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Fiume Sand Creek
Sand Creek River


Si sono presi il nostro cuore sotto una coperta scura
sotto una luna morta piccola dormivamo senza paura
fu un generale di vent'anni
occhi turchini e giacca uguale
fu un generale di vent'anni
figlio di un temporale

c'è un dollaro d'argento sul fondo del Sand Creek

I nostri guerrieri troppo lontani sulla pista del bisonte
e quella musica distante diventò sempre più forte
chiusi gli occhi per tre volte
mi ritrovai ancora lì
chiesi a mio nonno è solo un sogno
mio nonno disse sì

a volte i pesci cantano sul fondo del Sand Creek

Sognai talmente forte che mi uscì il sangue dal naso
il lampo in un orecchio e nell'altro il paradiso
le lacrime più piccole
le lacrime più grosse
quando l'albero della neve
fiorì di stelle rosse

ora i bambini dormono sul fondo del Sand Creek

Quando il sole alzò la testa oltre le spalle della notte
c'eran solo cani e fumo e tende capovolte
tirai una freccia in cielo
per farlo respirare
tirai una freccia al vento
per farlo sanguinare

la terza freccia cercala sul fondo del Sand Creek

Si sono presi i nostri cuori sotto una coperta scura
sotto una luna morta piccola dormivamo senza paura
fu un generale di vent'anni
occhi turchini e giacca uguale
fu un generale di vent'anni
figlio di un temporale

ora i bambini dormono sul fondo del Sand Creek

They've taken away our heart under a dark blanket
Under a moon dead in childhood, we slept without fear.
It was a twenty years old general
Wearing a uniform deep blue as his eyes,
It was a twenty years old general,
The son of a storm

There's a silver dollar lying on the bottom of Sand Creek.

Our warriors were too far away on the buffalo track
And that distant music grew louder and louder
I closed my eyes thrice,
I found myself there again
I asked my grandpa, Is that only a dream,
My grandpa told me Yes

Sometimes the fish are singing on the bottom of Sand Creek

I made so strong dreams that my nose started bleeding,
The lightning in one ear, paradise in the other,
And then the smallest tears
And then the biggest tears
When the snow tree
Gave red starred blossoms

Now the children are sleeping on the bottom of Sand Creek

When the sun raised its head beyond the night's shoulders
There were only dogs and smoke and overturned tepees
I threw an arrow at the sky
So that he may breathe
I threw an arrow at the wind
So that he may bleed

You got to look the third arrow on the bottom of Sand Creek

They've taken away our heart under a dark blanket
Under a moon dead in childhood, we slept without fear.
It was a twenty years old general
Wearing a uniform deep blue as his eyes,
It was a twenty years old general,
The son of a storm

Now the children are sleeping on the bottom of Sand Creek

    translation Riccardo Venturi


Sand Creek Massacre

Sand Creek
Lapide posta a memoria della strage di Sand Creek
Plaque in memory of the massacre at Sand Creek

Nell'estate del 1864 il governo americano ordinò che tutte le tribù si radunassero in uno stesso luogo, presso un forte dell'esercito, Fort Lyon, nel Colorado. Gli Indiani non ubbidirono. Perciò il colonnello Chivington organizzò il terzo Reggimento dei volontari del Colorado, uomini della peggior specie reclutati per cento giorni soltanto, col compito di massacrare quanti più Indiani possibile, rifacendosi ad un proclama del 1854 del governatore di quello Stato, Evans, che esortava la popolazione a cacciare ed eliminare il numero maggiore di Nativi.

(leggi la storia del massacro di Sand Creek)

«I maggiori spunti me li ha dati un libro, Gambe di legno. Memorie di un guerriero Cheyenne
[Fabrizio de André in Cantico per i diversi, intervista a cura di Roberto Cappelli, Mucchio Selvaggio, settembre 1992]

Il campo Cheyenne che si trovava in un'ansa a ferro di cavallo del Sand Creek a nord del letto di un altro torrente quasi secco. Vi erano quasi seicento indiani nell'ansa del torrente, due terzi dei quali donne e bambini. I capi dei Cheyenne erano Pentola Nera, Antilope Bianca, Copricapo di Guerra. Poco distante vi era il campo Arapaho di Mano Sinistra. All'alba del 29 novembre 1864, il colonnello Chivington fece circondare l'accampamento, nonostante gli accordi presi e anche se nel mezzo del villaggio sventolava la bandiera americana, comandò l'attacco contro una popolazione inerme che quasi niente fece per reagire. Gli episodi sconvolgenti - come venne testimoniato dagli stessi indiani e da molti altri bianchi che parteciparono al massacro - non si contarono. Gli uomini vennero scalpati e orrendamente mutilati, i bambini usati per un macabro tiro al bersaglio, le donne oltraggiate, mutilate e scalpate.

