Talk:Battle of Washita River

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Black Kettle's hostage named Clara Blinn[edit]

I suggest to some of you this "Wild West magazine" article (June 2007):

Captive Clara Blinn’s Plea: ‘If You Love Us, Save Us’ by Gregory F. Michno, famous Frontier historian, author of several books including "Lakota Noon", the "Encyclopedia of Indian wars" (both Mountain Press) and the latest, "A fate worse than death, Indian captivities 1835-1880" (Cexton Press) "Seized by Cheyenne raiders in Colorado Territory, Clara and her young son, Willie, were being held at Black Kettle’s camp on the Washita River in Indian Territory when Custer attacked on November 27, 1868."

Clara Blinn's captivity is also depicted in Michno's book "A fate worse than death" (CEXTON PRESS, 2007) which is a careful examination of Indian captivities. Clara Blinn was detained in Black Kettle's village. Custerwest 15:46, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

We've all been through the Clara Blinn discussion a number of times on these talk pages. Clara Blinn will of course be discussed, but it will not be to blindly follow your lead in calling her "Black Kettle's hostage." As has been explained to you numerous times, WP:NPOV means that all significant views that have been published in reliable sources must be represented. The claim that she was in Black Kettle's camp is only one of several opinions about where exactly she was being held: it must & will be represented, but as only one of the several opinions. Other opinions including e.g., Custer's & Sheridan's belief that she was held in a Kiowa camp; Ben Clark's & Hazen's belief she was in an Arapaho camp (also the theory subscribed to by Hardorff); Green's belief that she wasn't in one of the Cheyenne camps along the Washita but not Black Kettle's. --Yksin 22:10, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

The men who actually FOUND the bodies were the privates and officers of the 19th Kansas: "“In the timber, by the river, were the ashes and remains of Indian wigwams, burned by Custer’s men, and at this point, Black Kettle was killed. Here were the bodies Miss Blinn and her child, lying some rods apart.” (Capt George Jeness, testimony backed by other men and officers of the 19th Kansas). ( )Custerwest 20:55, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

White boys held prisoners in Black Kettle's village[edit]

Sources : Black Kettle’s Last Raid, by Hill P. Wilson, Transactions of Kansas State Historical Society, VIII, pages 110-117

Stan Hoig, The Battle of the Washita, University of Nebraska Press, 1970, page 212

Senate, Letter to the Secretary of the Interior, Communicating in Compliance with the Resolutions of the Senate of the 14th ultimo, Information in Relation to the Late Battle of the Washita, 40th Congress, 3d Session, 1869. Sen Ex. Doc. 13. page 18

articles from the Kansas Daily Tribune and the Hays City Advance (August 1868):

“A band of Cheyennes under command of Black Kettle, a noted chief, was in town (HaysCity) on Thursday. They had a white child with them (…) Some think that (the child) was stolen by Kiowas or Comanches in Kansas or Texas and sold to the Cheyennes.”

In his report after the battle of the Washita, November 27, 1868, Custer stated to have freed “We also secured two white children, held captives by the Indians.”

As Stan Hoig said, we have evidences that these boys were treated at Fort Hays. Stan Hoig says in his “Battle of the Washita) (page 183): “Evidently, there were the two boys Custer had reported he had rescued from the Indians."

Colonel Miles, commander of Fort Hays, issued a report on April 30, 1869:

“I have the honor to report that I have had taken from the Indian prisoners at this Post and placed in the Post Hospital one white child apparently about two years of age. Said child is, in my opinion, the son of white parents. (…) I judge he must have been one of their captives or a child of some settler. His health is much impaired, owing to this improper treatment. (…) While he remained with the Indians he was placed in the most exposed part of their quarters and his food and clothing taken from him and thrown away.” ( ) Custerwest 20:56, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Re: the articles from the Kansas Daily Tribune & Hays City Advance -- yes, I remember this: the same article that I already showed you had falsified by adding words that weren't in the quotation & changing the order of some of the other text, as seen in Talk:Battle of Washita River/Archive 2#Footnote 17. Here is the real quotation, side-by-side with Custerwest's falsified version of the quotation, once again:
As quoted by Custerwest As quote appears in source
source given as Kansas Daily Tribune and the Hays City Advance (August 1868) as cited in Hoig's Washita book, page 212 Kansas Daily Tribune of Aug. 14, 1868 citing Hays City Advance, cited in Hoig's Washita book 1980, pp. 249-250
A band of Cheyennes under command of Black Kettle, a noted chief, was in town (HaysCity) on Thursday. They had a white child with them (…) Some think that (the child) was stolen by Kiowas or Comanches in Kansas or Texas and sold to the Cheyennes. A band of Cheyennes under command of Black Kettle, a noted chief, was in town on Thursday. They had a white child with them, which they claimed to be a half-breed, the offspring of an officer and a squaw of the tribe. Some think there is no Indian blood in the child, but that it was stolen from Texas by Kiowas or Comanches and sold the the Cheyennes. Anyhow, if it belongs to any of our shoulder-strapped friends at Larned, they shouldn't be ashamed of it. Cheyenne stock is good stock.
On the right side, the words in italics are those which Custerwest's version of the quote omits. On the left, the italics denote words that Custerwest added that are not in the original quote: i.e., in Kansas. Notice also the change in the word order in the sentence aobut the Kiowas and Comanches. And of course, don't fail to notice that Custerwest didn't get the page number of where in Hoig's book the quote appeared.
Note that Stan Hoig also wrote another book, The Peace Chiefs of the Cheyennes), in which the quote also appears, but taken directly from the Hays City Advance (instead of as cited in the Kansas City Tribune). That version also includes the word "at Dodge" so that it reads "the offspring of an officer at Dodge and a squaw of the tribe." There was in fact such a child in Black Kettle's camp, a girl named Jennie Lind Crocker who was the daughter of a Lt. Crocker and a Cheyenne woman named Ne-sou-hoe. Ne-sou-hoe ("Mrs. Crocker") were visiting in Black Kettle's camp at the time of the Seventh Cavalry's attack, & Jennie Lind Crocker was killed during the fighting. (More details at Talk:Battle of Washita River/Archive 2#Footnote 17.) Although of course we don't know for certain if Jennie Lind Crocker was the child described in the newspaper report; but it certainly casts doubt on Custerwest's implication that the child in the newspaper was a "white captive." --Yksin 18:41, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

Hill P. Wilson account[edit]

Hill P. Wilson's account entitled "Black Kettle's Last Raid" is one that the Kansas Historical Society characterizes as: "Biased account of one aspect of Plain's conflict leading up to Washita campaign of 1868 by Fort Hays post trader." Amongst other things, Wilson claims that Black Kettle left Fort Hays with a party of 40 warriors in early August 1868 to personally lead the August 1868 raids on the white settlements on the Saline & Solomon rivers -- a claim made by no other source that I could find. Add that to this: The Hays City newspaper story was dated August 14, 1868, a Friday (you can verify the day of the week at, and says Black Kettle visited Hays City on "Thursday", which means August 13, 1868. The raids on the Saline/Solomon river settlements were made on August 10-12. How then, could Black Kettle leave Fort Hays to lead raids that had already had happened? Could he time travel? So much for Hill P. Wilson's witness.

