A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sand by Ari Kelman

By Ari Kelman

Within the early morning of November 29, 1864, with the destiny of the Union nonetheless doubtful, a part of the 1st Colorado and the vast majority of the 3rd Colorado volunteer regiments, commanded via Colonel John Chivington, shocked 1000's of Cheyenne and Arapaho humans camped at the banks of Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado Territory. greater than one hundred fifty local american citizens have been slaughtered, nearly all of them girls, youngsters, and the aged, making it the most notorious situations of state-sponsored violence in U.S. background. A lost bloodbath examines the ways that generations of usa citizens have struggled to return to phrases with the which means of either the assault and its aftermath, such a lot publicly on the 2007 commencing of the Sand Creek bloodbath nationwide old Site.

This web site opened after a protracted and remarkably contentious making plans approach. local american citizens, Colorado ranchers, students, Park carrier staff, and politicians alternately argued and allied with each other round the query of no matter if the nation’s crimes, in addition to its achievements, may be memorialized. Ari Kelman finds the tales of these who lived throughout the atrocity, in addition to those that grappled with its troubling legacy, to bare how the intertwined histories of the conquest and colonization of the yankee West and the U.S. Civil struggle left enduring nationwide scars.

Combining painstaking learn with storytelling priceless of a unique, A lost bloodbath probes the intersection of historical past and reminiscence, laying naked the methods differing teams of american citizens come to understand a shared prior.

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Extra resources for A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sand Creek

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28 Chivington’s testimony, a regional document with national implications, emerged out of that silence. Before the Civil War, most observers a perfect mob 17 had assumed that Indians, crippled by inferior racial stock, would vanish when faced with white settlers. Events like Sand Creek clouded such visions. The transition from savagery to civilization would apparently be bloodier. Chivington, hinting that the federal officials investigating Sand Creek possessed effete eastern sensibilities misplaced in the rough-and-tumble West, explained that his troops had understood the real problem.

Remembered in that way, the Civil War occupied a sanctified place in the American imagination and served the interests of federal authorities. The conflict was a tragedy that consumed the lives of more than 600,000 men, but those deaths had not been in vain. Through shared sacrifice, the nation unshackled itself from the institution of slavery, redeeming itself in blood. Linking such transcendent recollections of a noble war fought in freedom’s name to the murder and dispossession of indigenous people, to racial animosities rather than to soaring rhetoric of egalitarianism, to ill-trained cavalrymen committing atrocities rather than to volunteer soldiers lionized in American culture for fighting for their country, risked sullying popular conceptions of the Civil War.

To answer her critics, Musgrave relied in her speech, as Brownback had in his, on a rhetoric of Christian redemption. But instead of apologizing for her own or her nation’s sins, she congratulated the audience (and herself) for mourning the dead: “We’re doing what good people do. 22 a m i s p l a c e d m a s s a c r e We’re remembering the wrongs. We’re regretting. ” She implied that penitents could shed the sins of history simply by visiting the memorial. 36 The past would not be laid to rest so easily.

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