A Massacre, A Park,
A Farce...
by JS Dill

Wounded Knee. December 29, 1890.

A keg of whiskey. Hotchkiss guns.

Retribution for Custer's demise. A King of Thieves.

Issues, names so common almost a cause to ignore.



Move on, along.


Chief Spotted Elk. The one of Big Feet. Pneumonia. A peaceful man...certified by Wasichu!

The Ghost Dance. A peaceful dance...certified by Wasichu!

Anger felt! How to cope?! To deal? A clenching, gritting, tooth on tooth?

Suicide? Despair? Ah...poor Richard Cardinal.

Dewey Beard. Wasee Maza. Zintkala Nuni. Stolen children.

The general's presents of food in great quantity opened a path that led to the Wounded Knee orphan. When they found the child, the disguised general stepped forward. Black-haired, dark-complexioned, standing erect, eyes hypnotic with conviction and pride, Leonard Colby spoke through an unknown interpreter:
I am a Seneca Indian - my grandmother was a full blood Seneca. I have brought food on behalf of my tribe for your children. I rescued the child who survived the massacre at Wounded Knee. Take pity on me and my wife. We have no children of our own. I want to give this child to my wife. We will take good care of her...
When Colby reached for the child in the Grandmother's arms, she resisted and cried out, 'Zinkala Nuni! Zinkala Nuni!' [Lost Bird, Lost Bird] But she finally released her hold on the sleeping child. Colby looked Indian. He did not appear frightened and ill at ease like a white man with one eyebrow raised. And perhaps it was better to let her go...just to make sure she had food and clothing...The grieving people turned away." Lost Bird of Wounded Knee, Renee Sansome Flood, ISBN 0-684-19512-7
Mass graves. Lost land. Hearts broken. A shattered hoop.

A healing proposed by those that caused and continue to honor the assault? Their medals? Their honors? Their rights of war? And, now their gall?

A statue. White. Wasichu born the sculptress. No. Their hand no more. No right, no Justice to that. No more must be...ought to be, for whatever reason. No!

On what foundation this Park? Whose land to provide such? 1,800 acres. So much so stolen. Theirs of course...the theft continues. In trust? Creator help us.

Build the park, on blood, on bones. Solve the problem...a gun to the head, Janklow said. Never forget.

A never ending story. Theft. Betrayal. Continuing assaults on The People. Subtlety. Silence. Apathy. Infighting.

In the Fort Laramie Treaty of April 29, 1868 it was pledged by Wasichu that the Great Sioux Reservation, including the Black Hills, would be

'set apart for the absolute and undisturbed use and occupation of the Indians named herein...it established the Great Sioux Reservation, a tract of land [comprising most of South Dakota west of the Missouri River] in addition to certain reservations already existing east of the Missouri. The United States 'solemnly agree[d]' that no unauthorized persons 'shall ever be permitted to pass over, settle upon, or reside in [this] territory.
But there was gold in the Black Hills. So the Army went in under Custer, Son of the Morning Star (a great book by the way), and as a result of his "descriptions of the mineral and timber resources of the Black Hills, and the land's suitability for grazing and cultivation...," the Wasichu masses started chomping at the bit, wanting in.

On the one hand Wasichu attempted to enforce the Laramie Treaty, on the other Congress was petitioned to "open up the country for settlement, by extinguishing the treaty rights of Indians." The Army then backed off on trying to keep prospectors out of the Black Hills, in effect giving them the green light to swarm where they had no right to go.

Note [as provided by Wanbli Sapa]:

Confidential ...Nov. 9th, (187)5

My dear Gen. Terry,

At a meeting which occurred in Washington on the 3rd of November [1875], at which were present, the President of the United States, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of War and myself, the President decided that while the orders heretofore issued forbidding the occupation of the Black Hills country, by miners, should not be rescinded, still no further resistance by the military should be made to the miners going in: it being his belief that such resistance only increased their desire and complicated the troubles.

Will you therefore quietly cause the troops in your Department to assume such attitudes as will meet the views of the President in this respect.

Your truly (signed)

P.H. Sheridan , Lieut. General


Supreme Court Briefs, Petition for Writ of Certiorari at 59, U.S. vs. Sioux Nation, Citation 488 U.S. 378 (1980).

Lt. General Philip H. Heridan, Commander, Division of Missouri, to Brig. General A.H. Terry, commander, Department of Dakota, November 9, 1875 (Letterpress copy. Confidential), Sheridan MSS., Library of Congress

An attempt to purchase mining rights was made. The Sioux rejected an offer of an annual rental fee of $400,000 per year or a one time payment of $6 million for absolute relinquishment of the Black Hills. They wanted a minimum of $70 million. Negotiations failed...