 

In the summer of 1864 the American government ordered all the tribes gather in one place, with a strong army, Fort Lyon, Colorado. The Indians did not obey. So Colonel Chivington organized the third regiment of volunteers in Colorado, recruited men of the worst kind for only one hundred days, with the task to kill as many Indians as possible, referring to a 1854 proclamation of the governor of that state, Evans, who exhorted the people to hunt and eliminate the largest number of Native Americans.

 

IL MASSACRO DI SAND CREEK
SAND CREEK MASSACRE

(29 novembre 1864)

By Oreste Borri.
translation Enrico Massetti

In the summer of 1864, the American government ordered that all the Indian tribes gather together in one place, at an army fort, Fort Lyon, Colorado. The Indians did not obey. So Colonel Chivington organized the Third Regiment of Colorado volunteers, recruited men of the worst kind for one hundred days only, with the task to kill as many Indians as possible, referring to a 1854 proclamation of the Governor of that State, Evans, who exhorted the population to hunt and eliminate the greatest number of Native Americans.

The third regiment fell upon the Cheyenne, which, incidentally, would have liked to negotiate peace. For this reason, they did put forward a delegation controlled by Bear Skinny but was gunned down as soon as he was in range. There was a short fight, stopped by the Chief Black Kettle, who prevented his six hundred warriors to slaughter a hundred volunteers. The situation turned in favor of the Indians, at the insistence of the Cheyenne chief, decided to propose an instance of peace, however, was not taken into account by Governor Evans. Some Native leaders, failing to understand the real state of things, settled with their own groups, in the vicinity of the Fort. Other tribes, including that of Black Kettle, moved to the north, while the army, making no distinction between the Indians and the peaceful belligerent, was preparing to quell outbreaks of the North-West. Since Black Kettle longed for peace, and was given the assurance that nothing would happen, obeyed the order to camp along Sand Creek, not far from Fort Lyon. To his tribe joined the Arapaho of the Left Hand.

The Cheyenne Camp was in a horseshoe bend of the Sand Creek north of the bed of another almost dry stream. The tepee of Black Kettle was near the center of the village, and to the west there was the people of White Antelope and headgear War. On the eastern side, and not far from there was the Cheyenne Arapaho Camp of the Left Hand. In total there were nearly six hundred Indians in the bend of the river, two thirds of them women and children. Most of the warriors was several miles east to hunt the bison for the needs of the camp, as they had been told them to do by greater Anthony, commander of the detachment to which they were assigned.

The Indians were so confident of not having anything to fear that they did not put sentries during the night, except at the herd of horses in a corral that was closed under the stream. The first sign of an attack had him at dawn - the rumble of hooves on the sandy plain. Some squaws told that there was a mass of bison walking toward the field, while others said it was a mass of soldiers. From the stream was advancing at a brisk trot a large contingent of troops... you could see other soldiers who were heading towards the herds of horses Indians south of the camp, in the whole camp there was a lot of confusion and a lot of shouting men, women and children ran out of the tents half-naked, women and children who were screaming at the sight of troops, men who ran in the tents to take up arms ... Black Kettle had a large American flag hanging on top of a long pole and stood before his tent, clinging to the pole with the flag fluttering in the gray light of the winter dawn. He shouted to his people not to be afraid that the soldiers would not have done them any harm, then the troops opened fire on the two sides of the field. I just dismounted soldiers opened fire with rifles and pistols. At that time hundreds of Cheyenne women and children were gathering around the flag of Black Kettle. Going up the dry bed of the stream came from the other field of White Antelope. After all, Colonel Greenwood had not told Black Kettle that as long as he waved the American flag over his head, no soldier would shoot on him? White Antelope, an old man of seventy-five, unarmed, dark face marked by the sun and weather, strode toward the soldiers. He still believed that the soldiers would stop shooting as soon as they saw the American flag and the white flag of surrender which Black Kettle had now raised.