Little Rock's statement was that the war party that committed the Saline/Solomon raids consisted of nearly 200 warriors, mostly Cheyenne but also including about 20 Sioux and 4 Arapaho. They started out from camps along Walnut Creek (where the Dog Soldiers often camped) about August 2-3, crossed the Smoky Hill River near Fort Hays, and thence to the Saline valley (in Hardorff 2006, p. 46). Perhaps Hill P. Wilson conflated Black Kettle's later visit with the earlier crossing of the Smoky Hill River by a much larger band. Who knows. Edmund Guerrier, who was the half-blood son of a French father & Cheyenne mother, was actually with the raiding party; he confirmed Little Rock's testimony that the leaders of the "massacre" were Red Nose of the Dog Soldiers and Ho-eh-a-mo-a-ha (The Man Who Breaks the Marrow Bones), brother of White Antelope who was killed at Sand Creek and a member of Black Kettle's band (in Hardorff 2006, p. 52). Guerrier said the war party was made up of young men from the bands of Black Kettle, Little Rock, Bull Bear (the Dog Soldier leader), and Medicine Arrows (so-called by whites because he carried the sacred medicine arrows; it was from Medicine Arrows camp that two white women captives captured in the raiding were legitimately rescued by Custer several months after the Washita battle). Guerrier said ""nearly all the different bands of Cheyennes had some of their young men in this war party" (in Hardorff 2006, p. 52). So, young men from both Little Rock's and Black Kettle's bands certainly participated in the raids, & one of those young men (Ho-eh-a-mo-a-ha) was one of the two who took a lead in the depredations. But there is no verification whatsoever for Hill Wilson's (non-eyewitness) assertion that Black Kettle had anything to do with the raids, which appear to have been disapproved both by him & by the only other chief in his band, Little Rock. As a number of sources have written, Black Kettle's problem, and Little Rock's, was that they were unable to control their young men & prevent them from participating in such raids.

I'm not sure why it's so important to Custerwest to "prove" that Black Kettle was responsible for things that the sources clearly show he was not. But that kind of POV original research not verified by sources soapboxing if it belongs anywhere at all belongs on his blog, not on Wikipedia, which as has been repeated a number of times has standards -- neutral point of view; no original research; information backed up by reliable sources.

I will be back working on this article after the Labor Day break is over. Custerwest is right that the article needs to include the information from Little Rock & others about the Saline/Solomon raids, as well as other causes leading up to the attack on Black Kettle's camp, & so I'll work on that first -- guided by the consensus already developed hear about how that material should be handled. --Yksin 18:41, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

George Bent's joke[edit]

"According to George Bent, "The whites have the wrong idea about Indian chiefs. Among the Plains Indians a chief was elected as a peace and civil officer and there was no such office as war chief. What the whites call war chiefs were only warriors of distinction.... But the Indian idea of a chief is not a fighter, but a peace maker." Bent 1968, p. 324. "

Who actually BELIEVED and WROTE this sentence?!? Cheyennes tribes were always on the warpath, it was the core of their way of life. This sentence was typical of George Bent (who married an Indian and even massacred White civilians in 1868) but cannot be taken seriously. Gosh, there are really people who cannot wake up after "Dance with wolves"! Have you already read something on Indian customs and the wars that constantly raged between the tribes? Before the Washita, the Cheyennes were not only on the warpath with the Whites, but also with the Kaws and the Shoshones. Bent's sentence is a joke, a late attempt to make the Cheyennes look like peaceful gardeners. Sorry for the politically correct ayatullah, but this is by far the most ridiculous statement of the article. Custerwest 21:02, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Again, Wikipedia is not for judging whether or not he is right or wrong. That is what your blog is for. Wikipedia if for putting forth all of the theories, and letting the reader decide. Murderbike 21:06, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
I don't see how whether the Cheyenne fought numerous wars makes any difference in whether they had "war chiefs" anyway. Of course, the Cheyenne fought in a number of battles, but that doesn't somehow mean that their most notable and distinguished warriors were "war chiefs"--it just means they had notable and distinguished warriors. --Miskwito 21:33, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
George Bent was the son of William Bent of Bent's Fort and a Cheyenne woman named Owl Woman, who was the daughter of Gray Thunder, who was keeper of the Cheyenne's sacred medicine arrows before the man known to whites s Medicine Arrows (to the Cheyenne as Rock Forehead). Bent did not just "marry into" the tribe but was an active member of it. But he was also educated in white schools in Westport (present Kansas City) and St. Louis and fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War, during which he was captured by Union soldiers & paroled back to his family. He was a survivor of the Sand Creek massacre & a member of the Crooked Lance (I believe) military society; he joined with the Dog Soldiers after the Sand Creek massacre in their war of retaliation along the Platte River against the whites. In 1866 he became an intepreter for the Dept. of Indian Affairs, & remained with the Indian Service for 50 years. He assisted the Indian Peace Commission at Medicine Lodge Creek in 1867, when the Medicine Lodge Treaty was made. In 1866 he married Black Kettle's niece Magpie, & later married a second wife, Kiowa Woman (who was, in fact, Kiowa).
Custwest's claim that Bent "even massacred White civilians in 1868" is false. Bent's claim that Council of Forty-Four chiefs like Black Kettle & Little Rock were peace chiefs not "war chiefs" is based upon Bent's lifetime of living among & knowing the Cheyenne, who he counted as his own people. And in fact his account is taken quite seriously by scholars who study the Cheyenne & the Indian wars, & has been verified by other sources. Nor does Bent's account ever shy away from discussing the Cheyenne's habit of war or attempt to portray the Cheyenne as "peaceful gardners." From Custerwest's portrayal of what George Bent wrote, I have to wonder if he's actually read Bent's book. For those who do want to read it (& then you can also evaluate for yourself) it's pretty darn interesting -- I'm reading it now. Here's the bibliographic reference: Hyde, George E. (1968). Life of George Bent Written from His Letters. Ed. by Savoie Lottinville. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 0-8061-1577-7. I've also seen a biography of George Bent which I plan to read after finishing this life from his letters. --Yksin 19:04, 2 September 2007 (UTC)
Robert M. Utley in Frontier Regulars uses Hyde as a reference for Cheyenne casualties at Washita and by implication concurs wholeheartedly with Yksin's assertions here. Buckboard-- 14:19, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Black Kettle and Little Rock, depicted as "peace chiefs" by George Bent, lived in a village where their own warchiefs and warriors were slaughtering civilians in Kansas and taking back hostages with them. George Bent was even INVOLVED in these massacres. Custerwest 13:12, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

