned land and for gold, silver, and other precious metals. Americans believed that the role of government was to obtain land and mineral rights from the Indian nations that owned them and then give them to entrepreneurs for private exploitation. Many Americans believe that their God has made them a chosen people with dominion over both nature and all pagan nations.  

In 1876, American greed focused on the possibility of great wealth in the form of gold in South Dakota’s Black Hills, an area of great historical and spiritual importance to many Indian tribes, including the Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, and others. Turning a blind eye to U.S. law, international law, and U.S. treaty obligations, the government focused on getting the gold into the hands of non-Indians.

When the Sioux, the tribe declared by the United States to be the owners of the Black Hills, made it clear they did not wish to relinquish this land to the gold seekers, the United States simply declared war on them.  The Sioux must relinquish the Black Hills or starve. Congress passed an act which provided:

“hereafter there shall be no appropriation made for the subsistence of the Sioux, unless they first relinquish their rights to the hunting grounds outside the [1868 treaty] reservation, ceded the Black Hills to the United States, and reached some accommodation with the Government that would be calculated to enable them to become self-supporting.”

Any Indian who hunted in the unceded lands was not able to receive any food or supplies. If an Indian went out to hunt, even if starving, it meant losing all benefits for the rest of the year.

The United States then issued an ultimatum to the Sioux: all of the bands were to report to their agency by January 31 or be considered hostile. The ultimatum was intended to result in war for two basic reasons: (1) moving a band in January was difficult, if not impossible, and (2) most of the bands outside of the agency were unable to get word about the ultimatum.

The army then launched a three-pronged pacification campaign against the “hostiles” who had “refused” to come in. While the prong led by Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer is best known, there was also a campaign from the south led by General George Crook.

Traditional Indian warfare on the Northern Plains, while it involved battles and occasional deaths, was very dissimilar to European warfare. Warfare, according to Sioux writer Charles Eastman, was about courage and honor:

“It was held to develop the quality of manliness and its motive was chivalric or patriotic, but never the desire for territorial aggrandizement or the overthrow of a brother nation.”

The motivation for war was personal gain, not tribal patriotism. Through participation in war an individual gained prestige, honor, and even wealth (as counted in horses.) While it was not uncommon for warriors to kill their enemies in battle, this was not in itself considered to be a particularly noteworthy act of valor. The greatest feat of bravery a warrior (male or female) could perform was to touch the enemy. This was the act of counting coup.

At the headwaters of the Rosebud River in Montana, General Crook’s troops, with 176 Crow and 86 Shoshone allies, encountered an encampment of Cheyenne and Lakota Sioux under the leadership of Crazy Horse and engaged them in a day-long battle. Militarily the battle might be considered a draw as neither side won a decisive victory. Some military historians consider it a strategic defeat for Crook because he was unable to take the offensive and strike a decisive blow at the enemy camp. Chief Runs-the-Enemy said of the battle:

“The general sentiment was that we were victorious in that battle, for the soldiers did not come upon us, but retreated back into Wyoming.”

The Americans sustained casualties of 10 killed and 21 wounded. Crazy Horse later estimated that 39 Lakota were killed and 33 wounded.

From the traditional Indian perspective, there were two particularly important acts of valor in the battle and these two warriors were considered to have gained the greatest war honors.

The Shoshone and Crow shot the horse of Cheyenne Chief Comes in Sight out from under him. As they were closing in to finish him off, Buffalo Calf Robe (aka Calf Trail Woman), the sister of Comes in Sight, rode into the middle of the warriors and saved the life of her brother. Buffalo Calf Robe had ridden into battle that day next to her husband Black Coyote. From  the Cheyenne perspective, a woman warrior achieved the highest war honors that day.

One Crow two-spirit (berdache) put on men’s clothes and distinguished himself in battle against the Lakota. For this he was given the name Osh-Tisch which means “Finds Them and Kills Them.” Thus, from the Crow perspective a two-spirit-a person many people today might consider to be a transvestite-won the greatest war honors.

Battle of the Rosebud

Shown above is an artist’s interpretation of the Battle of the Rosebud.

Bear Butte and the Struggle for Religious Freedom

Bear Butte in South Dakota is a sacred site which is used as a vision quest site for the Sioux, Arapaho and Cheyenne. The Sioux describe Bear Butte as their most sacred altar. The Seven Sacred Rites of the Sioux were learned at the top of this mesa.

View from Bear Butte

The view from Bear Butte is shown above.  

For the Cheyenne, Bear Butte is known as Sacred Mountain and is the place where Maheo (the Supreme Being) gave their cultural hero, Sweet Medicine, the four Sacred Arrows, which allowed them access to Maheo’s power. The Cheyenne call this place Noahavose (also spelled Nowah’wus which means “The Hills Where the People are Taught”). On their historic migration to the Plains under the leadership of Sweet Medicine, a great door opened in Noahavose. Sweet Medicine was called inside by Maheo (the All Being). For four years Sweet Medicine remained in this lodge within and was instructed in the codes of law and behavior. Before returning to his people, Sweet Medicine was then given four sacred arrows. Thus, this is the holiest site in the Cheyenne world.

The Sioux Vision Quest:

Bear Butte is an important site for the Sioux vision quest, known as hamblecha. During the vision quest, the seeker finds a solitary place on Bear Butte to sing and pray out loud. Vision quest supporters wait below and sing songs and pray. Instruction and preparation for hamblecha can take a full year and may include a four-year commitment to the teacher with an expectation to repeat the quest on each of four years. At one time, those seeking the vision would stake themselves to a single place by placing a hardwood skewer under the skin of the chest and attaching a leather thong between this skewer and a stake in the ground.

Prior to the vision quest, the seeker goes through a sweat lodge ceremony in order to cast off all human fleshly influences. With regard to the completion of the vision quest, Sioux physician Charles Eastman wrote:

“When he returned to the camp, he must remain at a distance until he had again entered the sweat lodge and prepared himself for intercourse with his fellows. Of the vision or sign vouchsafed to him he did not speak, unless it had included some commission which must be publicly fulfilled.”

In most visions, animals or birds appear and there is a correlation between the animal or bird and the type of power, knowledge or skill.

Among the Sioux, both men and women are able to receive power through a vision. Those who receive the strongest powers become medicine people or shamans.

Twentieth Century:

In 1962, Bear Butte was acquired by the State of South Dakota for development as a State Park. As a State Park it was to have a visitor’s center, campgrounds, and parking lots. Tourists were to be given maps to its trails and provided with viewing platforms and signs that indicated where Indians could be spotted fasting. Instead of understanding the vision quest as a religious ceremony, the tourists would view it the same way that they viewed the powwows: once again the Indians would be on display.

Bear Butte Sign

During a vision quest at Bear Butte in 1965 Sioux spiritual leader Frank Fools Crow was told in his vision that he was to tell certain things about himself and his people. The result was the 1979 book Fools Crow edited by Thomas Mails.

In 1973, Bear Butte was listed as a National Historical Place. In 1981 Bear Butte was listed as a National Historical Landmark.

In 1982, a group of traditional Sioux spiritual leaders, including Frank Fools Crow, filed suit against the South Dakota State Parks Department. In the case of Fools Crow versus Gullet, the Sioux traditionalists argued that the South Dakota State Parks Department had destroyed the sanctity of Indian religious ceremonies at Bear Butte. They argued that the state’s construction of access roads, parking lots, and other facilities, including wood platforms to allow tourists to photograph sacred ceremonies, interfered with their free exercise of religion. The courts, however, found that granting Indian rights would violate separation of church and state. With regard to the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978, the courts noted that it was unclear if the Act governs state governments or agencies. The court agreed that Bear Butte was vital to the exercise of Lakota and Cheyenne religion. However, it rejected the argument that the state’s management of the site interfered with the free exercise of their religion. The decision was upheld by the Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

In 1982, the manager of Bear Butte State Park sent out a notice to Sioux and Cheyenne leaders informing them that they could no longer gather sage, hackberry or wild rose within the park. Furthermore, there could be no sweat lodges held while the parking lot was being expanded and the new access roads were being paved. Finally, all Indians would have to purchase five-day permits in order to fast and pray at this sacred site.

A 1996 fire on Bear Butte burned more than 800 acres of timber and grass. Some traditional spiritual leaders felt that the fire was a cleansing of the misuse of this sacred area. This misuse included complaints about non-Indians attempting to do ceremonies they know nothing about; the removal of tobacco ties and flags by Indians because of concerns that they would be touched and/or taken by non-Indians; and by some incidents of drunkenness and nudity.

The federal government extended cultural property designation status to Bear Butte in 1997. This designation not only highlights the historic and cultural associations of Bear Butte with the Plains Indians, but it also provides some protection to the site and provides guidelines to preserve it.

In 2003, a shooting range was proposed near Bear Butte. The complex was to be built with a federal grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Instead of contacting the tribes, the builders notified the state Office of Tribal Government Relations of their plans. Indian officials pointed out that this office did not speak for all of the 17 tribes which use Bear Butte for ceremonies. Indian spiritual leaders pointed out that the estimated 10,000 rounds per day being fired from rifles and handguns would affect the silence and serenity of the people who come to Bear Butte to pray and seek spiritual guidance. The state of South Dakota cancelled the $511,200 in federal grant money.

In 2004, Northern Cheyenne tribal councilman Alberta Fisher and councilman Jace Killsback purchased a 160-acre campground at the base of Noavose (Bear Butte). The Cheyenne Land Authority constructed camping structures, shades, and outhouses for use by tribal members during ceremonies.

In 2006, Alex White Plume, the President of the Olgala Lakota Nation, wrote to President George W. Bush regarding the Lakota’s sacred site at Bear Butte:

“Indian peoples’ ability to survive into the future depends largely on our ability to maintain, protect and promote our traditional and cultural beliefs, which includes our ability to practice our spiritual beliefs in privacy and without disruption. This is not merely a cultural and spiritual concern; it is a matter of human rights that exist in international law.”

The President did not respond.

In 2011, the State Board of Minerals and Environment ruled that Nakota Energy could drill exploratory oil wells near Bear Butte. The company was to be allowed to drill five wells outside of the boundaries of the Bear Butte National Historic Landmark. The company did not initially consult with the tribes as the proposed oil field is on private land. However, about one-third of the original proposed drilling area is within the boundaries of the state park. In response to Indian complaints, the Board of Minerals and Environment agreed to limit the number of wells and to require that they be drilled outside the boundary of the National Historic Site.

Oil Map

In 2011, the National Trust for Historic Preservation included Bear Butte on its list of Most Endangered Places. The site was listed as endangered because of proposed wind and oil energy development. It is felt that this energy development would negatively impact the sacred site and degrade the cultural landscape.

In 2011, the South Dakota State Legislature voted to revise the procedure for reissuing certain alcoholic beverage licenses. While the tribes have opposed any licenses for venues surrounding Bear Butte, the new legislation means that liquor license renewal hearings will no longer be held.

At the present time, there are three tribes with a vested interest in Bear Butte, in that they own property and pay property taxes: The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe own 1,080 acres on the east side of the mountain; the Rosebud Sioux Tribe owns 40 acres on the north side; and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe owns 40 acres on the west side, 160 acres on the north side, and 440 acres on the northeast side.

According to the State Park website:

In most religions, specific areas or sites hold great spiritual significance. Bear Butte is such a place.

Many Native Americans see the mountain as a place where the creator has chosen to communicate with them through visions and prayer.

During your visit, you will see colorful pieces of cloth and small bundles or pouches hanging from the trees. These prayer cloths and tobacco ties represent the prayers offered by individuals during their worship. Please respect these offerings and leave them undisturbed.

Source: http://black-hills-south-dakot…

Bear Butte Banner

143rd Anniversary of the Washita Massacre of Nov. 27, 1868

The intent to commit genocide at Washita is hidden in plain view, unless key elements are brought together. These are: that the Cheyenne were placed on land where they would starve while promises to avert starvation were broken; that George Bent observed how Civil War soldiers did not harm white women and children by a “code of honor,” while Indian women and children were slaughtered; that Sheridan declared “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead;” and that the War Department did not differentiate between peaceful and warring Indians. Hence, the orders “to kill or hang all warriors.” As the consequence, the intent was to kill all men
of a specific race.

We’ll begin with Custer prior to the Washita Massacre along with the fact that the Cheyenne were forced onto land wherein they would starve.