Bewitched Calf Beckwourth, who sat next to the Colonel Chivington, saw White Antelope approaching. "He came running up to us to talk to the captain," Beckwourth testified later "holding up his hands and saying," Stop! stop. " He said it in a clear English as mine. He stopped and crossed his arms until fell dead." The survivors among the Cheyenne said that White Antelope sang the song of death before dying: "Nothing lives long. Only the earth and the mountains."

Arapaho from the field, even the Left Hand and his people tried to reach the flag of Black Kettle. When the Left Hand saw the troops, stood with his arms crossed, saying he would not fight the white men because they were his friends. He fell shot.

But at dawn on November 29, 1864, Colonel Chivington did surround the camp, despite the agreements and even if in the middle of the village there was waving the American flag, commanded the attack against a civilian population that had almost nothing to react. The episodes shocking - as was witnessed by the Indians themselves, and many other whites who participated in the massacre - not counted. The men were scalpati and horribly mutilated, children used to a grisly shooting, women raped, mutilated and scalpate. To commit such atrocious crimes had to possess an innate badness or not to be masters of their own actions. In fact many of the participants were drunk. In no way you could legally do justice to the Indians.

Robert Bent, who was riding with Colonel Chivington against his will, said that when they came in sight of the camp, he saw "wave the American flag and I heard Black Kettle who said to the Indians to stay around the flag and there huddled in disorder: men, women and children. This happened when we were less than 50 meters from the Indians. Saw also wave a white flag. These flags were in a position so in view that they must have seen them. When the troops fired, the Indians fled, some men ran to their tents, perhaps to take up arms ... I think there were six hundred Indians in all. I believe that there were thirty-five warriors and some old, some sixty in all ... the rest of the men were away from the field, hunting ... After the start of the shooting warriors women and children got together and surrounded them to protect them. I saw five squaws hidden behind a pile of sand. When the troops advanced towards them, they ran out and showed their persons because the soldiers would realize that they were squaws and asked for mercy, but the soldiers shot them all. saw a squaw on the ground with a leg hit by a bullet, a soldier came up with drawn sword, and when the woman raised an arm to protect hrself, he struck, breaking it, the squaw rolled on the ground and when she lifted her other arm, the soldier hit her again and broke that too. Then he left her without killing her. It seemed an indiscriminate carnage of men, women and children. There were about thirty or forty squaws who had put away in a ravine, sent out a six year old girl with a white flag attached to a stick, she was able to make only a few steps and fell killed by a shot. All the squaws that took refuge in that ravine were then killed, as well as four or five Indians who were outside. The squaws did not resist. All I saw were dead scalped. Glimpsed a squaw ripped open with a fetus, I think, next to her. Captain Soule confirmed to me the thing. I saw the body of White Antelope devoid of the sexual organs, and I heard a soldier say he wanted to make a tobacco pouch with them. I saw a squaws whose genitals had been cut ... I saw a girl of about five years that had been hiding in the sand and two soldiers discovered, drew their guns and shot her and then pulled her out of the sand dragging her by the arm. saw a number of infants killed by their mothers. "(In a public speech in Denver did not long before this massacre, Colonel Chivington claimed that all Indians, even infants had to be killed and scalped. "Louse eggs do lice" he declared.)

The description of Robert Bent of the atrocities of the soldiers was confirmed by Lieutenant James Connor: "Back on the battlefield the next day I did not see a single body of a man, woman or child who had not been scalped, and in many cases the mutilated corpses were so horrific sexual organs cut, etc.. to men, women and children, I heard a man say that he had cut the sexual organs of a woman and had them hanging on a stick, I heard another say that he had cut the fingers of an Indian to take possession of the rings he had on hand, as far as I know John M. Chivington was aware of all the atrocities that were committed and I am not aware that he has done nothing to prevent it, I knew there was a child of a few months thrown into the box of a hay wagon and after a long stretch of road abandoned on the ground to die, I have also heard that many men have cut the genitals to some women and have them hanging on pommels and placed them on the hats while rode in a row. "

A regiment trained and well-disciplined could certainly destroy almost all Indians who were helpless on Sand Creek. The lack of discipline, combined with abundant drinking whiskey during the midnight ride, for cowardice and poor marksmanship of the troops of Colorado, made possible the escape of many Indians. A number of Cheyenne dug trenches under the high banks of the dried up river and resisted until night fell. Others fled alone or in small groups across the plain. When the shooting stopped dead there were 105 Indian women and children and 28 men. In his official report, Chivington talked about four or five hundred warriors killed. He had lost 9 men and had 38 wounded, many of them were victims of the fire soldiers who were firing disorderly upon each other. Among the leaders were killed White Antelope, One Eye and headgear War. Black Kettle miraculously managed to find shelter on a cliff, but his wife was seriously injured. Left Hand, though hit by a bullet, was able also to save himself.

