The Tragedy of Sand Creek: MOCHI'S WAR

MOCHI'S WAR                                  CHRIS ENSS, HOWARD KANZANJIAN

Mochi's War: The Tragedy of Sand CreekColorado Territory in 1864 wasn't merely the wild west, it was a land in limbo while the Civil War raged in the east and politics swirled around its potential admission to the union. The territorial governor, John Evans, had ambitions on the national stage should statehood occur--and he was joined in those ambitions by a local pastor and erstwhile Colonel in the Colorado militia, John Chivington. The decision was made to take a hard line stance against any Native Americans who refused to settle on reservations--and in the fall of 1864, Chivington set his sights on a small band of Cheyenne under the chief Black Eagle, camped and preparing for the winter at Sand Creek. When the order to fire on the camp came on November 28, one officer refused, other soldiers in Chivington's force, however, immediately attacked the village, disregarding the American flag, and a white flag of surrender that was run up shortly after the soldiers commenced firing. In the ensuing "battle" fifteen members of the assembled militias were killed and more than 50 wounded Between 150 and 200 of Black Kettle s Cheyenne were estimated killed, nearly all elderly men, women and children. As with many incidents in American history, the victors wrote the first version of history--turning the massacre into a heroic feat by the troops. Soon thereafter, however, Congress began an investigation into Chivington's actions and he was roundly condemned. His name still rings with infamy in Colorado and American history. Mochi s War explores this story and its repercussions into the last part of the nineteenth Century from the perspective of a Cheyenne woman whose determination swept her into some of the most dramatic and heartbreaking moments in the conflicts that grew through the West in the aftermath of Sand Creek."

This is a story about a female warrior named Mochi, she is Cheyenne but in the way it was described in the book they were broken down by clans. But for this story it is mainly dealing with the tragedy of Sand Creek in the year of 1864. This was during the time when both the U.S. and the Indians were trying to make one of their many peace agreements. After Chief Black Kettle and some of the other Chief’s came back from a territorial agreement and had given up rifles and other weapons the Calvary it was agreed upon that these Indians from different Tribes would be protected. These were Chiefs that did not want to fight and saw that the only thing that would come out of fighting is the loss of life on their part which meant no people to carry forth their message to the future. Young warriors did not see it that way and left and continued to raided white settlers, wagon trains, etc. After one of these attacks a man by the name of John Chivington, was given a commission to the US Army but was not sent to fight in the Civil War but the Indian war. Once arriving at Colorado he was of higher rank of the officers that had been their already for a while but not listen to them. He decided to attack this village, to make a showing for the killing that they have done. He Chivington who was from Ohio and a Preacher was a person who really had a hatred for Indians. Every time an attack was made against any whites everything about the attack would be in the papers and sometimes make headlines across the Country. Did the Indians kill and rape yes, but what was not reported was that whites were doing the same thing, and were killing there food and land for sport. Example after gold was found in California the Government made a treaty with the Northern and Southern Cheyenne to allow people to cross the plains undisturbed and no white man was to settle on this land. “For this right THE GOVERNMENT AGREED TO PAY $50,000 ANNUALLY”. The Cheyenne faithfully honored this treaty even Black Kettle one day warned a mail coach of a Kiowa war path. The U.S. did not honor this treaty either even after giving Black Kettle an American Flag and of course their word once again. So Chivington leads this early morning attack result in over 150 deaths mostly women and children, elderly. The young warriors out on a hunting trip for food were too far away to hear anything. Black Kettle, white Antelope and something 44 Chiefs after Black Kettle raised the American flag and a were gunned down standing in a line protecting their tribe as women and children were running anywhere to escape. I won’t go into the senseless killings, but Mochi’s husband, mother father and rest of her family were killed. When she and some of the others made it to the men she took up with Medicine Water and raised his daughter as her own. This battle would lead her and Medicine Water to join the Bowstring Society, which in the Cheyenne were a little fiercer than the Dog Soldier of the Cheyenne. Either way I would not want to face any of them afterwards especially Mochi she took on a legendary status among the Tribe for her fighting skills. There would be an attack on them years later by Custer, which continued that hatred. But it was their attack on a family in Kansas that made the Government go after them personally when it was found out four girls were kidnapped after the attack. Ten years after Sand Creek Mochi, Medicine Water and others finally surrender they were not tried in a court or sentenced by a judge or jury. The US Military ordered they be transported to Florida, where they stayed in a prison for six years being released to a reservation in 1880 and Mochi passed in 1881, still speaking her native tongue remembering stories and believing all she did was for what happened that day in 1864 at Sandy Creek. In the back of the book are stories of families that have been passed down over the years though sad they were nice to hear and see what a way of life once was. In 2001 Sandy Creek was a National historic site, and it did take a while before they were able to find the location. This was a fantastic story. I GOT THIS BOOK FROM NET GALLEY.  I give this 5 stars.

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