Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sand Creek disobedience and heroism

Image by Howling Wolf
Amid the post-election chatter, there's been some discussion of the likely response if the new President were to issue illegal orders (specifically, concerning waterboarding and other forms of torture). Consider this powerful essay by Prof. Billy J. Stratton concerning two U.S. Army officers (Capt. Silas Soule and Lieut. Joseph Cramer of the 1st Colorado) who disobeyed orders in the course of the Nov. 29, 1864 Sand Creek Massacre. Prof. Stratton writes:
These were men who rejected the violence and genocide inherent in the “conquest of the West.” They did so by personally refusing to take part in the murder of peaceful people, while ordering the men under their command to stand down. Their example breaks the conventional frontier narrative that has come to define the clash between Colonial settlers and Native peoples as one of civilization versus savagery.
The victims were members of the Arapaho and Cheyenne Tribes.

H/T to Prof. Matthew L.M. Fletcher's Turtle Talk blog for the link.

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