Remembering the Soldiers who Said No to Command to Massacres


Remembering the US soldiers who refused orders to murder Native Americans at Sand Creek

By Stephen Fox

As we ponder whether there will be any kind of just resolution in North Dakota with the Pipeline issue, and as we await any news about the 21 year old woman who was hit with a projectile and may have to have her arm amputated after being helicoptered to Minneapolis, I am honored to present this article sent to me by one of my best Native Artists, George Curtis Levi, Southern Cheyenne.

Click here to see George Levi’s images of the Sand Creek Massacre as ledger art are in this video produced by Colorado PBS.

As we ponder whether there will be any kind of just resolution in North Dakota with the Pipeline issue, and as we await any news about the 21 year old woman who was hit with a projectile and may have to have her arm amputated after being helicoptered to Minneapolis, I am honored to present this article sent to me by one of my best Native Artists, George Curtis Levi, Southern Cheyenne.

George has done so much ledger art, lecturing, and videotaping on this grim subject that Smithsonian’s Native magazine gave him and his cousin a 14 page spread not long ago.

Here are two of his images:

One Colorado Morning, exhibited at the Clark County Historical Museum:

click here

see also: click here

This one depicts Captain Soule, who stands out as one of the few honorable men in those times:

click here

This is the massacre on November 29, 1864, that really makes Custer with his egregious genocide seem like an altar boy when compared to Colonel John Chivington of the Sand Creek, a Methodist minister who declared once that his religion was killing Indians.

Colorado’s Governor Evans, after the outcry in his own legislature, had to step down, and we think something similar should occur with North Dakota’s Governor Dalrymple, even if he is NOT prosecuted by the next administration’s Department of Justice. Google George Curtis Levi and Sand Creek Massacre to read that moving story, and there is a whole chapter on it in that great historical classic, BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE.

In one of its better moments, even the New York Times managed to publish an opinion/editorial on Sand Creek a few years ago by Ned Blackhawk, a professor of history and American studies at Yale and the coordinator of the Yale Group for the Study of Native America, is the author of “Violence Over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West:

click here

Thank you so much for sending this to me, George Levi, just in time for people to think about over Thanksgiving.

Remembering the US soldiers who refused orders to murder Native Americans at Sand Creek

click here

Excerpts from the superb article by (Professor of Native American studies/contemporary American literature, University of Denver)

“While the Sand Creek massacre has been the subject of numerous books, much less attention has been given to two heroes of this horrific event: U.S. soldiers Captain Silas Soule and Lt. Joseph Cramer.

These were men who rejected the violence and genocide inherent in the “conquest of the West.” They did so by personally refusing to take part in the murder of peaceful people, while ordering the men under their command to stand down.

Their example breaks the conventional frontier narrative that has come to define the clash between Colonial settlers and Native peoples as one of civilization versus savagery.

This is a theme I’ve previously addressed as a scholar in the fields of American Indian studies and Colonial history, both in my book on the Indian captivity narrative genre, “Buried in Shades of Night,” and more recently in writings on Sand Creek.

The letters of Soule and Cramer

Soule’s noble act of compassion at Sand Creek is humbly conveyed in a letter to his mother included in the Denver Public Library Western History Collections: “I was present at a Massacre of three hundred Indians mostly women and children” It was a horrible scene and I would not let my Company fire.”

Refusing to participate, Soule and the men of Company D of the First Colorado, along with Cramer of Company K, bore witness to the incomprehensible. Chivington’s attack soon descended into a frenzy of killing and mutilation, with soldiers taking scalps and other grisly trophies from the bodies of the dead.

Soule was a devoted abolitionist and one dedicated to the rights of all people. He stayed true to his convictions in the face of insults and even a threat of hanging from Chivington the night before at Fort Lyon.

In the following weeks, Soule and Cramer wrote letters to Major Edwin “Ned” Wyncoop, the previous commander at Fort Lyon who had dealt fairly with the Cheyenne and Arapaho. Both harshly condemned the massacre and the soldiers who carried it out.

Soule’s letter details a meeting among officers on the eve of the attack in which he fervently condemned Chivington’s plans asserting “that any man who would take part in the murders, knowing the circumstances as we did, was a low lived cowardly son of a b*tch.”

Describing the attack to Wynkoop, Soule wrote, “I refused to fire and swore that none but a coward would.” His letter goes on to describe the soldiers as “a perfect mob.”

This account is verified by Cramer’s letter. Detailing his own objections to Chivington, whom he describes as coming “like a thief in the dark,” Cramer had stated that he “thought it murder to jump them friendly Indians.”

To this charge, Chivington had replied, “Damn any man or men who are insympathy with them.”

 

Submitters Website: https://www.facebook.com/groups/592985284186083/

Submitters Bio:

I have most recently started a Facebook group: Bernie Sanders: Advice and Strategies to Help Him Win! As the primary season advanced, we shifted the focus to advancing Bernie’s legislation in the Senate, particularly the most critical one, to protect Oak Flat, sacred to the San Carlos Apaches, in the Tonto National Forest, from John McCain’s efforts to privatize this national forest and turn it over to Rio Tinto Mining, an Australian mining company whose record by comparison makes Monsanto look like altar boys, to be developed as North America’s largest copper mine. This is monstrous and despicable, and yet only Bernie’s Save Oak Flat Act (S2242) stands in the way of this diabolical plan. I am an art gallery owner in Santa Fe in 1980 selling Native American painting and NM landscapes, specializing in modern Native Ledger Art. I have always been intensely involved in politics, going back to the mid’s 1970’s, being a volunteer lobbyist in the US Senate for the Secretary General of the United Nations, then “snowball-in-hell” campaign for US Senate in NM in the late 70’s, and for the past 15 years have worked extensively to pressure the FDA to rescind its approval for aspartame, the neurotoxic artificial sweetener metabolized as formaldehyde. Bills to ban aspartame were in the State Senates of New Mexico and Hawaii, but were shut down by corporate lobbyists (particularly Monsanto lobbyists in Hawaii and Coca Cola lobbyists in New Mexico). For several year I was the editor of New Mexico Sun News, and my letters to the editor and op/eds have appeared in NM, California, Wisconsin, New York, Maryland, the Christian Science Monitor, USA Today,and many international papers, on the subject of consumer protection. Our best issue was 10 days before Obama won in 2008, when we published a special early edition of the paper declaring that Obama Wins! This was the top story on CNN for many hours, way back then…. My highest accomplishment was a UN Resolution to create a new Undersecretary General for Nutrition and Consumer Protection, strongly supported by Indian and 53 cosponsoring nations, but shut down by the US Mission to the UN in 2008. To read it, google UNITED NATIONS UNDERSECRETARY GENERAL FOR NUTRITION, please. If Bernie wins, that may still come to pass. In my capacity as Editor of the Santa Fe Sun News, Fox interviewed Mikhail Gorbachev: http://www.prlog.org/10064349-mikhail-gorbachev

Back

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s