Just after sunrise on December 28, 1864, the ragtag troops, lead by a former clergyman, Col. John M. Chivington, found a quiet encampment of Cheyenne and Arapaho families along Sand Creek. Here they had set up their teepees as ordered by posts commander at Fort Lyon, to whom they had surrender two months earlier. The leader at Sand Creek was the Cheyenne peace chief, Black Kettle.Quotes:"As soon as he saw the soldiers coming, Black Kettle called out to them and tried to talk, and raised an American Flag up on a pole and moved it back and forth hoping the soldiers would stop. But they did not." -–John Stands in Timber, Northern CheyenneIn a matter of minutes Chivington delivered his infamous battle cry—“Kill them all, big and small, nits make lice.”—and his men attacked. Young and old, male and female, every Indian was fair game. A seventy-year-old war chief named White Antelope sang his death song—Nothing lives long, except the earth and the mountains—before he crumpled under a hail of bullets.
"I saw the bodies of those lying there cut all to pieces," an eyewitness later testified, "worse mutilated than any I ever saw before, the women all cut to pieces... Children two or three months old; all ages lying there, from sucking infants up to warriors." Of 123 dead, nearly 100 were women and children.
"I am a red man. If the Great Spirit had desired me to be a white man he would have made me so in the first place. Now we are poor but we are free. No white man controls our footsteps. If we must die we die defending our rights." --Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Sioux
"I am alone in the world. I want to live in these mountains; I do not want to go to Tularosa. That is a long way off. The bad spirits live there. I have drunk of these waters and they have cooled me. I do not want to leave here." --Cochise, Chiricahua Apache
"Speak, Americans...I will not lie to you; do not lie to me." --Cochise, Chiricahua Apache
"If we possessed such large canoes, we would follow you to your land and conquer it, for we too are men." --Unknown Native to a Spaniard after De Soto's raids.
"I have a little boy....If he is not dead, tell him the last words of his father were that he must never go beyond the Father of Waters, but die in the land of his birth. It is sweet to die in one's native land and be buried by the margin of one's native stream." --Tsali, Cherokee shaman, awaiting execution, 1838
"We are exceedingly tired. We have just heard of the ratification of the Choctaw Treaty. Our doom is sealed. There is no other course for us but to turn our faces to our new homes toward the setting sun." --David Folsom, Choctaw, 1830
"We had no churches, no religious organizations, no sabbath day, no holidays, and yet we worshiped. Sometimes the whole tribe would assemble to sing or pray; sometimes in a small number, perhaps only two or three. Sometimes we prayed in silence, sometimes each one prayed aloud." --Geronimo, Apache war chief
"Today is a good day to fight—today is a good day to die." --Crazy Horse, Oglala Sioux
"We did not ask you white men to come here. We do not want your civilization—we would live as our fathers did and their fathers before them." --Crazy Horse, Oglala Sioux
For more Friday's Forgotten Books, go to Patti Abbott's blog here.