An hour of TV or something of value?


Here is something off topic: Today is the 150th anniversary of a dark day in US history. Tonight you could watch a hour of worthless TV news or you could invest an hour in learning about the Sand Creek Massacre.



Sand Creek is in eastern Colorado. On this date in 1864, a large encampment of peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho were attacked there in a premeditated raid executed by 700 cavalrymen. Accounts differ on the total number killed, but all sides agreed on two points: most of the victims were women and children, and a number of the cavalrymen mutilated the bodies of the victims, including scalping women and children, and these were later put on public display. It is not a pleasant story, but one that adult Americans should know at least was well as the plot of their favorite TV sit-com.


Although many people were appalled, and there was a federal investigation, no charges were filed against the man who planned and led the attack, Col. John Chivington, who was ironically also a Methodist pastor. The man who testified against him was assassinated weeks later. The attack eliminated the peaceful leadership of the tribes and empowered those willing to fight to the death. Chivington’s actions greatly prolonged a bloody conflict.


Sand Creek is thought of as the start of the last phase of warfare against native Americans. It ends with the massacre at Wounded Knee, on December 29th 1890, twenty six years later. That may sound like ancient history, but consider this: I was born 72 years to the day after Wounded Knee. That is within someone’s living memory; My Father joined the US Navy as a 17 year old, 73 years ago, and today he can tell you anything you would like to know about 1943. Most Americans have short attention spans.  I fear that Native Americans do not.




When I was small, I read Hal Borland’s When the legends die. A few years later I read Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Both are well worth reading and considering. In recent years I read Jared Diamond’s Guns Germs and Steel, it provides a scientific/historic look at what happens when cultures clashed in world history. -ww.






One Reply to “An hour of TV or something of value?”

  1. The aggrieved always have a long memory.

    Muslims know the history of the Crusades very well, as do the Jews, and even Eastern Orthodox Christians, who were all attacked and murdered by the Christians from Rome.

    Christians, of course, remember the attacks on them by the Muslims, and that an attempt was made to “save” the Holy Land for Christianity. The term “Crusade” has a completely different connotation in the Middle East than it does in the West. In modern terms, to them, it means “ethnic cleansing by Christians.”

    Jews know the history of the pogroms and the Holocaust, and the Inquisition very well.

    Protestants and Catholics know the murderous acts of the other side perpetrated against them.

    The Chinese, Koreans, and people of nations all over the Pacific know the story of the Japanese attempt to conquer and hold the territory they acquired for their “greater co-prosperity sphere.” All of the allies know of the brutality of the Japanese military towards all who opposed them or were captured, conquered, or enslaved by Japan.

    The Soviets know the story of the Nazi brutality when they conquered Eastern Europe, and the Germans know not only of the Soviet treatment of German POWs, but also by other allied troops..

    The Armenians do not forget the killing of their group by the Turks.

    Blacks know the history of lynchings, segregation, Jim Crow, and segregation very well.

    The list, unfortunately, goes on and on, and those committing stupid or evil acts will minimize them or claim that they are no longer relevant, all in past, hence irrelevant in today’s world or that the history doesn’t need to be brought up..

    “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

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