That the abrogation of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie was a farce is no secret. As per Federal Indian Law-Cases and Materials, Getches, Wilkinson and Williams, Jr. pp.359-360:

A commission headed by George Maypenny, arrived in the Sioux country in early September [1876] and commenced meetings with the head men of the various tribes...The commissioners brought with them the text of a treaty that had been prepared in advance. The principal provisions of this treaty were that the Sioux should relinquish their rights to the Black Hills and other lands west of the one hundred and third meridian, and their rights to hunt in the unceded territories to the north, in exchange for subsistence rations as long as they would be needed to insure the Sioux survival. In setting out to obtain the tribes' agreement to this treaty, the commissioners ignored the stipulation of the Fort Laramie Treaty that any cession of the lands contained within the Great Sioux Reservation would have to be joined in by three-fourths of the adult males. Instead, the treaty was signed by only 10 percent of the adult male Sioux population.
Congress resolved the impasse [read that as patently illegal act] by enacting the 1876 'agreement' into law as the Act of Feb. 28, 1877. The Act had the effect of abrogating the earlier Fort Laramie Treaty, and of implementing the terms of the Maypenny Commission's 'agreement' with the Sioux leaders. "The passage of the 1877 Act legitimized the settlers' invasion of the Black Hills..."


First, it is not a clear proposition that savages can, for any consideration, enter into contract obligatory upon them. They stand by the law of nations, when trafficking with the civilized part of mankind, in the situation of infants, incapable of entering into contracts, especially for the sale of their country. Should this be denied, it may then be asserted that no monarch of a nation (that is, no sachem, chief, or headmen, or assemblage of sachems, etc.) has a power to transfer by sale the country, that is, the soil of the nation, over which they rule...History of Maryland, p. 569

There are moralists who have questioned the right of Europeans to intrude upon the possessions of the aborigines in any case and under any limitations whatsoever. But have they maturely considered the whole subject? The Indian right of possession itself stands, with regard to the greatest part of the country, upon a questionable foundation. Their cultivated fields, their constructed habitations, a space of ample sufficiency for their subsistence, and whatever they had annexed to themselves by personal labor, was undoubtedly by the law of nature theirs. But what is the right of the huntsman to the forest of a thousand miles over which he has accidentally ranged in quest of prey? Shall the liberal bounties of Providence to the race of man be monopolized by one of ten thousand for whom they were created? Shall the exuberant bosom of the common mother, amply adequate to the nourishment of millions, be claimed exclusively by a few hundreds of her offspring? Shall the lordly savage not only disdain the virtues and enjoyments of civilization himself, but shall he control the civilization of a world? Shall he forbid the wilderness to blossom like the rose? Shall he forbid the oaks of the forest to fall before the ax of industry and rise again transformed into the habitations of ease and elegance? Shall he doom an immense region of the globe to perpetual desolation, and to hear the howlings of the tiger and the wolf silence forever the voice of human gladness? Shall the fields and the valleys which a beneficent God has framed to teem with the life of innumerable multitudes be condemned to everlasting barrenness? Shall the mighty rivers, poured out by the hands of nature as channels of communication between numerous nations, roll their waters in sullen silence and eternal solitude to the deep? Have hundreds of commodious harbors, a thousand leagues of coast, and a boundless ocean been spread in the front of this land, and shall every purpose of utility to which they could apply be prohibited by the tenant of the woods? No, generous philanthropists! Heaven has not been thus inconsistent in the works of its hands. Heaven has not thus placed at irreconcilable strife its moral laws with its physical creation... John Quincy Adams, December 22, 1802
Long before the Laramie Treaty farce, Wasichu had established that it was his law that mattered. A law that was arbitrary, convenient, and entirely concocted to serve the interests of the colonizers:

I quote Chief Justice Marshall [again!], generally regarded as the foundation layer of Federal Indian Law. This from Johnson v. M'Intosh, 1832, 340 years after the Admiral of the Ocean Sea (Columbus) hit the beach...

On the discovery of the immense continent, the great nations of Europe were eager to appropriate to themselves so much of it as they could respectively acquire. Its vast extent offered an ample field to the ambition and enterprise of all; and the character and religion of its inhabitants afforded an apology for considering them as a people over whom the superior genius of Europe might claim an ascendancy. The potentates of the old world [and the new] found no difficulty in convincing themselves, that they made ample compensation to the inhabitants of the new, by bestowing on them civilization and Christianity, in exchange for unlimited independence.
Of course, inherent here is the "given" that "civilization and Christianity" were filling a void and that the "compensation" and legitimacy of the "bestowing" was anything other than a fantasy, which of course it certainly was.