When night fell the survivors crawled out of their holes. It was very cold and the blood froze on their wounds, but they did not dare to light fires. The only thought they had in mind was to flee east to the Smoky Hill and try to reach their warriors. "It was a terrible march," remembered George Bent "most of us proceeded on foot, without food, with few clothes, embarrassed by women and children." For 60 miles we endured the chill of the winds, hunger and pain of the wounds, but eventually reached the hunting camp. "As we came in there was a terrible scene. Everybody was crying, even the warriors, women and children screaming and moaning. Nearly all present had lost a relative or friend, and many of them upset by the pain scarred with knives until the blood gushing. "

It was in January, the Moon of the Great Cold, when the Indians of the Plains traditionally held lit the fires in their tents, told stories to pass the long nights and got up late in the morning. But that was a bad time, and as the news of the Sand Creek massacre spread across the plains, the Cheyenne, Arapaho and Sioux sent messengers back and forth with messages that called on all Indians to join in a war of revenge against the white killers .

Pentola Nera

Apology from the U.S. Congress to Indians

Sand Creek Massacre condemned after 136 years

The "blue jackets" attacked a camp and mercilessly massacred 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho, mostly women and children

Washington, 2000. One of the most brutal episodes in the history of the West, the massacre of 150 Indians on the banks of Sand Creek, has triggered with 136 years overdue apology from the US Congress. On the site of the massacre, which took place November 29, 1864 along a stream in Colorado, there will be a plaque to commemorate the Cheyenne and Arapaho, mostly women and children, massacred by a thousand of "blue jackets" of Colonel John Chivington.

As recalled a memorable sequence of the film by Ralph Nelson "Blue Soldier", the soldiers surrounded an Indians camp at dawn and suddenly opening fire. Congress has now passed a bill to turn into a historic site the site of the massacre, 250 kilometers south-east of Denver. The law was presented by Ben Night Horse Campbell, the only Native American senator in U.S. history, a descendant of the victims of the massacre.

In 1865, the testimonies of the massacre led Congress to open an investigation. But the culprits were never punished, the massacre was never officially condemned. The incident sparked twelve years of Indian Wars resulted then in the killing of George Custer at Little Big Horn.

A city located near the site of the Sand Creek massacre today still bears the name of Colonel Chivington. There is however no mention of the victims of the massacre.

The law of Congress, giving historical value to the site, will allow the Indians to protect the sanctity of the area. The Indians have been calling for Congress to recognize memorials also their role in the history of the region: most of the existing monuments in the West honor only the white pioneers and soldiers.

Di.A.

Chivington

John M. Chivington (1821-1894)

The hero of Glorietta Pass and the butcher of Sand Creek: the figure of John M. Chivington stands out as one of the most controversial of the entire history of the American West. Chivington was born in a country house in Ohio in 1821. His father died when he was 5 years old and the burden of supporting his family fell on his wife and children. While growing up, Chivington was forced to work hard on the family farm so he could not study unless in a completely irregular and insufficient way.

For some years he also devoted himself to a small timber trafficking in Ohio. Although he was not particularly religious, came to follow the dictates of the Methodist Church more or less at the age of twenty. He was ordained in 1844 and soon began his long career as a minister.

He accepted whatever destination was attributed, by transferring his family to Illinois in 1848 and then Missouri the following year. As a minister he took charge of giving birth to local congregations, to supervise the building of new churches and, often, to act as the representative of the law. For a time, in 1853, was joined in an expedition of Methodist missionaries among the Wyandot Indians in Kansas.

Its position against slavery and the point of view of the secession earned him quite a few mishaps in Missouri in 1856 to the point that some pro-slavery activists minaced him not to speak from the pulpit of those topics. They came even waiting for the next Sunday to scare him, but Chivington showed up in the pulpit with the Bible and showing two revolvers and saying, "By the grace of God and these two guns, today I will pray here."

