Who won the Presidential Election and will take over as the 45th president? That might seem like a silly question, but Georgia resident Joe Chandler still has no idea and plans to keep it that way. He tells reporters that it is “very peaceful in my bubble of ignorance”. Chandler has avoided all television, internet, and newspapers in an effort to avoid the news. When he has to go out he wears a sign that says “I don’t know who won the election, please don’t tell me!” He also wears headphones and listens to music constantly just in case some wiseguy decides to shout it out. We hope you enjoy these brief moments of levity on this edition of the Puyallup Native Podcast, because immediate;y following this we go straight into remembering the Sand Creek Massacre which occurred on November 29th, 154 years ago. Listen to the entire show by downloading the audio file directly here.
Learn about the history and events leading up to the 1864 Massacre at Sand Creek, including the two men who opposed the Colonel in charge of the military troops responsible for killing between 200-300 unarmed Natives, 2/3 of which were women and children. The native encampment was attempting to negotiate a truce after a recent treaty signing had reduced their reservation to 7.7% of its previous size, and angry groups of rogue Native men called the “Dog Soldiers” had killed a number of ranchers and settlers without permission from their tribes. The Colorado government issued orders to respond to these incidents, which of course they followed through on by attacking tribal villages who had absolutely nothing to do with the Dog Soldiers. This is what prompted Chiefs Black Kettle and White Antelope to talk to the US Government about beginning truce talks. They were directed to camp in a particular spot, and raised white flags as well as an American flag to signify that they were friendly.
Colonel Chivington however, had other ideas. He looked down upon the peaceful camp and saw a victory ripe for the picking. That is when two army officers, Captain Silas Soule & Lt. Joseph Cramer expressed some serious concerns about what Chivington was planning to do. Lt Cramer expressed his anger and told Chivington that if the Natives were here to open peace talks, it might actually be wrong to attack them. To sneak attack friendly Indians under the cover of darkness as they slept, was in fact murder most foul. Chivington very reasonably replied, “DAMN YOU AND ANY MEN WHO SYMPATHIZE WITH YOU!!!!”. Captain Soule told all who were present at the meeting that he and his men would refuse to fire in any way upon a peaceful encampment, and that any man who took part in these murders, especially knowing the circumstances, was a low lived cowardly son-of-a-bitch. Chivington began hurling prafanity laced insults and threatened to have both men hanged for failing to follow orders. Soule & Cramer still refused, and convinced a good portion of the men there that day to follow them in their efforts to save as many of the Indians as possible.
Captain Soule later wrote that “it was extremely difficult to see small children on their knees have their brains beaten out by a group of men claiming to be civilized”. Although Colonel Chivington was initially hailed as a hero for his actions (he lied about them to make himself out to be heroic), subsequent investigations spurred by reports of the truth revealed him to be a liar. None of the men involved in the massacre were ever punished, but the careers were ruined of both Chivington and Colorado Governor John Evans. Captain Soule testified in military court against Chivington, and less than two months later was murdered on the corner of 15th and Lawrence in Denver, Colorado where in 2010 a plaque was placed to commemorate his bravery.
Because of the actions of Soule and Cramer, there are Natives living today who would not exist if they had not stood up to the Colonel and made efforts to save their ancestors from the slaughter. Even now, the Sand Creek Massacre is the only one officially recognized by the U.S Government. Men like these who were brave enough to stand up to violence and instead attempt to save life are exactly the kind we should never forget, and look to for inspiration in our own lives any time we are called upon to to do something which we know in our hearts is wrong. As anyone who listens to our show knows, the description you read here is a very shortened version. If you want to hear the full story, along with our comments and reactions, download the full audio file here.
To end the show we speak a little about the DAPL and the recent events involving water cannons and tear gas by the police, and it now appears Native Americans have been raising domesticated turkeys for food, feathers, and tools as far back as the year 1200. That is the show for this week, click the links to download the show and listen to more STIMULATING Native talk radio. Share the show with your friends and other natives on Facebook! We also appreciate getting reviews about the show, which you can leave via the website or on iTunes.
Cliff and Brandon are both registered members of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians and host the Tribal Podcast each and every week with all our past episodes available online at nativetalk.net. They talk about native issues in the news and anything of interest to Native Americans! See you all next week!