Utley states this is not a contradiction at all. General Hazen at Fort Cobb rebuffed a peace attempt by Black kettle just one week before Washita because Sheridan had in effect declared war on the Cheyenne for their killing raids in the summer of 1868, at which Black Kettle confessed he was powerless to stop the warriors. That's part of the record of the 40th Congress. (3rd Sess. No. 18 Pt. 1 pp.24-25.) Buckboard-- 14:28, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Just wanted to tell Buckboard that I appreciate his/her contributions to this article and discussion.Sensei48 (talk) 18:41, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Clara Blinn, Black Kettle's hostage, by Historian Gregory Michno (dissecting evidences)[edit]

source : (sources under the quotes. Gregory Michno is a member of

By Dr Gregory Michno, historian and member of Gregory Michno is the famous authors of several important books on Custer and the Frontier, including Lakota Noon, the Indian narrative of Custer’s defeat, Encyclopaedia of Indian Wars and The Mystery of E company (all published by Mountain Press). These notes were used for the book A Fate worse than Death, Indian captivities 1830-1885 (with Susan Michno, Caxton Press, 2007), which is the first book that carefully analyses the stories of Indian captivities.

GODFREY Lt. Edward Godfrey (1926) of the 7th cavalry says the next village to Black Kettle’s camp was about five miles away. On return, Godfrey was officer of the day and couldn’t visit the old battlefield. source: Hardorff, Washita Memories, page 148

BREWSTER. Lt. Charles Brewster (1899), who was riding with Custer, says Indian boys and squaws fought just as hard. “They promptly killed all white prisoners.” A squaw killed a white child. Hardorff, Washita Memories, page 160

RYAN. Sergeant John Ryan, 7th cavalry, wrote memoirs from 1876 on. He says a white woman prisoner was in the camp and killed during the fighting. On return trip in December, he went back to the battlefield. They collected the bodies of Elliott’s men “and also brought in the body of a white woman who was killed in Black Kettle’s camp.” Back at the expedition’s camp they dug graves for the men, but didn’t bury the woman or Elliott there. discussion : Source not used by Hardorff, who claims that the Blinns weren’t in Black Kettle village. Barnard, Ten Years, pages 80, 85.

CLARK. Scout Ben Clark (1899) mentions all the tribes gathered at the Washita, but mentions no Arapahos being there. On (p.209) Clark says Cheyenne killed own child and soldiers mistook it for white child. discussion : Questions of Clark’s deteriorating memory over the years. The Mexican living with the Cheyennes, whose name was Pilan, was killed during the battle of the Washita, and his daughter, says Clark (1899) lived in Oklahoma but died a few years ago (1896-97?). In an interview (1910), Clark (p.226) says the girl might still be living in 1910. Hardorff, Washita Memories, 207 + quoted in text

CLARK. On (p.211) Scout Ben Clark says there were four white scalps in the village. Still in the 1899 (p.213-14) interview, Clark says after they found Elliott and his men, a “short distance up the river” they found the naked body of a white woman and nearby her baby. The woman and child were captured during a Cheyenne raid in Colorado. The squaws killed her to prevent her rescue. discussion : Hardorff notes this is incorrect. He claims she was found in Yellow Bear’s Arapaho camp, and Clark “corrected” himself later—in 1903. Hardorff “corrects” Clark’s statements so much, why is he “wrong” in the 1899 statement, but “right” in 1903? Clark did not say he was amending the statement he made four years earlier. Generally the statement made closer to the event is the more accurate, as can probably be seen in Clark’s statement about Pilan’s daughter. Hardorff, Washita Memories, pages quoted in text

CLARK. On (p.220) Scout Ben Clark (1904) again says it was a Cheyenne woman who killed her own child, but several soldiers thought it was a white child. discussion : why is Clark right, and several other eyewitnesses wrong? Hardorff, Washita Memories, pages quoted in text

CLARK. On (p.227) Scout Ben Clark (1910) says Blinn captured near Sand Creek about September. Her body and her child’s body were found same day Elliott was found, in an Arapaho village five miles below Black Kettle’s camp. Clark also says that Mr. Blinn came with them on second expedition to look for them. discussion : Clark is wrong. Clara Blinn’s husband didn’t come with the expedition. Clark’s memory appears to be getting worse through the years. Also (p.230) Clark again says first village below Black Kettle’s was an Arapaho, located five miles away. In 1899 he mentioned Kiowas, Comanches, Apaches, and Wichitas being there, but no Arapahos. Clark makes several contradictory statements, some known to be incorrect. How can Hardorff select which ones he thinks are true? His “truth” is arbitrary, depending on his predilections. Hardorff, Washita Memories, pages quoted in text

CLARK. In 1903 letter (p.235) Scout Ben Clark says Blinn and child were found where an Arapaho village was, east side of river, and 4-5 miles below Black Kettle’s village. “It was afterwards said” that in the excitement of getting away, an Indian woman killed her. [It was said, but he doesn’t know for sure.] discussion : Hardorff again notes that Clara Blinn was killed in Yellow Bear’s camp. He says that Willie was in the way of the Indian women and they killed him. Clara refused to leave his body and they killed her. As a source, he cites an undated KansasCounty Star news clipping. Hardorff, Washita Memories, page quoted in text

CLARK. In same 1903 letter, Scout Ben Clark also says “I was out scouting” when the soldiers found Elliott and Blinn, and “understood” that she was buried where Elliott’s men were buried. discussion : Clara Blinn wasn’t buried with Elliot’s men, and it shows that Clark is just speculating about where Clara and her son were found and buried. Hardorff, Washita Memories, page 235

KEIM. Reporter Keim, who followed Custer and reported the battle of the Washita, wrote: “A white woman and a boy ten years of age, held by the Indians, were killed when the attack commenced.” Stan Hoig, The Battle of the Washita, page 211

KEIM.. Keim (1869) says that on return to Washita, they camped eight miles from Black Kettle’s village. It took a ride of an hour and a half to get from there to the battlefield. discussion: It makes one wonder what “danger” the Indians believed they were in that they would have had to kill the Blinns in a camp so far away. Hardorff, Washita, pages 255-56

KEIM Reporter Keim also says (p.262-63) that a detachment moving along the river near the “recent camp of the Kiowas” found bodies of white woman and child. Bodies brought into camp and she was recognized as Mrs. Blinn. Keim speculates that she was captured by Satanta near Ft.Lyon, and kept as his squaw. Hardorff, Washita, pages quoted in text

KEIM. Reporter Keim (1885) says camp of second expedition was eight miles from battlefield. A detachment found bodies of white woman and child at banks of the river near the old Kiowa camp. Keim says Satanta captured them. They brought in the Blinns and Elliott to camp. They then sent back wagons to get the bodies of Elliott’s men. Keim says farthest camp upriver was Black Kettle’s, then Arapahos under Little Raven, then Kiowas under Satanta, then Cheyennes and Arapahos, then Lipans. discussion: Which was Yellow Bear camp? If the Blinns were found in his Arapaho camp, why were they brought in on horseback with the body of major Elliott, which was found near the Washita battlefield? Hardorff (Washita, 262, in note) now says the Blinns were found in abandoned Arapaho camp two miles upstream from Sheridan’s bivouac, and six miles down from the Washita battlefield. Randolph Keim, Sheridan’s Troopers, pages 141, 148, 150-51.

JENNESS. Capt. George B. Jenness, 19th Kansas Volonteeer, wrote (1869) that the ashes of the Indian wigwams were along the river. It was there Black Kettle was killed. “Here were the bodies of five or six squaws and that of Mrs. Blinn and her child, lying some rods apart.” Jenness’s story also in where he saw the bodies himself and described how they were dressed. Hoig, The Battle of the Washita, page 212 Lonnie White, “White Woman Captives”, page 339

RODGERS. Pvt. J. Rodgers, Jenness’s orderly, “contradicted” Jenness by saying the Blinns were found a “short distance” downstream from the Elliott site. discussion: This means they were held in Black Kettle’s village. The “Arapahos” or other tribes didn’t bring her five or more miles upstream toward the battle to kill her. Hardorff, Washita, page 262

LIPPINCOTT.. Surg. H. Lippincott wrote in report (1868) that the bodies were found on Dec 11, “near the ground on which the Battle of the Washita was fought.” discussion: The Arapaho village would have been six miles away from Black Kettle’s village. Hoig, The Battle of the Washita, pages 211-12

STEWART. Capt. M. Stewart, 19th KS, (1868) wrote that on return to Washita, they camped five miles from battleground. Sheridan wanted to ride back and look for bodies. After finding Elliott, they went on a different trail than the one outbound, and along the wooded stream “before we had proceeded far,” they found evidence of more Indian camps for a distance of four miles, when they found the body of a white woman and boy. They reported facts to Sheridan, who ordered the two bodies removed along with Elliott. discussion: It doesn’t match with what other members of his unit said. Hardorff, Washita, pages 264-66

SHERIDAN. Gen. P. Sheridan (1868) says mail of murdered express riders was found in Black Kettle’s camp. Also found (p.281) mules, photos, other items taken in KS raids. He says eight miles down from BK camp were Arapahos. Says Black Kettle’s sister said there were three white women in lodges below Black Kettle’s camp. On (p. 278) Sheridan says Blinn and child found in one of the camps six miles down the river. discussion: Sheridan was not with the parties that found the Blinns, and did not see the bodies until they were brought into camp. They were speculating as to where they were found. Hardorff, Washita, pages 276-77

CUSTER. In official report (1868) General Custer says they secured two white children. “One white woman who was in their possession was murdered by her captors the moment we attacked.” Also mentions the murder of a white boy by a squaw. Says also that Black Kettle’s sister accused the Kiowas of having abducted Miss Blinn and her child. Custer locates the bodies in an Arapaho village. discussion: Custer was not with the parties that found the Blinns, and did not see the bodies until they were brought into camp. Hardorff, Washita, page 63

ALVORD. Capt. Henry Alvord, 10th Cav, says (1874) that Kiowas received their rations in person at Ft.Cobb on day before the battle and could not have been in the fight. discussion: Captain Alvord was in FortCobb, about 120 miles from the Washita battlefield. Hardorff, Washita, page 269

ALVORD. Captain Alvord’s scouting reports (November 22, 26, 1868, before the battle of the Washita happened) expressly state that Clara Blinn and her son were with Cheyennes. On 11-22, “at the Cheyenne camp there is a white woman and her child.” On 11-26, “the white woman held captive at that camp is Clara Blinn.” discussion: These reports, which are a very strong proof that the Blinns were in Black Kettle’s village, are not used by Hardorff in his book. Greene, Washita, page 255 note 28

HAZEN. Hazen wrote (1869) that trader Griffinstein’s wife, Cheyenne Jenny, died. Griff sent word to Black Kettle’s camp, where Cheyenne Jenny’s mother lived. Black Kettle himself came to see Hazen about the woman’s estate. The boy who delivered the initial message to Black Kettle and Jenny’s mother noticed a white woman in Black Kettle’s camp. He told Hazen about it. Hazen sent a mixed-blood boy, Cheyenne Jack, to Black Kettle’s camp with pencil and paper, so the white woman could identify herself. The white woman wrote the letter on Nov. 7, identifying herself as Clara Blinn and stating she was “with the Cheyennes.” discussion: A very strong proof that Clara Blinn was not with Yellow Bear or any other tribe. Hardorff doesn’t mention that Cheyenne Jack came to Black Kettle’s camp to see Blinn.] Hardorff, Washita, page 289. Gregory Michno, A Fate Worse than death, page 152

SARAH WHITE. Sarah says she was a white captive “down the river a short distance in the other camps.” She heard the firing. “As soon as the battle started the Indians spirited her away and took her farther down the river.” discussion: Why wouldn’t they have done the same with Clara Blinn if she was also in one of the downstream camps? Hardorff, Washita, pages 343-44

People who said that the Blinns were killed in or near Black Kettle’s village E = eyewitness who saw finding of bodies

E - John Ryan (1876) Ben Clark (1899) George Custer (1868) E - George Jenness (1869) E - Joseph Rodgers Henry Lippincott (1868) Alvord’s scouts (1868) E - Sam Crawford (1911)

It’s important to note that trader William Griffinstein, husband of Cheyenne Jenny, sent word to Black Kettle’s camp, where Cheyenne Jenny’s mother lived, that Jenny had died. Black Kettle himself came to see Hazen about the woman’s estate. The boy who delivered the initial message to BK and Jenny’s mother noticed a white woman in Black Kettle’s camp. He told Hazen about it. Hazen sent mixed-blood boy, Cheyenne Jack, to Black Kettle’s camp with pencil and paper, so woman could identify herself. Blinn wrote the letter on Nov. 7, stating she was “with the Cheyennes.” Also, as late as Nov. 22 and 26, Alvord’s scouts reported Blinn was in Cheyenne camp.

Ben Clark said in 1899, that upriver from Elliott they found the Blinns. He told a different story in later years, where we can see other points where his memory faltered.

Was Blinn killed in Black Kettle’s camp? Some eyewitnesses say yes, others no. In any case she was with Black Kettle until the battle or shortly before it. Being found downstream means the Indians were running away with her. They did not have her in a camp miles downstream and ran with her toward the attacking soldiers. White captives Morgan and White, who were downstream in another Cheyenne camp, never did such a move. They also never claimed to have seen the Blinns. Weight of evidence points to fact that the Blinns were with Black Kettle’s Cheyennes the entire time, until the time of the battle, or immediately preceding it. She may not have been killed directly in the village, but certainly some distance downstream while the Indians fled, probably during Godfrey’s or Elliott’s downstream moves. Custerwest 13:13, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

Little Rock interview with Wynkoop[edit]

I can finally report that, per talk page consensus established in the straw poll on August 6, the complete text of Little Rock's interview by Edward Wynkoop about the raids on the Saline & Solomon rivers in August 1868 is now available on Wikisource. See Interview between E. W. Wynkoop and Little Rock. The interview is also now linked in the article in the Background section (which I'm currently working on revising/expanding). --Yksin 08:45, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Biased article[edit]

- White reactions to the battle are entirely biased - no recollection of Whites thanking Custer. The New York Times wrote an entire editorial thanking Custer. Where is it? It's quoted in Hoig.

- The names of the victims of Indian "raiding" (aka massacres) are available. They should be put on the article.

- "Historian Joseph B. Thoburn considers the destruction of Black Kettle's village too one-sided to be called a battle" One-sided cannot be considered as a proof of a massacre. It's not because Black Ketlle's troops were inferior to Custer that Custer killed civilians during the battle. This statement is insane.

- Historians Robert Utley and Gregory Michno both call Washita a battle. Why are their statements not quoted?

- The article is obviously written in a pro-indian view. Every mention of settlers being killed has disapeared. Indian "victims"of the battle have a full page, and the names or number of White victims of Indian "raiding" (aka massacres) are masked. 117 victims of Indian massacres, 14 women raped, 10 children abducted.

- Clara Blinn, Black Kettle's hostages, eventually murdered by the Cheyennes, needs a sectio for her.

- More than 10 warchiefs are numbered in Black Kettle's village. The "no known military commander" is POV.

This article is biased. Custerwest 11:43, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

Just to note, although I reverted Custerwest's edits because they broke ref tags, I don't know if I would support those edits if cleaned up. They seemed to go against the consensus established in recent discussion, they didn't use edit summaries, and they were not cited. On the top of the page is the admonishment, "Please read the discussion on the talk page before making substantial changes." I would say one should join the discussion and wait until substantial changes are clearly part of consensus, as a way of not being disruptive. Those are just my suggestions. Best, Smmurphy(Talk) 14:03, 21 September 2007 (UTC)
Those offenses, plus the COI quoting above, which was beyond a final warning, have now resulted in Custerwest being blocked for 24 hours. AKRadeckiSpeaketh 15:03, 21 September 2007 (UTC)
Reply from Yksin. I wonder anyway if Michno has put his notes in the public domain, or if not whether he has granted license to Custerwest to distribute it. Besides the obvious COI problems with Custerwest citing to his blog, there is also the problem of WP:LINKS#Restrictions on linking: Custerwest's blog is rife with unlicensed copyrighted material, & that policy specifically prohibits anyone from linking to sites the violate copyright.
Problems still present in the article are why there's an {{ActiveDiscuss}} tag on it stating that
This article or section is currently being developed or reviewed. Some statements may be disputed, incorrect, unverified, biased or otherwise objectionable. Please read the discussion on the talk page before making substantial changes.

Gregory Michno is currently a member of and offered his work to the website. Let's talk about the content, then. Custerwest 18:01, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Many of the complaints Custerwest made have already been discussed on this talk pages (see also the archives, especially Archive 3 (August 2007). Which isn't to say that we can't discuss them again. One of the problems is that this article is still very much in a state of development, so sections such as the one about whether this was a battle or massacre is unbalanced & POV, I think we've even discussed before how the citations from the dickshovel site are problematic because that site is an unreliable source; we should go directly to the newspaper articles cited instead, or check out the sections of Hoig & Greene where national reaction to this event are discussed. Others of Custerwest's suggestions I disagree with -- I've done lots more reading on Cheyenne traditional governance, & the sources are in agreement that in Cheyenne society, the office of chief (making one a member of the Council of Forty-four was a separate office with separate functions from that of war leader. And since this is bound to keep coming up, I'll pull together some reference & quotes about it tonight -- it's not just George Bent who has discussed this, but anthropologists & ethnologists & historians, including Hoig. The claim that there were "more than 10 warchiefs" in Black Kettle's village is mainly based on a sensationalistic claim by Keim in his newspaper. As a significant view, it merits mention, but should not be given undue weight given that sources like Hardorff & Greene count the names given by Keim only as names of men killed, not of "men who were warchiefs."
Clara Blinn... this has come up so many times, I don't know how many times we've said "it has to be NPOV" which means that all significant views published in reliable sources need mention, not just the view that Custerwest is promoting. If those really are Michno's notes quoted extensively above, well, all due respect to Michno, but I see problems with some (though not all) of his speculations; & I don't see any final & definitive proof that the Blinns were in Black Kettle's camp. Nor do I see final & definitive proof that they were not. The final verdict is "nobody knows for sure."

Scout Griffenstein sent a boy to Black Kettle's village who saw a white woman. She wrote a letter on November 7, 1868, and identified herself as being Clara Blinn. Captain Alvord of Fort Cobb identified Clara Blinn as being with the Cheyennes. Your "final verdict" is ignoring strong evidences. Custerwest 18:08, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Including the names of everyone killed in the Saline/Solomon & other massacres or raids or whatever you want to call them seems to me to put undue weight on them for the purpose of this article: this is an article about the Washita battle, not about the Saline/Solomon raids. If you want to include every name, then you have a blog for that purpose. Perhaps you could even develop a Wikipedia article about the raids, as long as you were capable of meeting WP:NPOV, WP:NOR, & WP:VERIFY. But that's not the article we're working on here: we're working on Battle of Washita River. The purpose of discussing the Saline/Solomon raids & the overall raiding behavior of Cheyenne & other tribes during this period is to establish that as part of the background of why Sheridan launched the winter campaign that led to the Washita. Nor in fact has is it true that "Every mention of settlers being killed has disapeared," as you (Custerwest) claim. The article currently states: "Among these raids were those along the Solomon and Saline rivers in Kansas, commencing on August 10, 1868, during which at least 15 white settlers were killed, others wounded, and some women raped or taken captive." I agree, however, that the total numbers of whites killed in the raids of that period (summer/fall 1868) in the region needs mention, because it wasn't just raids by the Cheyenne & it wasn't just the Saline/Solomon raids that prompted Sheridan's response.

The battle of the Washita was conducted because of dozens of massacres in Kansas by the people you called "no known military commanders". Black Kettle's meeting in Fort Cobb didn't bring anything to the debate, yet it's all over the article. I want the victims to be as important as their murderers, especially when one try to write revisionist history with "no known military commanders". Custerwest 18:08, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Besides that, I can only say I'm still working on this, with a goal of being done with my own substantive work on this over the next three or four weeks. Right now I'm working on the "Background" section (see the sandbox, & sometimes working on or even creating articles on related topics. Sorry if I work so slow. But I also have a life outside this article, indeed, outside Wikipedia altogether. --Yksin 17:30, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

The "Solomon/Saline Massacres" were important for the overall Washita campaign. They need to be put here. Little Rock's interview needs to be put here too (an extract). Every evidence against Black Kettle is dismissed, yet the chief is quoted in an entire chapter. It's pro-Cheyenne propaganda at best. Custerwest 18:08, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Custerwest's edits[edit]

Though tedentious, I'm curious if we can find a better source than dickshovel. Murderbike 18:41, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

Meh, I see Yksin has once again addressed every response I had formulated in my head. Well done. Murderbike 18:48, 21 September 2007 (UTC)

Maj. Joel Elliott[edit]

I can now understand the difficulties posed by attempts to edit this article into a respectable encyclopedia piece that is not marred by interpretive agendas about the nature of GAC and the battle itself from several points of view.

I note a good deal of energy spent trying to ascertain where and how Clara Binn was killed, a matter that was not established factually at the time of the battle and certainly won't be at a remove of nearly one hundred and forty years.

I am stunned, however,that this article would spend so much time and specificity on the run-up to the battle, to Binn, and to the disputed number of Cheyenne casualties and completely ignore what any first level student of the battle knows was the raging controversy in its immediate aftermath: the fate of Maj. Joel Elliott and the nineteen troopers killed with him him while detached at GAC's orders from the main command following the battle in the village - and the serious and substantive allegations made at the time that Custer had abandoned Elliott and his men to their deaths.

This is an actual controversy that has raged practically since the battle, and this article doesn't even raise it as a controversy despite the fact that one's position on it has much to do with the "battle" vs. "massacre" dispute.

Note that the article simply states that Elliott was killed. But note further that the article identifies the total number of 7th Cavalry dead as 21 troopers. As previously noted, 19 of these were with Elliott (and clearly killed by hostiles [probably both Cheyenne and Kiowa] bent on retribution for the attack on Black Kettle from the encampments further up the river]).

That means that the entire rest of of the attacking battalion lost two killed in a direct frontal assault on a presumably hostile village while inflicting a significantly greater number of casualties by anyone's estimate.

My intent is not to make an interpretation of this fact but rather to suggest that it is and has been regarded as a far more significant detail than much of what does appear in this article. That it potentially reflects badly on Custer (and that his enemies at the time strove mightily to make it do so) is no excuse (and I use that word intentionally) for its omission from any discussion of this battle.

Thus, my suggestion for improving this as an encyclopedia article with some integrity is to include some reference to Elliott's fate and the subsequent controversy. Sensei48 07:24, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

I agree completely. It's one of the many things on my plate to work on. Any assistance you can provide would be more than welcome. If you've taken a look at the talk page archives -- notice how quickly they've built up since June -- you'll see the controversy about Clara Blinn taken up over & over again, mainly by Custerwest, as he appears to believe this is absolutely central; to me, though it merits discussion, it's another one of those questions of WP:WEIGHT. But you know, your comments have given new perspective that I hadn't heard of before on the massacre question -- the fact that only two soldiers were killed at the village. That's really rather incredible. Elliott & his men only died because they came up against reinforcements from the downstream camps, all of whom came prepared to fight. --Yksin 08:08, 22 September 2007 (UTC)
Good call Sensei48, where have you been all our lives;) Seriously though, this article needs help, and you seem to be qualified to provide it. Murderbike 16:27, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

I've been lurking far too long (and working on some music and sports articles) and leaving too much of the heavy lifting here and on the LBH and GAC articles to you, Yskin, and Miskwito. Hiding somewhere within these three pieces are good articles struggling to come out, and I'd like to try to help.

Before I head over to the sandbox and try to do a short but sourced paragraph on the Elliott matter, I'd throw out a couple of my POV observations about the editing process here.

a) Each of the three pieces apparently started life as good faith efforts to discuss their subjects with at least some attempts at sourcing.

b) Objections to specific points or wording in the original pieces (for example, custerwest's concerns about Clara Binn and other captives here, and CW's approach to Lakota tactics on LBH [the "merciless" controversy] and subsequent responses, reverts, and sourced justifications have drawn a considerable amount of energy away from the structure and nature of the articles overall, often because attempts at civil discussion have been countered with blunt or emotionally-charged exceptions.

c) To whatever extent "b" is true and without a limitless amount of time (Yskin observes in one note that s/he actually has a life away from Wikipedia and opines correctly that we all do), we find ourselves responding/editing/correcting piecemeal, as I did yesterday with the flamingly factually inaccurate captions to some pictures over at LBH.

d) Yskin has undertaken a major revision of this article, and Miskwito has done an admirable job of shortening and making more objective the LBH battle section of the GAC entry (though it hasn't been posted and saved yet). What remains is to sort out the factual accuracies and admirably supported sections of the LBH article itself from the flagrant POV and assumption of facts not in evidence that permeate and fatally flaw that article (which parenthetically I cannot believe ever attained good article status, even if it was revoked). That is going to be a really big job, one that I think will almost require a tear down/start over approach. I can't say that I'll have time to do so (at least all at once), but my instincts suggest that it might be done within the same organizational framework of the existing article, perhaps section by section. Sensei48 18:03, 22 September 2007 (UTC) Addendum: Do we really have to have these "in popular culture/modern views" sections? They are in all three GAC-related pieces highly idiosyncratic and POV. How many references to the movie Little Big Man contribute anything to broader understanding? And Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman? Please. I would think that in an encyclopedia article a discussion of controversial modern scholarship - such as interpretations of the LBH archeology or The conclusions that Michno reaches in his books - would be more profitable. Just IMHO. Sensei48 18:16, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Well, I think that the way modern laypeople perceive events like the battles of Washita and LBH are certainly notable, and that representations in popular culture is a good way of showing that perception. We need to be really careful, obviously, that such sections aren't just "also this book talks about the Battle of the Washita! And this book! And this movie! And THIS movie too!". There are way too many of those on Wikipedia, and they don't contribute anything to an article. If we manage to keep the section focused on what the presentation of the event in those movies/books/etc. tells us about modern layperson's perceptions of them, I think the section can be quite useful. Popular conceptions of events in the modern day aren't always the same as modern academic conclusions and beliefs about them, and the difference between those views can be interesting as well. --Miskwito 20:40, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Fair enough, and I suppose that a thoughtfully constructed section of this sort could indeed be informative. I'm frustrated, though, that the ones on these Custer pages are so uneven, eclectic, and disorganized. One more thing to do here, I guess. Sensei48 05:05, 23 September 2007 (UTC)

Criticism on the Elliott affair came from one source - Captain Benteen, a notorious Custer hater who accused Custer of sleeping with his black servant, of cheating, called him a "scoundrel" and eventually disobeyed his orders at the battle of the Little Bighorn. I don't think it can be seen as a reliable source. Sergeant John Ryan said that Custer sent a platoon to look for Elliott. Scout Ben Clark said that Custer never let Elliott down. Captain Myers, who let the platoon, never found Elliott and reported it to Custer. The Elliott affair is an hoax. Custerwest 18:13, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

I certainly agree with you Custerwest if Benteen proves to be the only source, and I've called into question the idea of using him as a source for the alleged existence of a Custer love child with Meo-tzi for the reasons you mention. I know Reno at LBH expressed the fear that Custer would abandon his command "as he did Maj. Elliott," but reports of that were hearsay (via Lt. Godfrey). Let's check back - I think Benteen may have prompted some sort of army inquiry into the matter, which would have cleared GAC in any event. But it ought to me mentioned in the article as a point of controversy about the battle. Sensei48 18:23, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

I undertook what may become a stopgap revision for the short-coming re: Elliott, using Utley as a source. His work is dispassionate and well-sourced, and the revision reflects his reporting on the issue, not my interpretation of it. Buckboard 14:37, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Fine job - dispassionate, NPOV, and sourced with Utley. I want to come back, though, to a point I made above a few months back but didn't pursue. The article lists the official USA dead at one officer and 21 men dead - and Elliott had 19 with him (and of course he was the officer). I don't recall if Utley mentions the circumstance - that toward the end of the shooting in the village, Elliott detached himself and his command from the main body, apparently in pursuit of some fleeing the village - Elliott heard to shout "Here's for a brevet or a coffin" before he ran into an unhappy and unfriendly band of Cheyenne and Kiowa rushing to the aid of Black Kettle's village.That means that in a direct frontal assault with more than 500 soldiers on a village presumed hostile, exactly 2 US cavalrymen were killed. Whether the Cheyenne casualty list is 53 or 103 - and whether they were warriors or old people and women and children - that's some mighty fine military work, inflicting 25 to 50 times more deaths on your enemy than you suffer. I think that this fact - and it is a fact - needs to be integrated into the "battle or massacre" section. FWIW, I think it was a battle - brutal, but still a battle. Those casualty lists, however, can't be ignored in the debate about whether it was a massacre or not.Sensei48 (talk) 18:50, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

The difference between a chief & a military society headsman[edit]

As promised earlier today, here are a few quotes from sources about the social structure of Cheyenne society, confirming George Bent's statement about chiefs not being war leaders, & that Black Kettle and Little Rock as chiefs were not "military commanders" of their village.

Llewellyn, K.N. and E. Adamson Hoebel. (1941). The Cheyenne Way: Conflict and Case Law in Primitive Jurisprudence. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. "[T]he Cheyennes as a tribal unit possessed a governmental organization with delegated functionaries of two orders: the tribal chiefs who made up the Council of Forty-Four, and the military societies." (p. 67)

"Soldiers, other than military society leaders, were not barred from chiefship in the Council of Forty-Four. This was necessary, of course, if the quality of the Council was to be held at a high level. But a soldier chief was never permitted to be a tribal chief at the same time. When a soldier chief was selected by the tribal Council to fill the place of a deceased head chief (one of the five priest-chiefs) as was frequently done (Little Wolf was the last to be so honored), he automatically retired from the leadership of his society and gave up all affiliation with his military brethren. The Cheyennes reiterate that the appointment of tribal chiefs is elevation to a position of responsibility to the entire tribe. We interpret the rule which separated the supreme tribal and the military chieftainships, preventing the vesting of the powers of the two types of office in any one individual, as a constitutional device designed to forestall undue accumulation of power by any special interest group. It served to guarantee the principle of checks and balances as between the military and civil branches of the social organization." (p. 102)

Hoebel, E. Adamson. (1960) The Cheyennes: Indians of the Great Plains. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. "The keystone of the Cheyenne social structure is the tribal council of forty-four peace chiefs. War may be a major concern of the Cheyennes and defense against the hostile Crow and Pawnee a major problem of survival, yet clearly the Cheyennes sense that a more fundamental problem is the danger of disintegration through internal dissension and aggressive impulses of Cheyenne against Cheyenne. Hence, the supreme authority of the tribe lies not in the hands of aggressive war leaders but under the control of even-tempered peace chiefs. All the peace chiefs are proven warriors, but when a chief of a military association is raised to the rank of peace chief, he must resign his post in the military society. He retains his membership, but not his position as war chief. The fundamental separation of civil and military powers, with the supremacy of the civil, which is characteristic of so many American Indian tribes and is written into the Constitution of the United States, is most explicit in the unwritten constitution of the Cheyenne nation." (p. 37)

"The leaders [of the military societies] are the main war chiefs of the tribe, although any competent man may organize and lead a war party." (p. 34)

Hence, the fact of a warrior leading a war party doesn't make him a "war chief", a fact also stated in by Grinnell:

Grinnell, George Bird. [1923]. (1972). The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Ways of Life, vol. 1. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. "The war chiefs of the Cheyennes were the chiefs of the different soldier bands, and led these bands when any duties were to be performed. They were not especially leaders of war-parties, for any man who could enlist followers might lead a party to war." (p. 340)

Hoig, Stan. (1980). The Peace Chiefs of the Cheyennes. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. "The Council of the Forty-four was the ruling body of the Cheyenne Nation. It was comprised of four chiefs from each of the ten bands of the tribe plus four who were the principal chiefs. Though many of those chosen were member of war societies, a Cheyenne could not retain such membership after being named a chief." (p. 11)

Moore, John H. (1987). The Cheyenne Nation: A Social and Demographic History. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-3107-5. "The Council of Forty-four can be best understood as a group that transcended the individual band and truly tied all the bands together in a novel manner. Soldier chiefs ("headsmen," more properly) were required to resign from their military societies to become council chiefs, whereupon they took up the pipe and bag as their symbols and wore a single feather, symbolizing the personal modesty they were supposed to exhibit." (Moore 1987, p. 107)

"Chiefs were charged with two duties only: peacemaking within the nation and foreign relations, especially trade, and treatymaking. They council chiefs were emphatically not the rulers of bands, and they had no power to make war. There is some confusion in Cheyenne ethnography on this latter point, which has been emphasized to me by many of the modern chiefs. If the council met to consider an issue of foreign relations, they could either opt for peace or else take no action. In the latter case a military society could then take the decision from the council, opt for war, and try to mobilize the nation. If a consensus formed around the plans of a military society, then the nation went to war. But the chiefs' council could not declare was; they could only declare peace." (Moore 1987, pp. 108-109)

In later pages, Moore explores the growing polarization during the mid-19th century between the council chiefs, who had an orientation towards trade and peace (p. 191), and the Dog Soldiers, which was a soldier or military society that transformed into its own band beginning in the late 1830s, & which had an orientation towards warfare & plundering (p. 197). This polarization even had expression in marriage practices:

From the standpoint of the uterine or "peace" faction, led by council chiefs and organized for trade and production, band exogamy was necessary, useful, and in a word "proper." Marriage within the band did not create alliances or trading relationships between bands and might very well lead to destructive jealousies and political competition among brothers. It is documented that Black Kettle, Bear Above, Red Moon, Whirlwind, Little Chief, Heap of Birds, High-Backed Wolf, and Wolf on a Hill were all the sons of council chiefs, married off into other bands. These kinds of chiefs were the nucleus of the peace faction.

From the standpoint of the agnatic or "Dog Soldier" faction, however, there was no great advantage to exogamy. Since they cared little for trade, they did not need far-flung alliances. Anyway, they were committed to keeping large militan camps, summer and winter, both for defense and to facilitate raiding against white settlements, supply trains, and the railroads.

Therefore Mooney was told in 1906 that the warrior chiefs "try hard to have men marry in their own band to retain warriors." Since the emphasis was on men and on warfare in the agnatic groups, the status of women suffered considerably, and they were sometimes subjected to organized brutality. My debate with other scholars on the matter of gang rape has appeared in Plains Anthropologist. In any event, lacking any commitment to trade, peace, or the productive role of women in making buffalo robes, members of the agnatic faction did not necessarily see exogamy as proper.(Mooney 1987, p. 254)

Moore further notes that the "agnatic" Dog Soldier bands "were not led by council chiefs concerned with trade and with maintaining peace relationships, but by headsmen or 'soldier chiefs' who were interested in raiding and plunder." (p. 197) At the height of their influence, the main Dog Soldier camp -- the one at Pawnee Fork that Hancock burned in 1867 -- had 111 Cheyenne and 140 Sioux lodges, whereas the "peace faction" was extremely small: there were only 47 Cheyenne lodges in Black Kettle's camp at the Washita. (p. 199) --Yksin 09:37, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Well, as we used to say when we concluded a proof in Geometry, QED. I hope that you type faster than I do because that's a helluva a lot of proof to post here. Add smiley. Sensei48 18:19, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Black Kettle's estate according to... himself[edit]

Black Kettle's warriors murdered dozens of civilians, raped women and children, sold them to Mexicans, commited abductions, pedofilia, murder, stealings... Yet they are not considered as an "hostile" force because their "organisation is not a White one. Black Kettle cannot be described as a "military commander" because his men saw him in a different perspective. It's useless to note that he was harboring, feeding, training 150 warriors who had just commited outrages. The worse example of political correctness : a commander of armed men is a military one only if he's from Western civilization. Custerwest 18:17, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Picture of hostage Clara Blinn[edit]

Clara Blinn was Black Kettle's 19-years-old hostage, whose Cheyenne Jack found in early November in Black Kettle's village. She was murdered and scalped by the Cheyennes on November 27, 1868. Her son was smashed against a tree and scalped too. Her husband Richard claimed the body in 1869 after a year of researchs. Nevertheless, Wikipedia editors think that she isn't enough important to be put in the article. Custerwest 18:21, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Image (portrait of Clara Blinn):

False quotes[edit]

In the casualties list: Sheridan is quoted to have said that less that 20 warriors had been killed. But the source doesn't say that:

"Everything in it was killed but three persons" it means 250 (total population) - 53 (civilians, prisoners) - three persons on the report = 194. Colonel William Hazen estimates the casualties as 194.

E. D. Towsend for Colonel William Hazen.

"... killing the chief Black Kettle and 102 Indian warriors whose bodies were found on the field" (Sheridan, Philip H. (1868-12-03). Report to Brevet Maj. Gen. W.A. Nichols, Assistant Adjutant General, Military Division of the Missouri. In U.S. Senate 1869) Custerwest 18:33, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Well, first of all, Sheridan wasn't "quoted"; he was cited. But in any cases, the citation in the article is accurate. You write:
In the casualties list: Sheridan is quoted to have said that less that 20 warriors had been killed. But the source doesn't say that:
You then go on to quote from pp. 31 & 32 of the U.S. Senate document. But the report cited in the table is from pp. 34-35 of the U.S. Senate document. The Sheridan report you point out is from from p. 32, which was actually from a report dated November 29, 1868, not "1868-12-03" (December 3), as you incorrectly identified it. The November 29, 1868 report on p. 32 indeed says "Black Kettle and 102 Indian warriors"; Sheridan seems to have based this report on Custer's report to him after the battle. But, this is not the report that Hardorff quotes on pp. 275-277 in Washita Memories or cites in his table on p.403 of his book, and upon which the table in the article is based.
Here's the Sheridan report actually cited in the table: Sheridan, Philip H. (1868-12-03). Report to Brevet Maj. Gen. W.A. Nichols, Assistant Adjutant General, Military Division of the Missouri. In U.S. Senate 1869, pp. 34-35. Reproduced in Hardorff 2006, pp. 275-277. At the bottom of p. 34 of the report as it appears in the U.S. Senate executive document, Sheridan writes: "Thirteen Cheyenne, two Sioux, and one Arapaho, chiefs were killed, making 16 in all." This report, as he himself stated, was based upon interviews with the female captives with the assistance of the translator Dick Curtis, probably the very same interview that gave rise to reporter Keim's newspaper story about "chiefs." Thus, the table is correct.
You write:
"Everything in it was killed but three persons" it means 250 (total population) - 53 (civilians, prisoners) - three persons on the report = 194. Colonel William Hazen estimates the casualties as 194. -- E. D. Towsend for Colonel William Hazen.
What Hazen wrote in this report to Sherman on November 30, 1868 (first page of the report is here; it was written by Hazen, not by Townsend on his behalf -- Townsend just got the official copy of it) was this: "A scout is just in from up the Washita, reporting that on the morning of Thursday last (this is Monday) a camp of Cheyennes of 30 lodges, