This Week: Anniversary of Sand Creek Massacre


The Sand Creek Massacre is one of the most horrific events in US history, and the legacies of the massacre remain to this day. If you live in the US and don’t know about Sand Creek, take the time to learn—as members of the US, this is your history too (I don’t wanna hear shit about how your family wasn’t in the country yet, your ancestors weren’t involved, you would never do anything racist, etc—this is a massacre of innocent women and children that facilitated the creation of the state of Colorado, and by proxy, the expansion of the US through the American West—the wealth, land, and power of the contemporary US has been built in part on the legacy of Sand Creek).

Here’s the history given by Indian Country Today:

In the months immediately before the massacre, freight from the east to Denver was largely at a standstill as Indians disrupted travel in an attempt to ward off further intrusion. Flour was $45 a sack and other prices skyrocketed, adding to the hysteria fanned by Indian-war proponents. Another impetus to violence, the scalped remains of a family of four from near Denver were brought to the city for display, although whether they were killed by Indians has been disputed.

Before Sand Creek, the Cheyenne were still recovering from an 1849 cholera epidemic that killed nearly half the tribe, and they were receiving conflicting signals from the U.S. Army. Although Army Col. John Chivington and Territorial Gov. John Evans did not accept Indians’ commitments to peace, Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle nevertheless agreed to a camp at Sand Creek believing he had a promise of safety from Army Major Edward Wynkoop…Although the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 promised vast lands to the Arapaho and Cheyenne to discourage warfare, the pressure of white encroachment resulted in a new treaty and tribal anger about the much smaller reservation that resulted. 

On November 29, 1864, Cheyenne Chief White Antelope sang his death song as some 200 Arapaho and Cheyenne were massacred by Colorado Volunteers of the U.S. Army at Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado Territory. The Indians had been promised safety by the military and some even gathered futilely under the Stars and Stripes hoisted at the encampment above a white flag of peace.

In a bitterly cold dawn, about 700 members of the Third Regiment of Colorado Volunteers rode through the camp in a sneak attack, shooting mostly women, children and elderly in an hours-long frenzy. Many of the victims’ bodies were mutilated by soldiers—some of them said to be drunk—and disfigured remains were paraded through the streets of Denver to jubilation and applause.

The massacre was truly grotesque, not just because of the high death toll, but because of the nature of the violence, which included widespread rape, torture, and execution-style killings. Lt Silas Soule, who participated in the massacre, described it in a letter to a superior:

The massacre lasted six or eight hours…it was hard to see little children on their knees have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized….They were all scalped, and as high as a half a dozen [scalps] taken from one head. They were all horriby mutilated…You could think it impossible for white men to butcher and mutilate human beings as they did there, but every word I have told you is the truth, which they do not deny.

In the years that followed, many of the survivors of Sand Creek joined the Indian Wars, fighting alongside their Northern relatives and the Lakota. Many of the Cheyenne woman warriors joined the ranks after seeing or experiencing sexual violence during Sand Creek. Mochi, for example, was 24 when she saw a US soldier shoot her mother in the head; another soldier attempted to rape her, and she shot him, escaped the massacre, and went on to fight in battles against the US military for 11 years, before being imprisoned as the only formal Native woman prisoner of war in US history. 

Body parts (particularly scalps, genitalia, breasts, hands, and feet) taken from the massacre site were extremely popular trinkets to buy, and were often kept on display in bars, stores, and household mantles. Cradleboards were sold with baby remains still inside, moccasin sets stuffed with rotting feet. These pieces were traded all across the country, and later collected by museums, who used to boast of their displays of such items (body parts were also taken at Washita, Wounded Knee, and most other smaller massacres). Many of these items have not yet been repatriated, and museums continue to create offensive displays of the massacre, that legitimate US military action.

Survivors were promised reparations from the US government, and their descendants continue to pursue them, though as of yet, they have not been paid. Cheyenne & Arapaho treaty rights to land on their ancestral territories in Colorado and Wyoming continue to be violated; Cheyennes & Arapahos in the region were removed to Oklahoma, where we remain. In Oklahoma, treaty rights were once again ignored, and the Dawes Act effectively obliterated the Oklahoma tribal land-base. In Oklahoma, Cheyennes & Arapahos survived more massacres, as well as widespread starvation and preventable disease (from being forced to live on inadequate rations and in deplorable conditions). While there are large Cheyenne & Arapaho communities, we have yet to be able to return to our homelands as a tribe. 