Part 1: The Intent to Commit Genocide

Custer’s tactical errors of rushing ahead of the established military plans and dividing his troops are well known.


Source

On the verge of what seemed to him a certain and glorious victory for both the United States and himself, Custer ordered an immediate attack on the Indian village.

Contemptuous of Indian military prowess, he split his forces into three parts to ensure that fewer Indians would escape. The attack was one the greatest fiascos of the United States Army, as thousands of Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors forced Custer’s unit back onto a long, dusty ridge parallel to the Little Bighorn, surrounded them, and killed all 210 of them.

Yet, what enabled him to get back “on the course” after his court martial in 1867 and his being relieved by President Ulysses S. Grant temporarily in 1876?

The answers to that question are deception, wisely having prevented Washita from being labeled a massacre by halting the slaying of women and children at Washita; thus, sidestepping a full investigation as Sand Creek was (my speculation), and more lies.

Forcing and binding those Native Nations onto land where they could not survive by hunting or agriculture, breaking promises to provide those survival means, and propaganda revolving around the Kansas Raids reset Custer “on the course.” Moxtaveto (Black Kettle) was innocent.

What about the Dog Soldiers, weren’t they somehow to blame? An old Indian joke goes, “When the whites win, it’s a victory; when the Indians win, it’s a massacre.” Let’s look at what occurred amongst the Chiefs after the Sand Creek Massacre and prior to the Kansas Raids to find some answers, in between the “victories” and the “massacres.”

(Bold mine)


http://books.google.com/books?…

And so, when the Chiefs gathered to decide what the people should do, Black Kettle took his usual place among them. Everyone agreed Sand Creek must be avenged. But there were questions. Why had the soldiers attacked with such viciousness? Why had they killed and mutilated women and children?
It seemed that the conflict with the whites had somehow changed. No longer was it just a war over land and buffalo. Now, the soldiers were destroying everything Cheyenne – the land, the buffalo, and the people themselves.

Why? George thought he knew. He had lived among the whites and had fought in their war. He knew their greed for land and possessions – Their appetite for these things was boundless. But they also obeyed rules of warfare peculiar to them. They waged war on men, and only on recognized fields of battle. In the great life-and-death struggle between North and South even then raging in the East, prisoners were routinely paroled and released or held in guarded camps, where they were fed and cared for. And the whites never warred on women and children who were protected by law and by an unshakable code of honor –

Still Black Kettle counseled peace. A war with the whites, he said, could not be won. The newcomers were too numerous, their weapons too strong. Besides, they had the ability to fight in winter when Cheyenne horses were weak and food was scarce… For Black Kettle, Cheyenne survival depended on peace. War could only bring more Sand Creeks, more deaths, more sorrow – One by one the council Chiefs smoked the red stone war pipe, each recognizing the importance of his decision. When the pipe reached Black Kettle, he passed it on, refusing to smoke. But the others took it up, indicating they would fight.

Hence, the Kansas “Raids” were the only means left available to keep what was promised to them: the ability to survive. The land “given” to them was neither harvestable nor huntable. Those “raids” were the last resort of self defense for survival.

The Last Indian Raid in Kansas


Source

Black Kettle miraculously escaped harm at the Sand Creek Massacre, even when he returned to rescue his seriously injured wife. And perhaps more miraculously, he continued to counsel peace when the Cheyenne attempted to strike back with isolated raids on wagon trains and nearby ranches.
By October 1865, he and other Indian leaders had arranged an uneasy truce on the plains, signing a new treaty that exchanged the Sand Creek reservation for reservations in southwestern Kansas but deprived the Cheyenne of access to most of their coveted Kansas hunting grounds.

Furthermore, General Sheridan never had any intention of peaceful relations with Black Kettle whatsoever.

(Bold mine)


Dee Brown. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.” P. 169.

In his official report over the “savage butchers” and “savage bands of cruel marauders,” General Sheridan rejoiced that he had “wiped out Black Kettle, a worn – out and worthless old cipher.”

He then stated that he had promised Black Kettle sanctuary if he would come into a fort before military operations began. “He refused,” Sheridan lied, “and was killed in the fight.”

In fact, it is owed to General Sheridan himself the “American aphorism,” “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” It started as “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.”

Whether or not Black Kettle strove for peace or the Dog Soldiers fought, they were all as “good as dead.”  The extermination policy set Custer “on the course” to Washita.

(Bold mine)


Source

Given the War Department’s mandate that all Cheyennes were guilty for the sins of the few in regard to the Kansas raids, there is no question that Custer succeeded in this pur­pose by attacking Black Kettle’s village. His instructions from his supe­riors had been “to destroy their villages and ponies; to kill or hang all warriors, and bring back all women and children.”

Part 2: The Approaching Genocide at Washita

Custer was pursuing the snow tracks of Dog Soldiers that would eventually lead to Black Kettle’s village on Thanksgiving Day in a cruel irony. The cruelest irony however, was that Black Kettle and his wife would be slain nearly four years to the day that they both escaped Chivington at the Sand Creek Massacre. Black Kettle’s honesty concerning young men in his village he could not control was of no avail. He and his village were going to be “punished” and broken beyond any immediate or distant recovery.

John Corbin, the messenger from Major Elliot, rode up and informed Custer of two large Indian snow tracks. One was recent. Preparations were then made to pursue the “savages” as covertly as possible. Smoking ceased and weapons were bound to prevent visual or aural detection. In addition, the 7th whispered and paused frequently as they rode slowly towards the future tracks that would lead to Black Kettle’s village. Simultaneously, Black Kettle received dire warnings that he and the others ignored. A Kiowa war party gave the first warning of having seen soldier’s tracks that were heading their direction. It was discounted. Black Kettle’s wife, Medicine Woman, gave another warning that night before the 7th’s arrival of an intuitive nature during the meeting in the Peace Chief’s lodge by firelight. She begged them to move immediately. It too was dismissed. They would move the next day, instead.

Black Kettle had already moved their camp recently, which the returning war party that had helped in the Kansas Raids learned upon their returning. November 25th found this war party dividing into two different directions in order to reach their destinations the quickest. Approximately 139 of them traveled to the big village on the river, while about 11 of them led Custer straight to Black Kettle. A bell around one dog’s neck enabled all the dogs to be located easily by the tribe, and after a Cheyenne baby cried, Custer pinpointed their exact location. He coordinated the attack to begin at dawn from four fronts.

Thompson’s troops would attack to the North East, Myer’s and Custer’s troops positioned to attack to the East and South East, while Elliot would attack to the South.

Custer knew their mobility was greatly hampered in winter time; consequently, that was an important element in the “campaign.”

Part 3: The Genocide At Washita

The sensory components of the genocide at Washita in now Cheyenne, Oklahoma must be held in mind in order to capture the entire breadth of it. These are sound, smell, and sight. For example, the shrill crying of the noncombatant Cheyenne women and children, and the yelling of the charging 7th Calvary with their knives and guns would have been beyond deafening. And the fog with gunpowder smoke must have been worse than any nightmare, while the red blood – stained snow and the smell of death permeated the ground and air.


The Death & Vision of Moxtaveto ( Black Kettle)

A woman dashed into the village to warn Black Kettle of the coming troopers; he hastily snatched his rifle from his lodge and fired a warning shot for all to awaken and flee. If he had attempted to meet the soldiers and ask for peaceful negotiations, that would have been useless; as a result, he then mounted his horse with his wife, Woman Here After, and tried to escape through the North direction. His horse was shot in the leg before bullets knocked him and his wife off the horse and into the Washita River, where they both died together.


Source

“Both the chief and his wife fell at the river bank riddled with bullets,” one witness reported, “the soldiers rode right over Black Kettle and his wife and their horse as they lay dead on the ground, and their bodies were all splashed with mud by the charging soldiers.” Custer later reported that an Osage guide took Black Kettle’s scalp.


Stan Hiog. “The Peace Chiefs Of The Cheyenne.” p. 174

Moving Behind, a Cheyenne Woman, later stated: “There was a sharp curve in the river where an old road – crossing used to be. Indian men used to go there to water their ponies. Here we saw the bodies of Black Kettle and his wife, lying under the water. The horse they had ridden lay dead beside them. We observed that they had tried to escape across the river when they were shot.”

Location of  Black Kettle’s death:


Photobucket

Warriors, eleven who died, rushed out of their lodges with inferior firepower to defend the village. Simultaneously, the overall noncombatants ran for their lives into the freezing Washita River.

Washita River 1868

(Taken with permission)

The words of Ben Clark, Custer’s chief of scouts, brought the truth out after Custer distributed propaganda about one white woman and two white boys as having been hostages in Black Kettle’s village. There were no “hostages, a Cheyenne woman committed suicide. Speculating, here is why.

She didn’t want her son mutilated by Custer or a 7th Calvary soldier; she didn’t want her vagina ripped out and put on a stick, worn, or made into a tobacco pouch. So, she killed her son and herself first.


Jerome A. Greene. Washita. Chap.7. pp. 130-131

There, as the people fell at the hands of the troopers, one woman, in a helpless rage, stood up with her baby, held it out in an outstretched arm, and with the other drew a knife and fatally stabbed the infant – erroneously believed by the soldiers to be a white child. She then plunged the blade into her own chest in suicide.

The 7th hunted them down and murdered them. Although the orders were to “hang all warriors;” it was much more convenient to shoot them. All wounded Cheyenne were shot where they laid.

Osage scouts mutilated women and children. They did a “roundup” of their own by using tree limbs to herd the defenseless Cheyenne women and children back to the village, where the mutilations could continue. Custer halted the slaying of women and children at one point, but he raped them later in captivity.

One Osage scout beheaded a Cheyenne.


Jerome A. Greene. Washita. Chap.7. pp120

They (Osages) “shot down the women and mutilated their bodies, cutting off their arms, legs and breasts with knives.”

The 7th captured the Cheyenne and started bonfires. They burned the 51 lodges to the ground. Winter clothing that was depended upon for winter survival was incinerated in the flames, as was food supplies. Weapons and all lodge contents were burned also, including any sacred items.

Finally, 875 horses were shot, thus stripping away their last means of survival and independence.


Dee Brown. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.” P.170

Late in December the survivors of Black Kettle’s band began arriving at Fort Cobb –

Little Robe was now the nominal leader of the tribe, and was taken to see Sheridan he told the bearlike soldier chief that his people were starving – they had eaten all their dogs.

Sheridan replied that the Cheyennes would be fed if they all came into Fort Cobb and surrendered unconditionally. “You cannot make peace now and commence killing whites again in the spring.” Sheridan added, “If you are not willing to make a complete peace, you can go back and we will fight this thing out.”

Little Robe knew there was but one answer he could give.

“It is for you to say what we have to do,” he said.



American Holocaust

(It is worth noting also that the Fuhrer from time to time expressed admiration for the “efficiency” of the American genocide campaign against the Indians, viewing it as a forerunner for his own plans and programs.)

The Cheyenne women were “transported” by an officer named Romero to the other officers once they were prisoners at Fort Cobb.

Rape.

Custer “enjoyed one” every evening in the privacy of his tent. Presumably, he stopped raping the Cheyenne women when his wife arrived.


Source

Custer’s wife, Elizabeth (Bacon), whom he married in 1864, lived to the age of ninety-one. The couple had no children. She was devoted to his memory, wrote three books about him, and when she died in 1933 was buried beside him at West Point. Her Tenting on the Plains (1887) presents a charming picture of their stay in Texas. Custer’s headquarters building in Austin, the Blind Asylum, located on the “Little Campus” of the University of Texas, has been restored.


Jerome A. Greene. “Washita.” Chap. 8, p.169.

Ben Clack told Walter M. Camp: many of the squaws captured at Washita were used by the officers…Romero was put in charge of them and on the march Romero would send squaws around to the officers’ tents every night. [Clark] says Custer picked out a fine looking one and had her in his tent every night.”

This statement is more or less confirmed by Frederick Benteen, who in 1896 asserted that Custer selected Monahseetah/Meotzi from among the women prisoners and cohabited with her “during the winter and spring of 1868 and ’69” until his wife arrived in the summer of 1869. Although Benteen’s assertions regarding Custer are not always to be trusted, his statements nonetheless conform entirely to those of the reliable Ben Clark and thus cannot be ignored.”

Further information regarding accurate numbers of deaths, captives and list of names are in Jerome A. Greene’s wonderful book, “Washita.”


Source

We have been traveling through a cloud. The sky has been dark ever since the war began.

Black Kettle

Native Voices: Black Kettle


I did imagine hearing crying voices when I went to the site of the Washita Massacre and before writing Moxtaveto’s (Black Kettle’s) Extermination on November 27, 1868 & a Request. The elders say it’s haunted, like they said they could hear children cry at the Sand Creek Massacre.

To end this, I will quote former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell from the dedication of the Sand Creek Massacre, “If there were any savages that day, it was not the Indian people.”

Cheyenne Medicine Bundles

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Among the Cheyenne there are two sacred medicine bundles: The Sacred Arrows (Maahotse) and the Sacred Buffalo Hat (Esevone). The spiritual power of these bundles could be tapped ceremonially to help the tribe prosper. As long as the ceremonies were performed as taught by the culture heroes, the tribe would be protected and would prosper. Failure to respect the bundles would be followed by misfortune to the tribe.  

The Sacred Arrows:

The Sacred Arrows are living things and are the holiest of the Cheyenne tribal possessions. They were originally given to the prophet Sweet Medicine by Maheo (the Creator) in a holy cave within the sacred mountain (Novavose or Bear Butte). Sweet Medicine’s gift to the Cheyenne was the Sacred Arrows by which the Cheyenne were able to grow in wisdom. It is through the Sacred Arrows that Maheo pours his life into the lives of the Cheyenne people. Through the Sacred Arrows, the Cheyenne people maintain their unity with Maheo. It is only through the Sacred Arrows that the Cheyenne are a tribe in a spiritual sense.

The Massaum Ceremony is an ancient Cheyenne ceremony which was given to the people by Sweet Medicine who first performed it at Bear Butte. The five-day ceremony re-enacts the creation of the world. During this ceremony, the Sacred Arrows are cleansed and all creation is renewed.

The Sacred Arrows are symbols of male power. Women do not look at them when they are exposed to veneration. Even today, women will excuse themselves from the presence of men who are speaking about the Sacred Arrows.

In 1830, White Thunder led the Cheyenne in a raid against the Pawnee in Nebraska. Riding next to him was his wife who carried the Sacred Arrow bundle on her back. Four Cheyenne scouts encountered the Pawnee and were killed. The Cheyenne warriors were now impatient for revenge and pushed for a day and a night toward the Pawnee village. When some Pawnee rode near the Cheyenne, the Cheyenne warriors hastily charged. The charge occurred so swiftly that White Thunder had no opportunity to hold the blinding ceremonies with the Sacred Arrows. The Cheyenne thus rode into battle without the spiritual protection of the Sacred Arrows.

White Thunder quickly tied the Sacred Arrow bundle to the lance of Bull, a warrior-priest. This was done in haste, without separating the four arrows into two pairs.

A sick Pawnee warrior had decided that this was a good day to die and was carried by friends out in the field of battle to die a noble death. He was struck with numerous Cheyenne lances and coup sticks. As Bull rode by the wounded Pawnee warrior, the Pawnee managed to grab the lance with the Sacred Arrows and wrench it free. While the Cheyenne managed to kill the Pawnee warrior, the Sacred Arrows were captured. The Pawnee chief Big Eagle, holding the lance with the Sacred Arrows still attached, charged the Cheyenne and the Cheyenne warriors fled.

In 1835, Cheyenne spiritual leader White Thunder and his wife Old Bark travelled to the Pawnee village of Big Eagle. They begged Big Eagle to return the Sacred Arrows bundle to the Cheyenne. Big Eagle returned one of the four arrows-the Buffalo Arrow. Big Eagle and other Pawnee warriors returned with White Thunder to the Cheyenne camp near Bent’s Fort where the Cheyenne gave them more than 100 horses. Big Eagle, however, did not return any more arrows.

In 1843, Lakota warriors returned home to South Dakota with one of the Cheyenne Sacred Arrows which had been captured by the Pawnee. The Sacred Arrow was then returned to the Cheyenne in exchange for 100 horses.

Two new arrows were eventually made and the bundle continues to be an important part of Cheyenne spiritual life.

Sacred Buffalo Hat:

In historic times the Cheyenne were composed of two tribes: the Cheyenne (Tsistista) and the Sutai. The Sacred Buffalo Hat is generally associated with the Sutai who became incorporated into the Cheyenne in the late 18th century. The second Cheyenne bundle is the Sacred Buffalo Hat (Esevone) which was a gift from Maheo to the Sutai prophet Erect Horns (Tomsivi). The power of the Sacred Buffalo Hat is female. The Sacred Buffalo Hat and the Sacred Arrows together form the two great covenants of the Cheyenne people. Through these two bundles Maheo assures continual life and blessings for the people. The people, however, must venerate and care for the bundles.

When the Sacred Buffalo Hat is renewed, those seeking a blessing stand at the edge of the old lodge cover facing the Sacred Mountain to the east. The keeper of the Hat then prays and offers the pipe to Maheo, the Earth, and the four directions. In single file, those wishing a blessing walk across the old cover to the east.    

Cheyenne Migrations

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The Cheyenne oral tradition tells of a time when the people were living in what is now Northeastern Canada. They had a way of life which centered around hunting wild game and gathering wild plant foods. Disease prompted them to leave their homeland and move south into the marshy areas between Ontario and Minnesota.

The Cheyenne oral history goes on to tell of a time when the people were a fishing people who lived in a marshy area near a large body of water. Next they became villagers living in earth lodges, planting corn, and hunting without horses. Then, they migrated westward and received the buffalo from the Sacred Mountain (Bear Butte). The Cheyenne divide their history into four parts: (1) “ancient time” when the people were happy but were decimated by a terrible disease leaving the people as orphans; (2) “time of the dogs” when the dogs were used as beasts of burden; (3) “time of the buffalo” when the people moved beyond the Missouri River and began to hunt buffalo; and (4) “the time of the horse.

At the time of first contact with the Europeans, in 1680, the Cheyenne were living at the mouth of the Wisconsin River. Here they established trading relations with the French. The French called them Chaa, which was most likely a corruption of the Dakota (Sioux) word Sha-Hi-Ya-Na, which means “people of the alien speech.”

The Cheyenne later moved west to the Minnesota River valley because of Sioux expansion. By 1700 they were in the Sheyenne River Valley in eastern North Dakota. Here they lived in earthlodge villages and farmed corn, beans, and squash in a manner similar to the tribes of the Missouri River (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara). Archaeological records show that the Cheyenne were occupying the Biesterfeldt site in southeastern North Dakota by 1750.

At about that time, the several bands of the Cheyenne came together to form the Council of Forty-Four, one of the most formal governmental systems on the Plains.

In the mid-1700s, the Plains Cree, Plains Ojibwa, and the Assiniboine pushed them farther west. The Cheyenne established themselves in the Black Hills area where they acquired the horse and began to become buffalo hunters. In the Black Hills, the Cheyenne encountered the Arapaho who had probably moved out of the Minnesota area ahead of them. The Arapaho accepted the Cheyenne intruders as friends and the two peoples became confederated.

By 1700, the pressure from the Algonquian-speaking tribes was also pushing the Sioux out of Minnesota and out onto the Great Plains. Pressure from the Teton Sioux, in turn, soon pushed the Cheyenne even farther west.

As they moved out onto the Plains, the Cheyenne underwent more cultural changes. Since they had been in close contact with the Mandan and the Hidatsa, they came to incorporate elements from these cultures into their ceremonial complex. This included borrowing parts of the Mandan Okipa ceremony as a part of the Sun Dance.

As late as 1800, the Cheyenne still had some villages which were planting corn along the Missouri River. After 1825, the Cheyenne began to divide into a Northern tribe and a Southern tribe. The Southern Cheyenne, closely allied with the Arapaho, began to migrate south into Colorado. The Northern Cheyenne continued to hunt on the Plains of Montana and became allied with the Sioux.  

142nd Anniversary of the Washita Massacre of Nov. 27, 1868

( – promoted by navajo)

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The intent to commit genocide at Washita is hidden in plain view, unless key elements are brought together. These are: that the Cheyenne were placed on land where they would starve while promises to avert starvation were broken; that George Bent observed how Civil War soldiers did not harm white women and children by a “code of honor,” while Indian women and children were slaughtered; that Sheridan declared “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead;” and that the War Department did not differentiate between peaceful and warring Indians. Hence, the orders “to kill or hang all warriors.” As the consequence, the intent was to kill all men
of a specific race.

We’ll begin with Custer prior to the Washita Massacre along with the fact that the Cheyenne were forced onto land wherein they would starve.

Part 1: The Intent to Commit Genocide

Custer’s tactical errors of rushing ahead of the established military plans and dividing his troops are well known.


Source

On the verge of what seemed to him a certain and glorious victory for both the United States and himself, Custer ordered an immediate attack on the Indian village.

Contemptuous of Indian military prowess, he split his forces into three parts to ensure that fewer Indians would escape. The attack was one the greatest fiascos of the United States Army, as thousands of Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors forced Custer’s unit back onto a long, dusty ridge parallel to the Little Bighorn, surrounded them, and killed all 210 of them.

Yet, what enabled him to get back “on the course” after his court martial in 1867 and his being relieved by President Ulysses S. Grant temporarily in 1876?

The answers to that question are deception, wisely having prevented Washita from being labeled a massacre by halting the slaying of women and children at Washita; thus, sidestepping a full investigation as Sand Creek was (my speculation), and more lies.

Forcing and binding those Native Nations onto land where they could not survive by hunting or agriculture, breaking promises to provide those survival means, and propaganda revolving around the Kansas Raids reset Custer “on the course.” Moxtaveto (Black Kettle) was innocent.

What about the Dog Soldiers, weren’t they somehow to blame? An old Indian joke goes, “When the whites win, it’s a victory; when the Indians win, it’s a massacre.” Let’s look at what occurred amongst the Chiefs after the Sand Creek Massacre and prior to the Kansas Raids to find some answers, in between the “victories” and the “massacres.”

(Bold mine)


http://books.google.com/books?…

And so, when the Chiefs gathered to decide what the people should do, Black Kettle took his usual place among them. Everyone agreed Sand Creek must be avenged. But there were questions. Why had the soldiers attacked with such viciousness? Why had they killed and mutilated women and children?
It seemed that the conflict with the whites had somehow changed. No longer was it just a war over land and buffalo. Now, the soldiers were destroying everything Cheyenne – the land, the buffalo, and the people themselves.

Why? George thought he knew. He had lived among the whites and had fought in their war. He knew their greed for land and possessions – Their appetite for these things was boundless. But they also obeyed rules of warfare peculiar to them. They waged war on men, and only on recognized fields of battle. In the great life-and-death struggle between North and South even then raging in the East, prisoners were routinely paroled and released or held in guarded camps, where they were fed and cared for. And the whites never warred on women and children who were protected by law and by an unshakable code of honor –

Still Black Kettle counseled peace. A war with the whites, he said, could not be won. The newcomers were too numerous, their weapons too strong. Besides, they had the ability to fight in winter when Cheyenne horses were weak and food was scarce… For Black Kettle, Cheyenne survival depended on peace. War could only bring more Sand Creeks, more deaths, more sorrow – One by one the council Chiefs smoked the red stone war pipe, each recognizing the importance of his decision. When the pipe reached Black Kettle, he passed it on, refusing to smoke. But the others took it up, indicating they would fight.

Hence, the Kansas “Raids” were the only means left available to keep what was promised to them: the ability to survive. The land “given” to them was neither harvestable nor huntable. Those “raids” were the last resort of self defense for survival.

The Last Indian Raid in Kansas


Source

Black Kettle miraculously escaped harm at the Sand Creek Massacre, even when he returned to rescue his seriously injured wife. And perhaps more miraculously, he continued to counsel peace when the Cheyenne attempted to strike back with isolated raids on wagon trains and nearby ranches.
By October 1865, he and other Indian leaders had arranged an uneasy truce on the plains, signing a new treaty that exchanged the Sand Creek reservation for reservations in southwestern Kansas but deprived the Cheyenne of access to most of their coveted Kansas hunting grounds.

Furthermore, General Sheridan never had any intention of peaceful relations with Black Kettle whatsoever.