The dear Justice goes on:

But as they were all in pursuit of nearly the same object, it was necessary, in order to avoid conflicting settlements, and consequent war with each other, to establish a principle, which all should acknowledge as the law by which the right of acquisition, which they all asserted, should be regulated, as between themselves. The principle was, that the discovery [of America] gave title to the government by whose subjects, or by whose authority, it was made, against all other European governments, which title might be consummated by possession. The exclusion of all other Europeans, necessarily gave to the nation making the discovery the sole right of acquiring the soil from the natives, and establishing settlements on it.
...Conquest gives a title which the courts of the conqueror cannot deny, whatever the private and speculative opinions of individuals may be, respecting the original justice of the claim which has been successfully asserted. ...The title by conquest is acquired and maintained by force. The conqueror prescribes its limits.
What's my point here? Well, it's just to underline that the very legal foundation of the Wasichu/First Nations relationship is based upon the opinion that
...the tribes of Indians inhabiting this country were fierce savages, whose occupation was war, and whose subsistence was drawn chiefly from the forest. [That] to leave them in possession of their country, was to leave the country a wilderness; to govern them as a distinct people, was impossible, because they were as brave and as high-spirited as they were fierce, and were ready to repel by arms every attempt on their independence.
Because there was no way in hell Wasichu could deal with such people, because there was no precedent...he resorted to a "new and different rule, better adapted to the actual state of things..." Simply put, he rewrote the book.

We're talking perspective here. Cut in stone with blood as lubricant. Acts never to be forgiven. Facts. Never to be wiped away.

Never. No. Never.


On a day so bright it seemed to hide no secrets, the 500 or so landless men, women and children of Santa Elina thought they had won in their occupation of a virgin forest belonging to an estate more vast than Manhattan and the Bronx combined. Faces painted with coal, brandishing sticks, slingshots, sickles and chain saws, they had faced down the military police sent to evict them, and drawn hope from a hint that they might win the soil of their common dreams. Euphoric after 24 days together, the homesteaders hugged, lit firecrackers and raised their hunting rifles to the sky. But the scene just a mile away would have stopped their celebration cold. Soldiers were pitching tents and unloading ammunition and tear gas. Some strolled with machine guns on their shoulders.
That night, the military police, bolstered, witnesses said, by hired guns working for local landowners and a special forces team wearing black ski masks, stormed the encampment in a surprise attack.
The police battered and killed the squatters, using women as human shields and torturing, executing and stomping on prisoners, according to victims and medical and autopsy reports. They shot a 6-year-old girl dead as she tried to walk to safety by a towering tree, forced one prisoner to eat soil mixed with his blood and another to eat the brains spilling from a battered corpse they had ordered him to carry, the victims said....The New York Times,Date: Tuesday, 19 September 1995
Pain. Despair. A People - THE FIRST PEOPLE! - devoid of Justice, Rights. Gone. Wiped away as cleanly as one might wipe images from a slate.

A People rolled over, and on, as a bug might be by the stomp of a heavy boot. Each not understanding the impedus of the other.

The pain..., the loss...

The First Nations/First Peoples stood no chance. Never. Ever. Not from that first outstretched hand fair taken in good will. Oh Creator, we rue that day!

Who's to know?

Who's to care, til time numbs? Til time allows the truly "righteous" and deserving their day in that Sun provided by the Lord of Lords? Til that time when Justice might prevail and His will be done?


On the eight of November, 1519, Hernando Cortes and four hundred Spanish soldiers...approached the Aztec Byzantium-Tenochtitlan, Mexico City." The city was scattered with "great aviaries where thousands of birds white egrets, energetic wrens and thrushes, fierce accipiters, brilliantly colored parrots were housed and tended. They were captivating, as fabulous, as the displays of flowers: vermilion flycatchers, coppertailed trogons, green jays, blue-throated hummingbirds, and summer tanagers. Great blue herons, brooding condors.
Three months later, because of "Cortes's psychological manipulation of Montezuma and a concomitant arrogance, greed, and disrespect on the part of the Spanish military force had become too much for the Mexicans, and they drove them out." Eleven months later a vengeful Cortes returned to lay siege to the city.

On June 16 [1521] in a move calculated to humiliate and frighten the Mexican people, Cortes set fire to the aviaries."

I say again...and do remember these words:

...the First Nations/First Peoples must come to grips with the reality of life in the Wasichu Sea. I suggest that one must define terms and establish a fresh legal environment within which Wasichu can be held accountable for past and present fictions:

Today, principles and rules generated from this Old World discourse of conquest are cited by the West's domestic and international courts of law to deny indigenous nations the freedom and dignity to govern themselves according to their own vision. Thus as a first step toward the decolonization of the West's law respecting the American Indian, the Doctrine of discovery must be rejected. It permits the West to accomplish by law and in good conscience what it accomplished by the sword in earlier eras: the physical and spiritual destruction of indigenous people... The American Indian in Western Legal Thought, The Discourses of Conquest, Rober A. Williams, Jr., paper, ISBN 0-19-508002-5
Oh Creator...The People need an avalance of Justice, a rolling of the ground such as Wovoka predicted, a cleansing, a return to the Right... a Justice recovered, long lost.

We need...we need.

Oh Creator, we need...


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