Fun History Fact: The overwhelming majority of cowboys in the U.S. were Indigenous, Black, and/or Mexican persons. The omnipresent white cowboy is a Hollywood studio concoction meant to uphold the mythology of white masculinity.

Thank you.

Native History: Cheyenne Village Destroyed to Avenge Custer’s Defeat →


Cheyenne men held off the attack long enough for the majority of women, children and elderly to escape into the surrounding hills, many of them with little or no clothing, Robinson said. The soldiers then raided the village and burned it to the ground, destroying much of the tribe’s culture and wealth. An estimated 40 Cheyenne people were killed, including 11 infants or children who froze to death that first night. Six U.S. soldiers were killed.

The Cheyenne went north in search of Crazy Horse and the Lakota, but the incident changed the way many Natives viewed the Indian wars, Robinson said. “The effect this fight had on the Cheyenne is that it just impoverished them,” he said. “It was their impoverished state that convinced many Lakota that fighting was futile. It frightened them so much that they began considering going in to the agency to avoid a similar fate.”

Smith, whose book is based on a diary her great-grandfather kept about his experiences as an orderly serving with Mackenzie, said she found no evidence that the soldiers felt remorse about the ambush. “My sense of this is that none of the Army people had any qualms of what they were doing in the course of this expedition,” she said. “Some officers did actually have some moments when they understood they were part of something they weren’t always proud of. Sometimes they understood these people had done nothing wrong. In this case, I didn’t find any mention of remorse.



Inside these boxes are enough videotapes to fill a Blockbuster. What’s on these tapes? Well, about 35 years of local and national news, recorded by Marion Stokes, a woman who spent nearly half her life recording the news in the belief that someday it would be useful. It probably isn’t very useful, but it was a pretty epic hobby.

These tapes will actually be incredibly useful. They contain hours of history that can be re-lived, instead of re-imagined, when viewed. 

The San Francisco-based Internet Archive plans to digitize the tapes and make them available on their website for searching and viewing. Someday, in the not-too-distant future, you’ll be able to watch ABC News segments on the Iran hostage crisis — the event that launched Nightline. The live CNN video on the Challenger disaster. Little Jessica being rescued from the well. Nightly news segments on the fall of the Berlin wall.

The first Gulf War. The war in Bosnia. TWA 800. Clinton’s impeachment. The Florida “hanging chad” scandal. Hours of videotape on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. The entire war in Iraq as it played out on cable news. The start — and end — of the housing crisis that crippled economy. The election of the first black president.

Marion Stokes might have had an unusual hobby, but her hobby bore a priceless gift that now millions connected to the internet will be able to enjoy. I guess I’d expect nothing less from someone who was once a former librarian.


Feminist Art Friday Feature: Stone Age Women

It has always been assumed that found art from the Stone Age was created by men. However, a recent study has concluded that those creating the famed prehistoric cave paintings, which were often signed with the handprints of the artists, may actually have been women. Anthropologists reached this new conclusion about their creators after measuring the length of the fingers and finding that index and ring fingers to be of approximately the same length, (a feature typically associated with women). Applying this theory to 32 handprints found in caves across France and Spain, anthropoligst Dean Snow was able to attribute 24 of the handprints to women. (1)

Cave paintings weren’t the only form of prehistoric art women left their mark on. The famed Venus of Willendorf, a limestone statuette thought to have been created between 24,000 and 22,000 BCE is another possible example of early art that may have been created by women. Some scholars hypothesize that the figure may have been a self-portrait, depicting what a woman of that time might see when they looked down at their bodies. (2)

Let me tell you about my dogs: Neolithic Chinese People First Tamed Cattle Over 10,000 Years Ago →



A new study reported in the journal Nature Communications provides the first multi-disciplinary evidence that humans in what is now China first domesticated cattle around 8,000 BC, around the same time cattle domestication took place in the Near East.