(Bold mine)


Dee Brown. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.” P. 169.

In his official report over the “savage butchers” and “savage bands of cruel marauders,” General Sheridan rejoiced that he had “wiped out Black Kettle, a worn – out and worthless old cipher.”

He then stated that he had promised Black Kettle sanctuary if he would come into a fort before military operations began. “He refused,” Sheridan lied, “and was killed in the fight.”

In fact, it is owed to General Sheridan himself the “American aphorism,” “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” It started as “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.”

Whether or not Black Kettle strove for peace or the Dog Soldiers fought, they were all as “good as dead.”  The extermination policy set Custer “on the course” to Washita.

(Bold mine)


Source

Given the War Department’s mandate that all Cheyennes were guilty for the sins of the few in regard to the Kansas raids, there is no question that Custer succeeded in this pur­pose by attacking Black Kettle’s village. His instructions from his supe­riors had been “to destroy their villages and ponies; to kill or hang all warriors, and bring back all women and children.”

Part 2: The Approaching Genocide at Washita

Custer was pursuing the snow tracks of Dog Soldiers that would eventually lead to Black Kettle’s village on Thanksgiving Day in a cruel irony. The cruelest irony however, was that Black Kettle and his wife would be slain nearly four years to the day that they both escaped Chivington at the Sand Creek Massacre. Black Kettle’s honesty concerning young men in his village he could not control was of no avail. He and his village were going to be “punished” and broken beyond any immediate or distant recovery.

John Corbin, the messenger from Major Elliot, rode up and informed Custer of two large Indian snow tracks. One was recent. Preparations were then made to pursue the “savages” as covertly as possible. Smoking ceased and weapons were bound to prevent visual or aural detection. In addition, the 7th whispered and paused frequently as they rode slowly towards the future tracks that would lead to Black Kettle’s village. Simultaneously, Black Kettle received dire warnings that he and the others ignored. A Kiowa war party gave the first warning of having seen soldier’s tracks that were heading their direction. It was discounted. Black Kettle’s wife, Medicine Woman, gave another warning that night before the 7th’s arrival of an intuitive nature during the meeting in the Peace Chief’s lodge by firelight. She begged them to move immediately. It too was dismissed. They would move the next day, instead.

Black Kettle had already moved their camp recently, which the returning war party that had helped in the Kansas Raids learned upon their returning. November 25th found this war party dividing into two different directions in order to reach their destinations the quickest. Approximately 139 of them traveled to the big village on the river, while about 11 of them led Custer straight to Black Kettle. A bell around one dog’s neck enabled all the dogs to be located easily by the tribe, and after a Cheyenne baby cried, Custer pinpointed their exact location. He coordinated the attack to begin at dawn from four fronts.

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Thompson’s troops would attack to the North East, Myer’s and Custer’s troops positioned to attack to the East and South East, while Elliot would attack to the South.

Custer knew their mobility was greatly hampered in winter time; consequently, that was an important element in the “campaign.”

Part 3: The Genocide At Washita

The sensory components of the genocide at Washita in now Cheyenne, Oklahoma must be held in mind in order to capture the entire breadth of it. These are sound, smell, and sight. For example, the shrill crying of the noncombatant Cheyenne women and children, and the yelling of the charging 7th Calvary with their knives and guns would have been beyond deafening. And the fog with gunpowder smoke must have been worse than any nightmare, while the red blood – stained snow and the smell of death permeated the ground and air.


The Death & Vision of Moxtaveto ( Black Kettle)

A woman dashed into the village to warn Black Kettle of the coming troopers; he hastily snatched his rifle from his lodge and fired a warning shot for all to awaken and flee. If he had attempted to meet the soldiers and ask for peaceful negotiations, that would have been useless; as a result, he then mounted his horse with his wife, Woman Here After, and tried to escape through the North direction. His horse was shot in the leg before bullets knocked him and his wife off the horse and into the Washita River, where they both died together.


Source

“Both the chief and his wife fell at the river bank riddled with bullets,” one witness reported, “the soldiers rode right over Black Kettle and his wife and their horse as they lay dead on the ground, and their bodies were all splashed with mud by the charging soldiers.” Custer later reported that an Osage guide took Black Kettle’s scalp.


Stan Hiog. “The Peace Chiefs Of The Cheyenne.” p. 174

Moving Behind, a Cheyenne Woman, later stated: “There was a sharp curve in the river where an old road – crossing used to be. Indian men used to go there to water their ponies. Here we saw the bodies of Black Kettle and his wife, lying under the water. The horse they had ridden lay dead beside them. We observed that they had tried to escape across the river when they were shot.”

Location of  Black Kettle’s death


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Warriors, eleven who died, rushed out of their lodges with inferior firepower to defend the village. Simultaneously, the overall noncombatants ran for their lives into the freezing Washita River.



(Taken with permission)

The words of Ben Clark, Custer’s chief of scouts, brought the truth out after Custer distributed propaganda about one white woman and two white boys as having been hostages in Black Kettle’s village. There were no “hostages, a Cheyenne woman committed suicide. Speculating, here is why.

She didn’t want her son mutilated by Custer or a 7th Calvary soldier; she didn’t want her vagina ripped out and put on a stick, worn, or made into a tobacco pouch. So, she killed her son and herself first.


Jerome A. Greene. Washita. Chap.7. pp. 130-131

There, as the people fell at the hands of the troopers, one woman, in a helpless rage, stood up with her baby, held it out in an outstretched arm, and with the other drew a knife and fatally stabbed the infant – erroneously believed by the soldiers to be a white child. She then plunged the blade into her own chest in suicide.

(Location of the genocide at Washita, a few yards from Black Kettle’s death)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The 7th hunted them down and murdered them. Although the orders were to “hang all warriors;” it was much more convenient to shoot them. All wounded Cheyenne were shot where they laid.

Osage scouts mutilated women and children. They did a “roundup” of their own by using tree limbs to herd the defenseless Cheyenne women and children back to the village, where the mutilations could continue. Custer halted the slaying of women and children at one point, but he raped them later in captivity.

One Osage scout beheaded a Cheyenne.


Jerome A. Greene. Washita. Chap.7. pp120

They (Osages) “shot down the women and mutilated their bodies, cutting off their arms, legs and breasts with knives.”

The 7th captured the Cheyenne and started bonfires. They burned the 51 lodges to the ground. Winter clothing that was depended upon for winter survival was incinerated in the flames, as was food supplies. Weapons and all lodge contents were burned also, including any sacred items.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Finally, 875 horses were shot, thus stripping away their last means of survival and independence.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Dee Brown. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.” P.170

Late in December the survivors of Black Kettle’s band began arriving at Fort Cobb –

Little Robe was now the nominal leader of the tribe, and was taken to see Sheridan he told the bearlike soldier chief that his people were starving – they had eaten all their dogs.

Sheridan replied that the Cheyennes would be fed if they all came into Fort Cobb and surrendered unconditionally. “You cannot make peace now and commence killing whites again in the spring.” Sheridan added, “If you are not willing to make a complete peace, you can go back and we will fight this thing out.”

Little Robe knew there was but one answer he could give.

“It is for you to say what we have to do,” he said.



American Holocaust

(It is worth noting also that the Fuhrer from time to time expressed admiration for the “efficiency” of the American genocide campaign against the Indians, viewing it as a forerunner for his own plans and programs.)

The Cheyenne women were “transported” by an officer named Romero to the other officers once they were prisoners at Fort Cobb.

Rape.

Custer “enjoyed one” every evening in the privacy of his tent. Presumably, he stopped raping the Cheyenne women when his wife arrived.


Source

Custer’s wife, Elizabeth (Bacon), whom he married in 1864, lived to the age of ninety-one. The couple had no children. She was devoted to his memory, wrote three books about him, and when she died in 1933 was buried beside him at West Point. Her Tenting on the Plains (1887) presents a charming picture of their stay in Texas. Custer’s headquarters building in Austin, the Blind Asylum, located on the “Little Campus” of the University of Texas, has been restored.


Jerome A. Greene. “Washita.” Chap. 8, p.169.

Ben Clack told Walter M. Camp: many of the squaws captured at Washita were used by the officers…Romero was put in charge of them and on the march Romero would send squaws around to the officers’ tents every night. [Clark] says Custer picked out a fine looking one and had her in his tent every night.”

This statement is more or less confirmed by Frederick Benteen, who in 1896 asserted that Custer selected Monahseetah/Meotzi from among the women prisoners and cohabited with her “during the winter and spring of 1868 and ’69” until his wife arrived in the summer of 1869. Although Benteen’s assertions regarding Custer are not always to be trusted, his statements nonetheless conform entirely to those of the reliable Ben Clark and thus cannot be ignored.”

Further information regarding accurate numbers of deaths, captives and list of names are in Jerome A. Greene’s wonderful book, “Washita.”


Source

We have been traveling through a cloud. The sky has been dark ever since the war began.

Black Kettle

Native Voices: Black Kettle


I did imagine hearing crying voices when I went to the site of the Washita Massacre and before writing Moxtaveto’s (Black Kettle’s) Extermination on November 27, 1868 & a Request. The elders say it’s haunted, like they said they could hear children cry at the Sand Creek Massacre.

To end this, I will quote former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell from the dedication of the Sand Creek Massacre, “If there were any savages that day, it was not the Indian people.”

The 141st Anniversary of the Washita Massacre of Nov. 27, 1868

( – promoted by navajo)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The intent to commit genocide at Washita is hidden in plain view, unless key elements are brought together. These are: that the Cheyenne were placed on land where they would starve while promises to avert starvation were broken; that George Bent observed how Civil War soldiers did not harm white women and children by a “code of honor,” while Indian women and children were slaughtered; that Sheridan declared “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead;” and that the War Department did not differentiate between peaceful and warring Indians. Hence, the orders “to kill or hang all warriors.” As the consequence, the intent was to kill all men
of a specific race.

We’ll begin with Custer prior to the Washita Massacre along with the fact that the Cheyenne were forced onto land wherein they would starve.

Part 1: The Intent to Commit Genocide

Custer’s tactical errors of rushing ahead of the established military plans and dividing his troops are well known.


Source

On the verge of what seemed to him a certain and glorious victory for both the United States and himself, Custer ordered an immediate attack on the Indian village.

Contemptuous of Indian military prowess, he split his forces into three parts to ensure that fewer Indians would escape. The attack was one the greatest fiascos of the United States Army, as thousands of Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors forced Custer’s unit back onto a long, dusty ridge parallel to the Little Bighorn, surrounded them, and killed all 210 of them.

Yet, what enabled him to get back “on the course” after his court martial in 1867 and his being relieved by President Ulysses S. Grant temporarily in 1876?

The answers to that question are deception, wisely having prevented Washita from being labeled a massacre by halting the slaying of women and children at Washita; thus, sidestepping a full investigation as Sand Creek was (my speculation), and more lies.

Forcing and binding those Native Nations onto land where they could not survive by hunting or agriculture, breaking promises to provide those survival means, and propaganda revolving around the Kansas Raids reset Custer “on the course.” Moxtaveto (Black Kettle) was innocent.

What about the Dog Soldiers, weren’t they somehow to blame? An old Indian joke goes, “When the whites win, it’s a victory; when the Indians win, it’s a massacre.” Let’s look at what occurred amongst the Chiefs after the Sand Creek Massacre and prior to the Kansas Raids to find some answers, in between the “victories” and the “massacres.”

(Bold mine)


http://books.google.com/books?…

And so, when the Chiefs gathered to decide what the people should do, Black Kettle took his usual place among them. Everyone agreed Sand Creek must be avenged. But there were questions. Why had the soldiers attacked with such viciousness? Why had they killed and mutilated women and children?
It seemed that the conflict with the whites had somehow changed. No longer was it just a war over land and buffalo. Now, the soldiers were destroying everything Cheyenne – the land, the buffalo, and the people themselves.