This sentence earned him the nickname "Fighting Parson." Soon after this, the Methodist Church removed him from Missouri to escape the unrest, sending in Nebraska at Omaha. He remained there until 1860 when he was appointed Chairman of the Methodist District of the Rocky Mountains and had to go to Denver to tend to the establishment of the congregation and the building of the church. At the outbreak of the civil war, the Governor of Colorado, William Gilpin, offered him a position as chaplain, but he refused the job calling instead for a "fighter" position. With the rank of Major of the Regiment of Colorado Volunteers, Chivington had an important role in the Battle of Glorietta Pass (in eastern New Mexico) in which it was inflicted a resounding defeat on Confederate forces.

When his troops came down from the canyon walls to attack the convoy of supplies, Chivington was hailed as a war hero. Back in Denver after the final defeat of Western forces of the confederation, Chivington seemed destined to play very important roles such as the Republican candidate for the seat in Congress on behalf of Colorado who was about to become a state.
While waiting to ripen the conditions for the entry into politics, the tension between the white population of Colorado and Cheyenne Indians reached its peak, to the point that the newspaper The Denver devoted to the problem of a fiery editorial in which loudly demanded the total extermination the "red devils", claiming the urgency that all men leave their job for two months to devote to this urgent need. Chivington drew great advantages in riding the discontent of the people against the rulers that supported the need for peace with the Cheyenne.

In August 1864 he declared publicly that "the Cheyennes will have to be completely locked up or withdrawn before they stay calm. I say that if one of them will be caught in the vicinity, the only thing to do is kill him." A month later, while he was busy writing a letter to the deacons, he gave unfavorable opinion on the possibility of making a Treaty with the Indians: "It is simply not possible for Indians to obey or even understand any treaty, I am absolutely convinced that the only way that we have to have peace in Colorado is to kill them all. " Several months after Chivington put into practice his homicidal idea. In the early hours of the day of 29 November 1864 he led a regiment of Colorado Volunteers to the Cheyenne reservation in Sand Creek, where there were camped Black Kettle (a famous boss always conducive to peace with the whites) and his tribe.

Federal army officers had promised Black Kettle to leave him alone if he did return to the reserve and, in fact, on his tent he was waving the American flag and a white flag. Despite it all Chivington ordered the attack on the field that they were unaware of being in danger. After hours of fighting, the Colorado volunteers had lost only 9 men while they had killed between 200 and 400 Cheyenne, mostly women and children.

After all this mess, the Volunteers scalped most of the bodies and mutilated them into several parts and in particular in the area of ​​the genitals, not ashamed to exhibit their gruesome trophies in front of the cheering crowd in Denver, on his return from the mission. At first Chivington was acclaimed and recognized as a hero for the "battle" of Sand Creek, but soon began to circulate rumors that it had been a real extermination, that the soldiers were mostly drunk and that the great mass of those killed was composed of women and children. These rumors seemed confirmed when Chivington arrested six of his men, accusing them of cowardice in battle. Except among the six there was also the Captain Silas Soule, a friend of Chivington who had fought with him at Glorietta Pass, and now openly spoke of "carnage" and claimed not to be a coward, but he had deliberately refused to participate in the game the massacre ordered by Chivington against a group of friendly and helpless Indians. For this reason, immediately after their arrest the Secretary of War ordered the immediate release of the six and the Congress began a formal investigation into the events in Sand Creek. Unfortunately Soule could not testify because, a week after the release, he was killed in Denver, shot in the back with a revolver.

Despite the formal indictment, Chivington could not be convicted by the Court Martial because now he had left the army and therefore could no longer be punished. However, a military judge said publicly that "Sand Creek had been a profound act of cowardice and a massacre perpetrated in cold blood, a gesture enough to cover the perpetrators of indelible infamy and at the same time to arouse indignation in all Americans. " Although they failed to convict him formally, Chivington still paid a price for his act: he was forced to resign from the army and give up his political career.

In 1865 he returned to Nebraska, where he lived several years. He then went to California for a period and then returned to Ohio where he resumed activities related to a farm and ran a small local newspaper. In 1883 he tried again to enter politics, but the guilt of the Sand Creek Massacre forced him to throw in the towel once again. Again in Denver, he worked as a sheriff for a short time before his death due to cancer.

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