ANNIVERSARIES OF KNOWN MASSACRES
OF NATIVE AMERICANS IN THE U.S.,
NOVEMBER – JANUARY
It is notable that the anniversaries of several of the worst of injustices against the Indigenous First Nations occur around during America’s holiday season, between Thanksgiving (which is in Native American Heritage Month) and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration in January. (We also note that several of these incidents, far from being a complete list, occurred during the Civil War, greatly overshadowed by the nation’s main focus of attention on the North-South conflict.)
The heartfelt gratitude and joy that we celebrate every year during this time are not diminished by the power of knowledge. On the contrary, like all human beings we are only more empowered by knowing the history of the land that sustains us, and the human dramas which have shaped the world we know today. For this reason, this remembrance is included here as part of the FBHRP’s Mission.
Nov. 26, 1868
“Battle” of Washita, attack by U.S. forces on a Cheyenne Arapaho camp, led by Gen. Geo. A. Custer, in which principal Chief Black Kettle is killed, four years after the Sand Creek massacre (see Nov. 29, 1864, below) .
Nov. 29, 1864
Sand Creek Massacre: On Nov. 29, 1864, as Union armies fought through Virginia and Georgia, Col. John Chivington led some 700 cavalry troops in an unprovoked attack on peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho villagers at Sand Creek in Colorado. They murdered nearly 200 women, children, and older men. Black Kettle had displayed an American flag to signal that they were “friendly,” but to no avail.
Dec. 20, 1786
Hanging of the youngest person in US history, Hannah Ocuish, described as a “half-breed Indian girl,” at age 12 years and 9 months, for allegedly murdering a 6-year-old white girl.
(Related to above: Dec. 21, 1855:
“Lynching of 19-year-old CELIA, enslaved mother, who was executed for killing her rapist “master” Robert Newsome in Fulton, Missouri.)
Dec. 26, 1862
Mankato Massacre: The largest mass execution in US history, takes place with the simultaneous hanging of 38 Dakota men (of 303 convicted, who rebelled against broken treaty promises and unlivable conditions) in Mankato, MN, by order of Abraham Lincoln.
Dec. 29, 1890
Wounded Knee Massacre, Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota: At least 200 killed, mostly women, elderly, and children,; 51 wounded, at Pine Ridge Reservation on South Dakota.
Jan. 23, 1870
Massacre of Piegan village in Montana, 173 killed, including 90 women and girls. (reported a month later in the NY Times, Feb. 22, 1870)
ONLINE LINKS TO FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THESE KNOWN MASSACRES
- Washita Massacre link:
- Sand Creek Massacre Links:
- Mankato Massacre Links:
(NOTE: This account of the largest mass execution in U.S. history provides nothing of the background circumstances which led to this event. It mentions “murder” and “massacre” by the “Indians” but nothing of their own grievances, which were many, to say the least.)