"The witch hunts of Europe were largely a process of undermining the authority and destroying the expertise, of European women. In 1511, the English Parliament passed an act directed against ‘common artificers, as smythes, weavers and women who attempt great cures and things of great difficulties: in the witch they partly use sorcerye and witch-craft’ (Shiva 1989). By the sixteenth century, women in Europe were totally excluded from the practice of medicine and healing because ‘wise women’ ran the risk of being declared witches."
- Vandana Shiva, “Women: The Custodians” (2004)

I recommend Witchcraze by Anne Barstow for history and analysis of witchhunts as genocide against women, and Witches, Midwives, and Nurses by Dierdre English and Barbara Ehrenreich for history of the progression of healing roles being stripped from women or devalued… I know there was another one I had and I’ll add it to the post if I remember it but those are both excellent sources.
(via likeawraith)


a look at some of the legendary women in Indian history- modeled by kangana ranaut 

hover over name for information (when on blog)

nur jahan | indira gandhi | razia sultana | jijabai bhosale | hazrat mahal | rani lakshmibai


This 8,000 year-old giraffe rock carving in DaBous, Niger is considered one of the finest petroglyphs in the world. The giraffe has a leash on its nose implying some level of taming the animals. It was found relatively recently on the top of a granite hill by local Touaregs and dates to the Kiffian era of 7,000 - 9,000 years ago.


Before Schimmel: The Indian Women Who Became Basketball Champions

Tip-off to basketball season is right around the corner. Shoni and Jude Schimmel are back at the University of Louisville, poised for another run at the national championships. Two years ago, Tahnee Robinson became the first Native American woman to be drafted by the WNBA and last spring, Angel Goodrich became the second. Indian girls are playing at many schools across the country and basketball reigns supreme throughout Indian country. But Indian women and basketball are not as new as many think. In 1904 the women’s basketball team at Fort Shaw Indian Boarding School in Montana were world champions.

…The young women on the Fort Shaw team came from seven tribes throughout Montana and Idaho. Some of the girls had played shinny or double ball, but had likely never played this new sport. Their first game was against a high school boy’s team in Great Falls. The young ladies rode 40 miles in horse drawn wagons to play that game, winning and actually doubling the score of the boy’s team. That was just the beginning. They beat the men’s teams at the University of Montana and Montana State by scores of 25-1 and 22-0. At halftime they entertained with songs on the mandolin and violin, recited poetry, sang and did Native dances. Teams didn’t want to play them.

The 1904 World’s Fair was held in St. Louis, Missouri. Fort Shaw Indian School Superintendent Fred C. Campbell arranged for the team and other Fort Shaw students to attend and live in tipis at the Indian Exhibit. They performed dozens of times showing their basketball talent as well as musical talents to raise money for the trip.

Missouri had put together an all-star team—their coach studied Fort Shaw and spent the summer preparing for them. They thought they were ready. It was a best of three series. The score in the first game was 24-2 in favor of Fort Shaw. Missouri requested a several week delay before the second game—the final score of which was 17-6, again in favor of Fort Shaw. They were declared world champions.

Archaeological News: Oops! Etruscan Warrior Prince Really a Princess →




Last month, archaeologists announced a stunning find: a completely sealed tomb cut into the rock in Tuscany, Italy.

The untouched tomb held what looked like the body of an Etruscan prince holding a spear, along with the ashes of his wife. Several news outlets reported on the discovery of the…

Instead of using objects found in a grave to interpret the sites, archaeologists should first rely on bone analysis or other sophisticated techniques before rushing to conclusions, Weingarten said.

“Until very recently, and sadly still in some countries, sex determination is based on grave goods. And that, in turn, is based almost entirely on our preconceptions. A clear illustration is jewelry: We associate jewelry with women, but that is nonsense in much of the ancient world,” Weingarten said. “Guys liked bling, too.”



Today marks the fifth annual Ada Lovelace Day. Lovelace (1815-1852) is responsible for writing the first EVER computer program. Her friend Charles Babbage asked for her notes on his Analytical Engine and Lovelace went further to include the first ever algorithm written for a machine. A pioneer for women and engineers alike, join us in celebrating Ada Lovelace Day! 

