The first 100 years or so of the United States’ existence was filled with travesties like the Civil War and the enormous slave trade which flourished in the South. In addition, manifest destiny and the inherent racism involved with the “white man’s burden” led to a number of horrible massacres of the Native American population. Some are well-known, like the Wounded Knee Massacre, but there are other terrible examples that we shouldn’t forget.
10. Sand Creek Massacre
At Sand Creek in the Colorado territory in 1864, the Cheyenne village of around 800 was supposed to be protected territory. Chief Black Kettle had brokered a deal with a nearby US Army fort for his people’s safety, but this proved to be an outright lie.
Colonel John Chivington had decided that winning battles against local Native American tribes was the best way to become a territorial delegate to Congress. When spring 1864 proved fruitless for battle, he used a 700-volunteer militia to burn Native American villages.
On November 29, just one day after Black Kettle’s deal, the Colorado Volunteers attacked Sand Creek. Nearly all the Cheyenne men were out hunting, leaving the women, children, and elders with no one to protect them. Between 100 and 400 Native Americans were slaughtered.
Although Chivington was denounced by much of the country, he was never formally charged with anything.