Why? George thought he knew. He had lived among the whites and had fought in their war. He knew their greed for land and possessions – Their appetite for these things was boundless. But they also obeyed rules of warfare peculiar to them. They waged war on men, and only on recognized fields of battle. In the great life-and-death struggle between North and South even then raging in the East, prisoners were routinely paroled and released or held in guarded camps, where they were fed and cared for. And the whites never warred on women and children who were protected by law and by an unshakable code of honor –

Still Black Kettle counseled peace. A war with the whites, he said, could not be won. The newcomers were too numerous, their weapons too strong. Besides, they had the ability to fight in winter when Cheyenne horses were weak and food was scarce… For Black Kettle, Cheyenne survival depended on peace. War could only bring more Sand Creeks, more deaths, more sorrow – One by one the council Chiefs smoked the red stone war pipe, each recognizing the importance of his decision. When the pipe reached Black Kettle, he passed it on, refusing to smoke. But the others took it up, indicating they would fight.

Hence, the Kansas “Raids” were the only means left available to keep what was promised to them: the ability to survive. The land “given” to them was neither harvestable nor huntable. Those “raids” were the last resort of self defense for survival.

The Last Indian Raid in Kansas


Source

Black Kettle miraculously escaped harm at the Sand Creek Massacre, even when he returned to rescue his seriously injured wife. And perhaps more miraculously, he continued to counsel peace when the Cheyenne attempted to strike back with isolated raids on wagon trains and nearby ranches.
By October 1865, he and other Indian leaders had arranged an uneasy truce on the plains, signing a new treaty that exchanged the Sand Creek reservation for reservations in southwestern Kansas but deprived the Cheyenne of access to most of their coveted Kansas hunting grounds.

Furthermore, General Sheridan never had any intention of peaceful relations with Black Kettle whatsoever.

(Bold mine)


Dee Brown. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.” P. 169.

In his official report over the “savage butchers” and “savage bands of cruel marauders,” General Sheridan rejoiced that he had “wiped out Black Kettle, a worn – out and worthless old cipher.”

He then stated that he had promised Black Kettle sanctuary if he would come into a fort before military operations began. “He refused,” Sheridan lied, “and was killed in the fight.”

In fact, it is owed to General Sheridan himself the “American aphorism,” “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” It started as “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.”

Whether or not Black Kettle strove for peace or the Dog Soldiers fought, they were all as “good as dead.”  The extermination policy set Custer “on the course” to Washita.

(Bold mine)


Source

Given the War Department’s mandate that all Cheyennes were guilty for the sins of the few in regard to the Kansas raids, there is no question that Custer succeeded in this pur­pose by attacking Black Kettle’s village. His instructions from his supe­riors had been “to destroy their villages and ponies; to kill or hang all warriors, and bring back all women and children.”

Part 2: The Approaching Genocide at Washita

Custer was pursuing the snow tracks of Dog Soldiers that would eventually lead to Black Kettle’s village on Thanksgiving Day in a cruel irony. The cruelest irony however, was that Black Kettle and his wife would be slain nearly four years to the day that they both escaped Chivington at the Sand Creek Massacre. Black Kettle’s honesty concerning young men in his village he could not control was of no avail. He and his village were going to be “punished” and broken beyond any immediate or distant recovery.

John Corbin, the messenger from Major Elliot, rode up and informed Custer of two large Indian snow tracks. One was recent. Preparations were then made to pursue the “savages” as covertly as possible. Smoking ceased and weapons were bound to prevent visual or aural detection. In addition, the 7th whispered and paused frequently as they rode slowly towards the future tracks that would lead to Black Kettle’s village. Simultaneously, Black Kettle received dire warnings that he and the others ignored. A Kiowa war party gave the first warning of having seen soldier’s tracks that were heading their direction. It was discounted. Black Kettle’s wife, Medicine Woman, gave another warning that night before the 7th’s arrival of an intuitive nature during the meeting in the Peace Chief’s lodge by firelight. She begged them to move immediately. It too was dismissed. They would move the next day, instead.

Black Kettle had already moved their camp recently, which the returning war party that had helped in the Kansas Raids learned upon their returning. November 25th found this war party dividing into two different directions in order to reach their destinations the quickest. Approximately 139 of them traveled to the big village on the river, while about 11 of them led Custer straight to Black Kettle. A bell around one dog’s neck enabled all the dogs to be located easily by the tribe, and after a Cheyenne baby cried, Custer pinpointed their exact location. He coordinated the attack to begin at dawn from four fronts.

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Thompson’s troops would attack to the North East, Myer’s and Custer’s troops positioned to attack to the East and South East, while Elliot would attack to the South.

Custer knew their mobility was greatly hampered in winter time; consequently, that was an important element in the “campaign.”

Part 3: The Genocide At Washita

The sensory components of the genocide at Washita in now Cheyenne, Oklahoma must be held in mind in order to capture the entire breadth of it. These are sound, smell, and sight. For example, the shrill crying of the noncombatant Cheyenne women and children, and the yelling of the charging 7th Calvary with their knives and guns would have been beyond deafening. And the fog with gunpowder smoke must have been worse than any nightmare, while the red blood – stained snow and the smell of death permeated the ground and air.


The Death & Vision of Moxtaveto ( Black Kettle)

A woman dashed into the village to warn Black Kettle of the coming troopers; he hastily snatched his rifle from his lodge and fired a warning shot for all to awaken and flee. If he had attempted to meet the soldiers and ask for peaceful negotiations, that would have been useless; as a result, he then mounted his horse with his wife, Woman Here After, and tried to escape through the North direction. His horse was shot in the leg before bullets knocked him and his wife off the horse and into the Washita River, where they both died together.


Source

“Both the chief and his wife fell at the river bank riddled with bullets,” one witness reported, “the soldiers rode right over Black Kettle and his wife and their horse as they lay dead on the ground, and their bodies were all splashed with mud by the charging soldiers.” Custer later reported that an Osage guide took Black Kettle’s scalp.


Stan Hiog. “The Peace Chiefs Of The Cheyenne.” p. 174

Moving Behind, a Cheyenne Woman, later stated: “There was a sharp curve in the river where an old road – crossing used to be. Indian men used to go there to water their ponies. Here we saw the bodies of Black Kettle and his wife, lying under the water. The horse they had ridden lay dead beside them. We observed that they had tried to escape across the river when they were shot.”

Location of  Black Kettle’s death


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Warriors, eleven who died, rushed out of their lodges with inferior firepower to defend the village. Simultaneously, the overall noncombatants ran for their lives into the freezing Washita River.



(Taken with permission)

The words of Ben Clark, Custer’s chief of scouts, brought the truth out after Custer distributed propaganda about one white woman and two white boys as having been hostages in Black Kettle’s village. There were no “hostages, a Cheyenne woman committed suicide. Speculating, here is why.

She didn’t want her son mutilated by Custer or a 7th Calvary soldier; she didn’t want her vagina ripped out and put on a stick, worn, or made into a tobacco pouch. So, she killed her son and herself first.


Jerome A. Greene. Washita. Chap.7. pp. 130-131

There, as the people fell at the hands of the troopers, one woman, in a helpless rage, stood up with her baby, held it out in an outstretched arm, and with the other drew a knife and fatally stabbed the infant – erroneously believed by the soldiers to be a white child. She then plunged the blade into her own chest in suicide.

(Location of the genocide at Washita, a few yards from Black Kettle’s death)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The 7th hunted them down and murdered them. Although the orders were to “hang all warriors;” it was much more convenient to shoot them. All wounded Cheyenne were shot where they laid.

Osage scouts mutilated women and children. They did a “roundup” of their own by using tree limbs to herd the defenseless Cheyenne women and children back to the village, where the mutilations could continue. Custer halted the slaying of women and children at one point, but he raped them later in captivity.

One Osage scout beheaded a Cheyenne.


Jerome A. Greene. Washita. Chap.7. pp120

They (Osages) “shot down the women and mutilated their bodies, cutting off their arms, legs and breasts with knives.”

The 7th captured the Cheyenne and started bonfires. They burned the 51 lodges to the ground. Winter clothing that was depended upon for winter survival was incinerated in the flames, as was food supplies. Weapons and all lodge contents were burned also, including any sacred items.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Finally, 875 horses were shot, thus stripping away their last means of survival and independence.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Dee Brown. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.” P.170

Late in December the survivors of Black Kettle’s band began arriving at Fort Cobb –

Little Robe was now the nominal leader of the tribe, and was taken to see Sheridan he told the bearlike soldier chief that his people were starving – they had eaten all their dogs.

Sheridan replied that the Cheyennes would be fed if they all came into Fort Cobb and surrendered unconditionally. “You cannot make peace now and commence killing whites again in the spring.” Sheridan added, “If you are not willing to make a complete peace, you can go back and we will fight this thing out.”

Little Robe knew there was but one answer he could give.

“It is for you to say what we have to do,” he said.



American Holocaust

(It is worth noting also that the Fuhrer from time to time expressed admiration for the “efficiency” of the American genocide campaign against the Indians, viewing it as a forerunner for his own plans and programs.)

The Cheyenne women were “transported” by an officer named Romero to the other officers once they were prisoners at Fort Cobb.

Rape.

Custer “enjoyed one” every evening in the privacy of his tent. Presumably, he stopped raping the Cheyenne women when his wife arrived.


Source

Custer’s wife, Elizabeth (Bacon), whom he married in 1864, lived to the age of ninety-one. The couple had no children. She was devoted to his memory, wrote three books about him, and when she died in 1933 was buried beside him at West Point. Her Tenting on the Plains (1887) presents a charming picture of their stay in Texas. Custer’s headquarters building in Austin, the Blind Asylum, located on the “Little Campus” of the University of Texas, has been restored.


Jerome A. Greene. “Washita.” Chap. 8, p.169.

Ben Clack told Walter M. Camp: many of the squaws captured at Washita were used by the officers…Romero was put in charge of them and on the march Romero would send squaws around to the officers’ tents every night. [Clark] says Custer picked out a fine looking one and had her in his tent every night.”

This statement is more or less confirmed by Frederick Benteen, who in 1896 asserted that Custer selected Monahseetah/Meotzi from among the women prisoners and cohabited with her “during the winter and spring of 1868 and ’69” until his wife arrived in the summer of 1869. Although Benteen’s assertions regarding Custer are not always to be trusted, his statements nonetheless conform entirely to those of the reliable Ben Clark and thus cannot be ignored.”

Further information regarding accurate numbers of deaths, captives and list of names are in Jerome A. Greene’s wonderful book, “Washita.”


Source

We have been traveling through a cloud. The sky has been dark ever since the war began.

Black Kettle

Native Voices: Black Kettle


I did imagine hearing crying voices when I went to the site of the Washita Massacre and before writing

Moxtaveto’s (Black Kettle’s) Extermination on November 27, 1868 & a Request. The elders say it’s haunted, like they said they could hear children cry at the Sand Creek Massacre.

To end this, I will quote former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell from the dedication of the Sand Creek Massacre, “If there were any savages that day, it was not the Indian people.”

Custer, Rape, Genocide, & Happy Meals

( – promoted by navajo)

I’ll have a Big Mac, fries, and a medium Dr. Pepper.


Source

Custer rides again, although he’s atop a plastic motorcycle and in a McDonald’s Happy Meal box.

My wife wants chicken McNuggets and a Coke.

The 140th Anniversary of the Washita Massacre of Nov. 27, 1868

The Cheyenne women were “transported” by an officer named Romero to the other officers once they were prisoners at Fort Cobb.

Rape.

Custer “enjoyed one” every evening in the privacy of his tent. Presumably, he stopped raping the Cheyenne women when his wife arrived.


Source

Custer’s wife, Elizabeth (Bacon), whom he married in 1864, lived to the age of ninety-one. The couple had no children. She was devoted to his memory, wrote three books about him, and when she died in 1933 was buried beside him at West Point. Her Tenting on the Plains (1887) presents a charming picture of their stay in Texas. Custer’s headquarters building in Austin, the Blind Asylum, located on the “Little Campus” of the University of Texas, has been restored.


Jerome A. Greene. “Washita.” Chap. 8, p.169.

Ben Clack told Walter M. Camp: many of the squaws captured at Washita were used by the officers…Romero was put in charge of them and on the march Romero would send squaws around to the officers’ tents every night. [Clark] says Custer picked out a fine looking one and had her in his tent every night.”

This statement is more or less confirmed by Frederick Benteen, who in 1896 asserted that Custer selected Monahseetah/Meotzi from among the women prisoners and cohabited with her “during the winter and spring of 1868 and ’69” until his wife arrived in the summer of 1869. Although Benteen’s assertions regarding Custer are not always to be trusted, his statements nonetheless conform entirely to those of the reliable Ben Clark and thus cannot be ignored.”