Want to do more to honor this amazing woman? Join Brown University and Wikipedia’s Edit-a-thon (today Oct 15th from 3pm - 8:30pm E.T.) to celebrate other female pioneers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics:

Happy Ada Lovelace Day! Thank you, Ada, from all of us at IBM and the countless number of women in technology for whom you blazed a trail.

"Women have historically critiqued and challenged their subordinate role. In 248 ce, a Vietnamese peasant woman, Trieu Thi Trinh, told her brother that: “My wish is to ride the tempest, tame the waves, kill the sharks. I want to drive the enemy away to save our people. I will not resign myself to the usual lot of women who bow their heads and become concubines”. Women also challenged the male claim to religious authority and power. A’ishah, Muhammad’s third wife, for example, battled a Khalife in 656, and afterwards created her own religious laws. In eighth-century India, women involved in the bhakti (a popular revolt against a form of Hinduism) broke with their families, created their own spiritual writings, and demanded that men treat them as spiritual equals. European women preachers and heretics claimed direct connection with God thus creating religious and feminist impulses. Guillemine of Bohemia, a late-thirteenth-century preacher and mystic, challenged Catholic dogma, and created a women’s church that attracted aristocratic as well as ordinary women."

Barbara Winslow, Feminist Movements: Gender and Sexual Equality

(via howtotalktogirlsdialectically)

The next time someone tells me that you can’t have feminism in historical settings I’m going to print out 1,000 copies of this post, bind the paper, and throw it at them.

(via knitmeapony)

 “My wish is to ride the tempest, tame the waves, kill the sharks. I want to drive the enemy away to save our people.” HOLY SHIT.

(via hellotailor)

"Michelle Obama is capturing a particular (though arguably narrow) definition of femininity that is often denied to black women. For example, she chose President Thomas Jefferson’s portrait as the backdrop for her official White House photo. There she is, the first black, First Lady, in a sleeveless dress, and behind her is Thomas Jefferson, who raped a teenage bondswoman, Sally Hemings (the half-sister of his wife), and enslaved his own children. Michelle’s photo executes a self-conscious taunting that reaches across the span of history to repudiate the violence and brutality suffered by so many enslaved women. Michelle stands boldly in a White House where she is mistress, not slave. Her body is for her. She is not reduced to a mule or a breeder. Her children belong to her, and she is free to love and protect them. It is an act of resistance for a black woman to demand that her body belong to herself for her pleasure, her adornment, even her vanity, because in the United States, black women’s bodies have often been valued only to the extent that they produce wealth and pleasure for others. When Michelle insists on audacious, sleeveless femininity, she strikes back against the reduction of black women to hypersexual breeders or asexual laborers. Hers is an important departure from the dissemblance strategies of twentieth-century club women who sought to prove their respectability through prim sexual ethics. Michelle refuses to be ashamed of her distinctive black woman’s body and all the attributes and anxieties it evokes. Rather than shrouding herself in shame, she shows her body with surprising, self-confident ease."

Michelle Harris-Perry, Sister Citizen (via brutereason)

now in love with this 

(via paelmoon)

She standing there like, “Get yo’ ass in the back, TJ!”

(via eshusplayground)

The most impressive naval career of all the female sailors is that of William Brown, a black woman who spent at least twelve years on British warships, much of this time in the extremely demanding role of captain of the foretop. A good description of her appeared in London’s Annual Register in September 1815: “She is a smart, well-formed figure, about five feet four inches in height, possessed of considerable strength and great activity; her features are rather handsome for a black, and she appears to be about twenty-six years of age.” The article also noted that “in her manner she exhibits all the traits of a British tar and takes her grog with her late messmates with the greatest gaiety.”

Brown was a married woman and had joined the navy around 1804 following a quarrel with her husband. For several years she served on the Queen Charlotte, a three-decker with 104 guns and one of the largest ships in the Royal Navy. Brown must have had nerve, strength, and unusual ability to have been made captain of the foretop on such a ship….The captain of the foretop had to lead a team of seamen up the shrouds of the foremast, and then up the shrouds of the fore-topmast and out along the yards a hundred feet or more above the deck….

At some point in 1815, it was discovered that Brown was a woman and her story was published in the papers, but this does not seem to have affected her naval career….What is certain is that Brown returned to the Queen Charlotte and rejoined the crew.

- David Cordingly, Seafaring Women (via queencardigan)