Subject: Indian/Sand Creek plaque at Colorado State Capitol stolen

(Please see Ray’s update below–the plaque has been found.   – promoted by Middle of the Road)

An appeal from Glenn Morris

From: Glenn Morris

Date: Wed, Jun 23, 2010 at 10:29 PM

Subject: Indian/Sand Creek plaque at Colorado State Capitol stolen

Hello, AIMsters and friends,

As many of you know, there is a statue on the west steps of the Colorado State Capitol building with a Civil War soldier atop it (see attached photo). That is a monument to honor the Civil War soldiers from Colorado who died in the conflict. As most of you also know, the plaque on the north face of that statue honors those soldiers of the 1st and 3rd Colorado Volunteers (see attached photo) who were killed while engaged in the Sand Creek Massacre on November 30, 1864 (during the Civil War). During the Sand Creek Massacre, hundreds of innocent children, elders and women were slaughtered in the November cold.  

Colorado AIM agitated for years to have the plaque honoring the Sand Creek murderers removed from the monument. On occasion, the plaque would be decorated with blood or paint,or other substances, apparently to show people’s disdain for the monument. The legislature was never mover by conscience to remove the plaque. Finally. in 1999, at the behest of the Cheyenne and Arapaho people, the murderers’ plaque was not removed, but the legislature authorized the placement of an alternative interpretive plaque at the base of the monument (see attached photo). The plaque read:

“The controversy surrounding this Civil War Monument has become a symbol of Coloradans’ struggle to understand and take responsibility for our past. On November 29, 1864, Colorado’s First and Third Calvary, commanded by Colonel John Chivington, attacked Chief Black Kettle’s peaceful camp of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians on the banks of Sand Creek, about 180 miles southeast of here. In the surprise attack, soldiers killed more than 150 of the villages 500 inhabitants. Most of the victims were elderly men, women and children.

Though some civilians and military personnel immediately denounced the attack as a massacre, others claimed the village was a legitimate target. This Civil War monument, paid for from funds by the Pioneers’ Association and State, was erected on July 24, 1909, to honor all Colorado Soldiers who had fought in battles in the Civil War and elsewhere. By designating Sand Creek a battle, the monument’s designers mischaracterized the actual events. Protests led by some Sand Creek descendants and others throughout the twentieth century have led to the widespread recognition of the tragedy as the Sand Creek Massacre.This plaque was authorized by Senate Joint Resolution 99-017″

Now, the plaque has been stolen — not the murderers’ plaque, but the Indian plaque. Not the plaque that lies about history, but the one that corrects history. The Columbus plaque wasn’t stolen, not the Kit Carson plaque, not the Columbus Park sign, not the street signs for Jackson and Washington and Sheridan and Sherman and Custer and Evans and Byers and the scores of other Indian killers — not those plaques. The Indian plaque was stolen.

There is a lesson here. We are told that when we teach an indigenous view of history – about Columbus, discovery, homesteading, pioneers, the “winning of the West,” that we are historical revisionists — that we are making up, or lying about, history. Yet, when the invaders try to write us out of history, erase our version, our perspective, steal the plaques that try to provide just a sliver of our voice, it is just considered to be normal.

See, this is part of a process — it is called the production of history. The stories that our children are told in school are not accidental, or coincidental, those stories are manufactured, produced, to serve a particular worldview. All of these monuments and street names and textbooks and holidays and tv shows and movies, they are all part of that production process. Stealing this plaque — its part of that process, too. The message of that production process is this: In the war for control of America we won, you Indians lost, get over it. Accept your fate.

I am writing you to ask that you not “get over it,” that you not accept your “fate.” That you never surrender. I am asking you to get on the phone or the internet tomorrow and call your state senator and/or representative and tell them that you want that plaque replaced, and you want it replaced now. Although the legislature is not in session now, it is important for your voice to be heard. Here is the directory of the state House and Senate: http://www.leg.state.co.us/Cli… If you don’t know your rep., pick one and call them — anyone. Or, call Suzanne Williams, the only Indian in the state senate: 303-866-3434, suzanne.williams.senate@state.co.us

It’s not that the replacement of the plaque will get our territories back, or treaties respected, or Indian babies fed, but it will show that there is a limit to how much we will take. There is a limit to how much disrespect we will tolerate, and this is one of those lines. That if we cant even have one little whisper of our voice in the cacophony of racism around us, then something is going to have to give. Let them know, and let’s get that plaque back.

In struggle,

Glenn  

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14 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. I hope that conscience overrides the initial decision to steal the plaque and it is returned rather than destroyed.

    Barring the voluntary return of the plaque, I hope whoever defaced the monument faces the full force of the law.

  2. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    That is just sick that the have something there for the troops that did that.

    Doubly sick that someone would remove the plaque speaking truthfully about what happened.

  3. BlueCat says:

    When I was in Illinois grade school in the early 60s we were actually taught that there was pretty much an insignificant number of American Indians (they didn’t say Native Americans then) left. In other words, the message was that that was all water under the bridge and not something worth paying much attention to in the American narrative. The old good guy settlers, cowboys and cavalry, bad guy Indians version that ruled the day never was accurate history and the truth isn’t revisionism. It’s truth. Will call about that plaque.

    • Middle of the Road says:

      It’s the acronym for American Indian Movement that was founded in the 1960s’ to advocate on behalf of Native Americans and their interests. The group is famous for its standoff at Wounded Knee at the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1973.  

  4. parsingreality says:

    Appalling what some people find funny or a political statement.

    I never heard of any arrests on the Ludlow defacement.  At least the UMW was able to pay for replacements.  

  5. Ray SpringfieldRay Springfield says:

    The Capital found the plaque, the initial report from the Capital was that it had been stolen.

    Thanks for mobilizing on this issue, a more detailed update will follow soon!

    • Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

      The Sand Creek Massacre is one of the low points of our nation’s history. During the massacre, American soldiers did things like cutting out the vaginas of the women they’d slaughtered.

  6. Automaticftp says:

    steal Glenn Morris and hide him away . . .  

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