I forgot to add the salad.


Source

The fast food chain’s decision to circulate the toy in Indian Country is akin to circulating a Hitler figure in Israel, according to Laurette Pourier, executive director for the Society for the Advancement of Native Interests-Today. “It’s insensitive and disrespectful.”

The 140th Anniversary of the Washita Massacre of Nov. 27, 1868


Stan Hiog. “The Peace Chiefs Of The Cheyenne.” p. 174

Moving Behind, a Cheyenne Woman, later stated: “There was a sharp curve in the river where an old road – crossing used to be. Indian men used to go there to water their ponies. Here we saw the bodies of Black Kettle and his wife, lying under the water. The horse they had ridden lay dead beside them. We observed that they had tried to escape across the river when they were shot.”

Location of  Black Kettle’s death


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Warriors, eleven who died, rushed out of their lodges with inferior firepower to defend the village. Simultaneously, the overall noncombatants ran for their lives into the freezing Washita River.



(Taken with permission)

The words of Ben Clark, Custer’s chief of scouts, brought the truth out after Custer distributed propaganda about one white woman and two white boys as having been hostages in Black Kettle’s village. There were no “hostages, a Cheyenne woman committed suicide. Speculating, here is why.

She didn’t want her son mutilated by Custer or a 7th Calvary soldier; she didn’t want her vagina ripped out and put on a stick, worn, or made into a tobacco pouch. So, she killed her son and herself first.


Jerome A. Greene. Washita. Chap.7. pp. 130-131

There, as the people fell at the hands of the troopers, one woman, in a helpless rage, stood up with her baby, held it out in an outstretched arm, and with the other drew a knife and fatally stabbed the infant – erroneously believed by the soldiers to be a white child. She then plunged the blade into her own chest in suicide.

(Location of the genocide at Washita, a few yards from Black Kettle’s death)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The 7th hunted them down and murdered them. Although the orders were to “hang all warriors;” it was much more convenient to shoot them. All wounded Cheyenne were shot where they laid.

I want Ranch Dressing with that salad.


Source

The “Night at the Museum” toys are scheduled to be distributed at McDonald’s through June 18.

No thankyou, I don’t want apple pie. Can you break a $20 bill?

You can’t? Well, Burger King is right across the street. Besides, they don’t “have a toy (that) in Indian Country is akin to circulating a Hitler figure in Israel.”

I am never, ever, ever, eating anything at McDonalds again.  

“Dead Indian Creek” & Cultural Hegemony

( – promoted by navajo)

Why say “Dead Warrior Creek,” when racism fuels cultural hegemony so well?


Source

The official name now is Dead Warrior Lake, ending for some a controversy over the lake’s name that has been going on for almost a decade.

– snip –

The first settlers in the area came up with the name after discovering a Cheyenne burial site. Cottonwoods that lined the creek made for a perfect burial site near the tribe’s winter camp.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Racism is illogical; however, the way it manifests is alarmingly logical. Past down to generation after generation, the false belief in one’s racial superiority leads to stripping races believed to be inferior of land and liberty. It is my personal opinion that racist thoughts contribute to cultural hegemony, the concept that a diverse culture can be ruled or dominated by one group or class.

Racism was clearly present in the land theft surrounding Fort Reno. Perhaps those that still use “Dead Indian Creek” can pretend that land theft stopped in the 1800’s, if they acknowledge it at all. Well,

“They want the land given back to them on a platter,” Landow told FRONTLINE when he refused an on-camera interview. “They brought in innocent people like me. They’re a bunch of goddamn uneducated Indians.”

it didn’t.

Photobucket

(Article from 2000)


Source

Fort Reno is a research station that contains a graveyard sacred to the Cheyenne-Arapaho, but is currently under federal control. Senator Don Nickles (R-Oklahoma) currently has language in a pending bill that continues funding for the research station which would prevent transfer of the land back to the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribe.


Source

BILL MOYERS:
Charles Surveyor was chairman of the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma. In 1883 the federal government confiscated a 9,500-acre parcel of tribal land known as Fort Reno. Today there is speculation there may be oil and gas beneath it.

CHARLES SURVEYOR:
 We don’t want no $100 million for our land or nothing. We want our land back, what’s rightfully ours. That was all we wanted. That’s still what we want.

So once again, why say “Dead Warrior Creek,” when racism fuels cultural hegemony so well?

It makes stealing –

“They want the land given back to them on a platter,” Landow told FRONTLINE when he refused an on-camera interview. “They brought in innocent people like me. They’re a bunch of goddamn uneducated Indians.”

– easier.


A Norman woman challenged the name in 1997, complaining the name was too similar to a notorious saying attributed to Maj. Gen. Phillip H. Sheridan that “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.”

easy as driving down the street in your car,

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

or going to see the Sound of Music.


Source

Cultural hegemony is the concept that a diverse culture can be ruled or dominated by one group or class, that everyday practices and shared beliefs provide the foundation for complex systems of domination.

Photobucket


At the lake, virtually nothing has changed as a result of the decision, said Tom Smeltzer, a district ranger at the Black Kettle National Grassland.

– snip –

“Even in our office, we still call it Dead Indian Lake,” Smeltzer said. “Maybe in another 50 years or so people will be using the new name but probably not any time soon.”

Why might it be that “Maybe in another 50 years or so people will be using the new name but probably not any time soon.” We’ll answer that by taking a short quiz.

Who said these racist statements, a child or an adult?

– “What we need is a black man, not some white boy.”

– “I know an Indian. They get that check for $900 every month; I know what that’s about, uh huh.”

– “Look at their homes, all run down. They don’t take care of them and our taxes pay for them.”

The first two were said by children, ages 6 and 9, respectively. “The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.”  Furthermore, the “tree” doesn’t necessarily have to be a parent. Racism is passed down generationally.

Racism is illogical; however, the way it manifests is alarmingly logical. Past down to generation after generation, the false belief in one’s racial superiority leads to stripping races believed to be inferior of land and liberty. Even though racism is illogical and based on ignorance, its applications are calculated and logical.

The 140th Anniversary of the Washita Massacre of Nov. 27, 1868

( – promoted by navajo)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The intent to commit genocide at Washita is hidden in plain view, unless key elements are brought together. These are: that the Cheyenne were placed on land where they would starve while promises to avert starvation were broken; that George Bent observed how Civil War soldiers did not harm white women and children by a “code of honor,” while Indian women and children were slaughtered; that Sheridan declared “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead;” and that the War Department did not differentiate between peaceful and warring Indians. Hence, the orders “to kill or hang all warriors.” As the consequence, the intent was to kill all men
of a specific race.

We’ll begin with Custer prior to the Washita Massacre along with the fact that the Cheyenne were forced onto land wherein they would starve.

Part 1: The Intent to Commit Genocide

Custer’s tactical errors of rushing ahead of the established military plans and dividing his troops are well known.


Source

On the verge of what seemed to him a certain and glorious victory for both the United States and himself, Custer ordered an immediate attack on the Indian village.

Contemptuous of Indian military prowess, he split his forces into three parts to ensure that fewer Indians would escape. The attack was one the greatest fiascos of the United States Army, as thousands of Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors forced Custer’s unit back onto a long, dusty ridge parallel to the Little Bighorn, surrounded them, and killed all 210 of them.

Yet, what enabled him to get back “on the course” after his court martial in 1867 and his being relieved by President Ulysses S. Grant temporarily in 1876?

The answers to that question are deception, wisely having prevented Washita from being labeled a massacre by halting the slaying of women and children at Washita; thus, sidestepping a full investigation as Sand Creek was (my speculation), and more lies.

Forcing and binding those Native Nations onto land where they could not survive by hunting or agriculture, breaking promises to provide those survival means, and propaganda revolving around the Kansas Raids reset Custer “on the course.” Moxtaveto (Black Kettle) was innocent.

What about the Dog Soldiers, weren’t they somehow to blame? An old Indian joke goes, “When the whites win, it’s a victory; when the Indians win, it’s a massacre.” Let’s look at what occurred amongst the Chiefs after the Sand Creek Massacre and prior to the Kansas Raids to find some answers, in between the “victories” and the “massacres.”

(Bold mine)


http://books.google.com/books?…

And so, when the Chiefs gathered to decide what the people should do, Black Kettle took his usual place among them. Everyone agreed Sand Creek must be avenged. But there were questions. Why had the soldiers attacked with such viciousness? Why had they killed and mutilated women and children?
It seemed that the conflict with the whites had somehow changed. No longer was it just a war over land and buffalo. Now, the soldiers were destroying everything Cheyenne – the land, the buffalo, and the people themselves.

Why? George thought he knew. He had lived among the whites and had fought in their war. He knew their greed for land and possessions – Their appetite for these things was boundless. But they also obeyed rules of warfare peculiar to them. They waged war on men, and only on recognized fields of battle. In the great life-and-death struggle between North and South even then raging in the East, prisoners were routinely paroled and released or held in guarded camps, where they were fed and cared for. And the whites never warred on women and children who were protected by law and by an unshakable code of honor –

Still Black Kettle counseled peace. A war with the whites, he said, could not be won. The newcomers were too numerous, their weapons too strong. Besides, they had the ability to fight in winter when Cheyenne horses were weak and food was scarce… For Black Kettle, Cheyenne survival depended on peace. War could only bring more Sand Creeks, more deaths, more sorrow – One by one the council Chiefs smoked the red stone war pipe, each recognizing the importance of his decision. When the pipe reached Black Kettle, he passed it on, refusing to smoke. But the others took it up, indicating they would fight.

Hence, the Kansas “Raids” were the only means left available to keep what was promised to them: the ability to survive. The land “given” to them was neither harvestable nor huntable. Those “raids” were the last resort of self defense for survival.

The Last Indian Raid in Kansas


Source

Black Kettle miraculously escaped harm at the Sand Creek Massacre, even when he returned to rescue his seriously injured wife. And perhaps more miraculously, he continued to counsel peace when the Cheyenne attempted to strike back with isolated raids on wagon trains and nearby ranches.
By October 1865, he and other Indian leaders had arranged an uneasy truce on the plains, signing a new treaty that exchanged the Sand Creek reservation for reservations in southwestern Kansas but deprived the Cheyenne of access to most of their coveted Kansas hunting grounds.

Furthermore, General Sheridan never had any intention of peaceful relations with Black Kettle whatsoever.

(Bold mine)


Dee Brown. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.” P. 169.

In his official report over the “savage butchers” and “savage bands of cruel marauders,” General Sheridan rejoiced that he had “wiped out Black Kettle, a worn – out and worthless old cipher.”

He then stated that he had promised Black Kettle sanctuary if he would come into a fort before military operations began. “He refused,” Sheridan lied, “and was killed in the fight.”

In fact, it is owed to General Sheridan himself the “American aphorism,” “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” It started as “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.”

Whether or not Black Kettle strove for peace or the Dog Soldiers fought, they were all as “good as dead.”  The extermination policy set Custer “on the course” to Washita.

(Bold mine)


Source

Given the War Department’s mandate that all Cheyennes were guilty for the sins of the few in regard to the Kansas raids, there is no question that Custer succeeded in this pur­pose by attacking Black Kettle’s village. His instructions from his supe­riors had been “to destroy their villages and ponies; to kill or hang all warriors, and bring back all women and children.”

Part 2: The Approaching Genocide at Washita

Custer was pursuing the snow tracks of Dog Soldiers that would eventually lead to Black Kettle’s village on Thanksgiving Day in a cruel irony. The cruelest irony however, was that Black Kettle and his wife would be slain nearly four years to the day that they both escaped Chivington at the Sand Creek Massacre. Black Kettle’s honesty concerning young men in his village he could not control was of no avail. He and his village were going to be “punished” and broken beyond any immediate or distant recovery.

John Corbin, the messenger from Major Elliot, rode up and informed Custer of two large Indian snow tracks. One was recent. Preparations were then made to pursue the “savages” as covertly as possible. Smoking ceased and weapons were bound to prevent visual or aural detection. In addition, the 7th whispered and paused frequently as they rode slowly towards the future tracks that would lead to Black Kettle’s village. Simultaneously, Black Kettle received dire warnings that he and the others ignored. A Kiowa war party gave the first warning of having seen soldier’s tracks that were heading their direction. It was discounted. Black Kettle’s wife, Medicine Woman, gave another warning that night before the 7th’s arrival of an intuitive nature during the meeting in the Peace Chief’s lodge by firelight. She begged them to move immediately. It too was dismissed. They would move the next day, instead.

Black Kettle had already moved their camp recently, which the returning war party that had helped in the Kansas Raids learned upon their returning. November 25th found this war party dividing into two different directions in order to reach their destinations the quickest. Approximately 139 of them traveled to the big village on the river, while about 11 of them led Custer straight to Black Kettle. A bell around one dog’s neck enabled all the dogs to be located easily by the tribe, and after a Cheyenne baby cried, Custer pinpointed their exact location. He coordinated the attack to begin at dawn from four fronts.

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Thompson’s troops would attack to the North East, Myer’s and Custer’s troops positioned to attack to the East and South East, while Elliot would attack to the South.

Custer knew their mobility was greatly hampered in winter time; consequently, that was an important element in the “campaign.”

Part 3: The Genocide At Washita

The sensory components of the genocide at Washita in now Cheyenne, Oklahoma must be held in mind in order to capture the entire breadth of it. These are sound, smell, and sight. For example, the shrill crying of the noncombatant Cheyenne women and children, and the yelling of the charging 7th Calvary with their knives and guns would have been beyond deafening. And the fog with gunpowder smoke must have been worse than any nightmare, while the red blood – stained snow and the smell of death permeated the ground and air.


The Death & Vision of Moxtaveto ( Black Kettle)

A woman dashed into the village to warn Black Kettle of the coming troopers; he hastily snatched his rifle from his lodge and fired a warning shot for all to awaken and flee. If he had attempted to meet the soldiers and ask for peaceful negotiations, that would have been useless; as a result, he then mounted his horse with his wife, Woman Here After, and tried to escape through the North direction. His horse was shot in the leg before bullets knocked him and his wife off the horse and into the Washita River, where they both died together.


Source

“Both the chief and his wife fell at the river bank riddled with bullets,” one witness reported, “the soldiers rode right over Black Kettle and his wife and their horse as they lay dead on the ground, and their bodies were all splashed with mud by the charging soldiers.” Custer later reported that an Osage guide took Black Kettle’s scalp.


Stan Hiog. “The Peace Chiefs Of The Cheyenne.” p. 174

Moving Behind, a Cheyenne Woman, later stated: “There was a sharp curve in the river where an old road – crossing used to be. Indian men used to go there to water their ponies. Here we saw the bodies of Black Kettle and his wife, lying under the water. The horse they had ridden lay dead beside them. We observed that they had tried to escape across the river when they were shot.”

Location of  Black Kettle’s death


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Warriors, eleven who died, rushed out of their lodges with inferior firepower to defend the village. Simultaneously, the overall noncombatants ran for their lives into the freezing Washita River.



(Taken with permission)

The words of Ben Clark, Custer’s chief of scouts, brought the truth out after Custer distributed propaganda about one white woman and two white boys as having been hostages in Black Kettle’s village. There were no “hostages, a Cheyenne woman committed suicide. Speculating, here is why.

She didn’t want her son mutilated by Custer or a 7th Calvary soldier; she didn’t want her vagina ripped out and put on a stick, worn, or made into a tobacco pouch. So, she killed her son and herself first.


Jerome A. Greene. Washita. Chap.7. pp. 130-131

There, as the people fell at the hands of the troopers, one woman, in a helpless rage, stood up with her baby, held it out in an outstretched arm, and with the other drew a knife and fatally stabbed the infant – erroneously believed by the soldiers to be a white child. She then plunged the blade into her own chest in suicide.

(Location of the genocide at Washita, a few yards from Black Kettle’s death)

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The 7th hunted them down and murdered them. Although the orders were to “hang all warriors;” it was much more convenient to shoot them. All wounded Cheyenne were shot where they laid.

Osage scouts mutilated women and children. They did a “roundup” of their own by using tree limbs to herd the defenseless Cheyenne women and children back to the village, where the mutilations could continue. Custer halted the slaying of women and children at one point, but he raped them later in captivity.

One Osage scout beheaded a Cheyenne.


Jerome A. Greene. Washita. Chap.7. pp120

They (Osages) “shot down the women and mutilated their bodies, cutting off their arms, legs and breasts with knives.”

The 7th captured the Cheyenne and started bonfires. They burned the 51 lodges to the ground. Winter clothing that was depended upon for winter survival was incinerated in the flames, as was food supplies. Weapons and all lodge contents were burned also, including any sacred items.

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Finally, 875 horses were shot, thus stripping away their last means of survival and independence.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Dee Brown. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.” P.170

Late in December the survivors of Black Kettle’s band began arriving at Fort Cobb –

Little Robe was now the nominal leader of the tribe, and was taken to see Sheridan he told the bearlike soldier chief that his people were starving – they had eaten all their dogs.

Sheridan replied that the Cheyennes would be fed if they all came into Fort Cobb and surrendered unconditionally. “You cannot make peace now and commence killing whites again in the spring.” Sheridan added, “If you are not willing to make a complete peace, you can go back and we will fight this thing out.”

Little Robe knew there was but one answer he could give.

“It is for you to say what we have to do,” he said.



American Holocaust

(It is worth noting also that the Fuhrer from time to time expressed admiration for the “efficiency” of the American genocide campaign against the Indians, viewing it as a forerunner for his own plans and programs.)

The Cheyenne women were “transported” by an officer named Romero to the other officers once they were prisoners at Fort Cobb.

Rape.

Custer “enjoyed one” every evening in the privacy of his tent. Presumably, he stopped raping the Cheyenne women when his wife arrived.


Source

Custer’s wife, Elizabeth (Bacon), whom he married in 1864, lived to the age of ninety-one. The couple had no children. She was devoted to his memory, wrote three books about him, and when she died in 1933 was buried beside him at West Point. Her Tenting on the Plains (1887) presents a charming picture of their stay in Texas. Custer’s headquarters building in Austin, the Blind Asylum, located on the “Little Campus” of the University of Texas, has been restored.


Jerome A. Greene. “Washita.” Chap. 8, p.169.

Ben Clack told Walter M. Camp: many of the squaws captured at Washita were used by the officers…Romero was put in charge of them and on the march Romero would send squaws around to the officers’ tents every night. [Clark] says Custer picked out a fine looking one and had her in his tent every night.”

This statement is more or less confirmed by Frederick Benteen, who in 1896 asserted that Custer selected Monahseetah/Meotzi from among the women prisoners and cohabited with her “during the winter and spring of 1868 and ’69” until his wife arrived in the summer of 1869. Although Benteen’s assertions regarding Custer are not always to be trusted, his statements nonetheless conform entirely to those of the reliable Ben Clark and thus cannot be ignored.”

Further information regarding accurate numbers of deaths, captives and list of names are in Jerome A. Greene’s wonderful book, “Washita.”


Source

We have been traveling through a cloud. The sky has been dark ever since the war began.

Black Kettle

Native Voices: Black Kettle


I did imagine hearing crying voices when I went to the site of the Washita Massacre a couple months ago, and before writing

Moxtaveto’s (Black Kettle’s) Extermination on November 27, 1868 & a Request. The elders say it’s haunted, like they said they could hear children cry at the Sand Creek Massacre.

To end this, I will quote former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell from the dedication of the Sand Creek Massacre, “If there were any savages that day, it was not the Indian people.”

“Dead Indian Creek” & Cultural Hegemony

( – promoted by navajo)

Why say “Dead Warrior Creek,” when racism fuels cultural hegemony so well?


Source

The official name now is Dead Warrior Lake, ending for some a controversy over the lake’s name that has been going on for almost a decade.

– snip –

The first settlers in the area came up with the name after discovering a Cheyenne burial site. Cottonwoods that lined the creek made for a perfect burial site near the tribe’s winter camp.

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Racism is illogical; however, the way it manifests is alarmingly logical. Past down to generation after generation, the false belief in one’s racial superiority leads to stripping races believed to be inferior of land and liberty. It is my personal opinion that racist thoughts contribute to cultural hegemony, the concept that a diverse culture can be ruled or dominated by one group or class.

Racism was clearly present in the land theft surrounding Fort Reno. Perhaps those that still use “Dead Indian Creek” can pretend that land theft stopped in the 1800’s, if they acknowledge it at all. Well,

“They want the land given back to them on a platter,” Landow told FRONTLINE when he refused an on-camera interview. “They brought in innocent people like me. They’re a bunch of goddamn uneducated Indians.”

it didn’t.

Photobucket

(Article from 2000)


Source

Fort Reno is a research station that contains a graveyard sacred to the Cheyenne-Arapaho, but is currently under federal control. Senator Don Nickles (R-Oklahoma) currently has language in a pending bill that continues funding for the research station which would prevent transfer of the land back to the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribe.


Source

BILL MOYERS:
Charles Surveyor was chairman of the Cheyenne-Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma. In 1883 the federal government confiscated a 9,500-acre parcel of tribal land known as Fort Reno. Today there is speculation there may be oil and gas beneath it.

CHARLES SURVEYOR:
 We don’t want no $100 million for our land or nothing. We want our land back, what’s rightfully ours. That was all we wanted. That’s still what we want.

So once again, why say “Dead Warrior Creek,” when racism fuels cultural hegemony so well?

It makes stealing –

“They want the land given back to them on a platter,” Landow told FRONTLINE when he refused an on-camera interview. “They brought in innocent people like me. They’re a bunch of goddamn uneducated Indians.”

– easier.


A Norman woman challenged the name in 1997, complaining the name was too similar to a notorious saying attributed to Maj. Gen. Phillip H. Sheridan that “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.”

easy as driving down the street in your car,

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or going to see the Sound of Music.


Source

Cultural hegemony is the concept that a diverse culture can be ruled or dominated by one group or class, that everyday practices and shared beliefs provide the foundation for complex systems of domination.

Photobucket


At the lake, virtually nothing has changed as a result of the decision, said Tom Smeltzer, a district ranger at the Black Kettle National Grassland.

– snip –

“Even in our office, we still call it Dead Indian Lake,” Smeltzer said. “Maybe in another 50 years or so people will be using the new name but probably not any time soon.”

Why might it be that “Maybe in another 50 years or so people will be using the new name but probably not any time soon.” We’ll answer that by taking a short quiz.

Who said these racist statements, a child or an adult?

– “What we need is a black man, not some white boy.”

– “I know an Indian. They get that check for $900 every month; I know what that’s about, uh huh.”

– “Look at their homes, all run down. They don’t take care of them and our taxes pay for them.”

The first two were said by children, ages 6 and 9, respectively. “The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.”  Furthermore, the “tree” doesn’t necessarily have to be a parent. Racism is passed down generationally.

Racism is illogical; however, the way it manifests is alarmingly logical. Past down to generation after generation, the false belief in one’s racial superiority leads to stripping races believed to be inferior of land and liberty. Even though racism is illogical and based on ignorance, its applications are calculated and logical.

The 139th Anniversary of the Washita Massacre of Nov. 27, 1868

( – promoted by navajo)

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The intent to commit genocide at Washita is hidden in plain view, unless key elements are brought together. These are: that the Cheyenne were placed on land where they would starve while promises to avert starvation were broken; that George Bent observed how Civil War soldiers did not harm white women and children by a “code of honor,” while Indian women and children were slaughtered; that Sheridan declared “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead;” and that the War Department did not differentiate between peaceful and warring Indians. Hence, the orders “to kill or hang all warriors.” As the consequence, the intent was to kill all men
of a specific race.

We’ll begin with Custer prior to the Washita Massacre along with the fact that the Cheyenne were forced onto land wherein they would starve.

Part 1: The Intent to Commit Genocide

Custer’s tactical errors of rushing ahead of the established military plans and dividing his troops are well known.

Source

On the verge of what seemed to him a certain and glorious victory for both the United States and himself, Custer ordered an immediate attack on the Indian village.

Contemptuous of Indian military prowess, he split his forces into three parts to ensure that fewer Indians would escape. The attack was one the greatest fiascos of the United States Army, as thousands of Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors forced Custer’s unit back onto a long, dusty ridge parallel to the Little Bighorn, surrounded them, and killed all 210 of them.

Yet, what enabled him to get back “on the course” after his court martial in 1867 and his being relieved by President Ulysses S. Grant temporarily in 1876?

The answers to that question are deception, wisely having prevented Washita from being labeled a massacre by halting the slaying of women and children at Washita; thus, sidestepping a full investigation as Sand Creek was (my speculation), and more lies.

Forcing and binding those Native Nations onto land where they could not survive by hunting or agriculture, breaking promises to provide those survival means, and propaganda revolving around the Kansas Raids reset Custer “on the course.” Moxtaveto (Black Kettle) was innocent.

What about the Dog Soldiers, weren’t they somehow to blame? An old Indian joke goes, “When the whites win, it’s a victory; when the Indians win, it’s a massacre.” Let’s look at what occurred amongst the Chiefs after the Sand Creek Massacre and prior to the Kansas Raids to find some answers, in between the “victories” and the “massacres.”

(Bold mine)



http://books.google.com/books?…

And so, when the Chiefs gathered to decide what the people should do, Black Kettle took his usual place among them. Everyone agreed Sand Creek must be avenged. But there were questions. Why had the soldiers attacked with such viciousness? Why had they killed and mutilated women and children?
It seemed that the conflict with the whites had somehow changed. No longer was it just a war over land and buffalo. Now, the soldiers were destroying everything Cheyenne – the land, the buffalo, and the people themselves.

Why? George thought he knew. He had lived among the whites and had fought in their war. He knew their greed for land and possessions – Their appetite for these things was boundless. But they also obeyed rules of warfare peculiar to them. They waged war on men, and only on recognized fields of battle. In the great life-and-death struggle between North and South even then raging in the East, prisoners were routinely paroled and released or held in guarded camps, where they were fed and cared for. And the whites never warred on women and children who were protected by law and by an unshakable code of honor –

Still Black Kettle counseled peace. A war with the whites, he said, could not be won. The newcomers were too numerous, their weapons too strong. Besides, they had the ability to fight in winter when Cheyenne horses were weak and food was scarce… For Black Kettle, Cheyenne survival depended on peace. War could only bring more Sand Creeks, more deaths, more sorrow – One by one the council Chiefs smoked the red stone war pipe, each recognizing the importance of his decision. When the pipe reached Black Kettle, he passed it on, refusing to smoke. But the others took it up, indicating they would fight.


Hence, the Kansas “Raids” were the only means left available to keep what was promised to them: the ability to survive. The land “given” to them was neither harvestable nor huntable. Those “raids” were the last resort of self defense for survival.

The Last Indian Raid in Kansas


Source

Black Kettle miraculously escaped harm at the Sand Creek Massacre, even when he returned to rescue his seriously injured wife. And perhaps more miraculously, he continued to counsel peace when the Cheyenne attempted to strike back with isolated raids on wagon trains and nearby ranches.
By October 1865, he and other Indian leaders had arranged an uneasy truce on the plains, signing a new treaty that exchanged the Sand Creek reservation for reservations in southwestern Kansas but deprived the Cheyenne of access to most of their coveted Kansas hunting grounds.

Furthermore, General Sheridan never had any intention of peaceful relations with Black Kettle whatsoever.

(Bold mine)



Dee Brown. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.” P. 169.

In his official report over the “savage butchers” and “savage bands of cruel marauders,” General Sheridan rejoiced that he had “wiped out Black Kettle, a worn – out and worthless old cipher.”

He then stated that he had promised Black Kettle sanctuary if he would come into a fort before military operations began. “He refused,” Sheridan lied, “and was killed in the fight.”


In fact, it is owed to General Sheridan himself the “American aphorism,” “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” It started as “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.”

Whether or not Black Kettle strove for peace or the Dog Soldiers fought, they were all as “good as dead.”  The extermination policy set Custer “on the course” to Washita.

(Bold mine)



Source

Given the War Department’s mandate that all Cheyennes were guilty for the sins of the few in regard to the Kansas raids, there is no question that Custer succeeded in this pur­pose by attacking Black Kettle’s village. His instructions from his supe­riors had been “to destroy their villages and ponies; to kill or hang all warriors, and bring back all women and children.”


Part 2: The Approaching Genocide at Washita

Custer was pursuing the snow tracks of Dog Soldiers that would eventually lead to Black Kettle’s village on Thanksgiving Day in a cruel irony. The cruelest irony however, was that Black Kettle and his wife would be slain nearly four years to the day that they both escaped Chivington at the Sand Creek Massacre. Black Kettle’s honesty concerning young men in his village he could not control was of no avail. He and his village were going to be “punished” and broken beyond any immediate or distant recovery.

John Corbin, the messenger from Major Elliot, rode up and informed Custer of two large Indian snow tracks. One was recent. Preparations were then made to pursue the “savages” as covertly as possible. Smoking ceased and weapons were bound to prevent visual or aural detection. In addition, the 7th whispered and paused frequently as they rode slowly towards the future tracks that would lead to Black Kettle’s village. Simultaneously, Black Kettle received dire warnings that he and the others ignored. A Kiowa war party gave the first warning of having seen soldier’s tracks that were heading their direction. It was discounted. Black Kettle’s wife, Medicine Woman, gave another warning that night before the 7th’s arrival of an intuitive nature during the meeting in the Peace Chief’s lodge by firelight. She begged them to move immediately. It too was dismissed. They would move the next day, instead.

Black Kettle had already moved their camp recently, which the returning war party that had helped in the Kansas Raids learned upon their returning. November 25th found this war party dividing into two different directions in order to reach their destinations the quickest. Approximately 139 of them traveled to the big village on the river, while about 11 of them led Custer straight to Black Kettle. A bell around one dog’s neck enabled all the dogs to be located easily by the tribe, and after a Cheyenne baby cried, Custer pinpointed their exact location. He coordinated the attack to begin at dawn from four fronts.

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Thompson’s troops would attack to the North East, Myer’s and Custer’s troops positioned to attack to the East and South East, while Elliot would attack to the South.

Custer knew their mobility was greatly hampered in winter time; consequently, that was an important element in the “campaign.”

Part 3: The Genocide At Washita

The sensory components of the genocide at Washita in now Cheyenne, Oklahoma must be held in mind in order to capture the entire breadth of it. These are sound, smell, and sight. For example, the shrill crying of the noncombatant Cheyenne women and children, and the yelling of the charging 7th Calvary with their knives and guns would have been beyond deafening. And the fog with gunpowder smoke must have been worse than any nightmare, while the red blood – stained snow and the smell of death permeated the ground and air.


The Death & Vision of Moxtaveto ( Black Kettle)

A woman dashed into the village to warn Black Kettle of the coming troopers; he hastily snatched his rifle from his lodge and fired a warning shot for all to awaken and flee. If he had attempted to meet the soldiers and ask for peaceful negotiations, that would have been useless; as a result, he then mounted his horse with his wife, Woman Here After, and tried to escape through the North direction. His horse was shot in the leg before bullets knocked him and his wife off the horse and into the Washita River, where they both died together.


Source

“Both the chief and his wife fell at the river bank riddled with bullets,” one witness reported, “the soldiers rode right over Black Kettle and his wife and their horse as they lay dead on the ground, and their bodies were all splashed with mud by the charging soldiers.” Custer later reported that an Osage guide took Black Kettle’s scalp.


Stan Hiog. “The Peace Chiefs Of The Cheyenne.” p. 174

Moving Behind, a Cheyenne Woman, later stated: “There was a sharp curve in the river where an old road – crossing used to be. Indian men used to go there to water their ponies. Here we saw the bodies of Black Kettle and his wife, lying under the water. The horse they had ridden lay dead beside them. We observed that they had tried to escape across the river when they were shot.”

Location of  Black Kettle’s death


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Warriors, eleven who died, rushed out of their lodges with inferior firepower to defend the village. Simultaneously, the overall noncombatants ran for their lives into the freezing Washita River.



(Taken with permission)

The words of Ben Clark, Custer’s chief of scouts, brought the truth out after Custer distributed propaganda about one white woman and two white boys as having been hostages in Black Kettle’s village. There were no “hostages, a Cheyenne woman committed suicide. Speculating, here is why.

She didn’t want her son mutilated by Custer or a 7th Calvary soldier; she didn’t want her vagina ripped out and put on a stick, worn, or made into a tobacco pouch. So, she killed her son and herself first.


Jerome A. Greene. Washita. Chap.7. pp. 130-131

There, as the people fell at the hands of the troopers, one woman, in a helpless rage, stood up with her baby, held it out in an outstretched arm, and with the other drew a knife and fatally stabbed the infant – erroneously believed by the soldiers to be a white child. She then plunged the blade into her own chest in suicide.

(Location of the genocide at Washita, a few yards from Black Kettle’s death)

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The 7th hunted them down and murdered them. Although the orders were to “hang all warriors;” it was much more convenient to shoot them. All wounded Cheyenne were shot where they laid.

Osage scouts mutilated women and children. They did a “roundup” of their own by using tree limbs to herd the defenseless Cheyenne women and children back to the village, where the mutilations could continue. Custer halted the slaying of women and children at one point, but he raped them later in captivity.

One Osage scout beheaded a Cheyenne.


Jerome A. Greene. Washita. Chap.7. pp120

They (Osages) “shot down the women and mutilated their bodies, cutting off their arms, legs and breasts with knives.”

The 7th captured the Cheyenne and started bonfires. They burned the 51 lodges to the ground. Winter clothing that was depended upon for winter survival was incinerated in the flames, as was food supplies. Weapons and all lodge contents were burned also, including any sacred items.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Finally, 875 horses were shot, thus stripping away their last means of survival and independence.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Dee Brown. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.” P.170

Late in December the survivors of Black Kettle’s band began arriving at Fort Cobb –

Little Robe was now the nominal leader of the tribe, and was taken to see Sheridan he told the bearlike soldier chief that his people were starving – they had eaten all their dogs.

Sheridan replied that the Cheyennes would be fed if they all came into Fort Cobb and surrendered unconditionally. “You cannot make peace now and commence killing whites again in the spring.” Sheridan added, “If you are not willing to make a complete peace, you can go back and we will fight this thing out.”

Little Robe knew there was but one answer he could give.

“It is for you to say what we have to do,” he said.



American Holocaust

(It is worth noting also that the Fuhrer from time to time expressed admiration for the “efficiency” of the American genocide campaign against the Indians, viewing it as a forerunner for his own plans and programs.)

The Cheyenne women were “transported” by an officer named Romero to the other officers once they were prisoners at Fort Cobb.

Rape.

Custer “enjoyed one” every evening in the privacy of his tent. Presumably, he stopped raping the Cheyenne women when his wife arrived.


Source

Custer’s wife, Elizabeth (Bacon), whom he married in 1864, lived to the age of ninety-one. The couple had no children. She was devoted to his memory, wrote three books about him, and when she died in 1933 was buried beside him at West Point. Her Tenting on the Plains (1887) presents a charming picture of their stay in Texas. Custer’s headquarters building in Austin, the Blind Asylum, located on the “Little Campus” of the University of Texas, has been restored.


Jerome A. Greene. “Washita.” Chap. 8, p.169.

Ben Clack told Walter M. Camp: many of the squaws captured at Washita were used by the officers…Romero was put in charge of them and on the march Romero would send squaws around to the officers’ tents every night. [Clark] says Custer picked out a fine looking one and had her in his tent every night.”

This statement is more or less confirmed by Frederick Benteen, who in 1896 asserted that Custer selected Monahseetah/Meotzi from among the women prisoners and cohabited with her “during the winter and spring of 1868 and ’69” until his wife arrived in the summer of 1869. Although Benteen’s assertions regarding Custer are not always to be trusted, his statements nonetheless conform entirely to those of the reliable Ben Clark and thus cannot be ignored.”

Further information regarding accurate numbers of deaths, captives and list of names are in Jerome A. Greene’s wonderful book, “Washita.”

Source

We have been traveling through a cloud. The sky has been dark ever since the war began.

Black Kettle

Native Voices: Black Kettle


I did imagine hearing crying voices when I went to the site of the Washita Massacre a couple months ago, and before writing

Moxtaveto’s (Black Kettle’s) Extermination on November 27, 1868 & a Request. The elders say it’s haunted, like they said they could hear children cry at the Sand Creek Massacre.

To end this, I will quote former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell from the dedication of the Sand Creek Massacre, “If there were any savages that day, it was not the Indian people.”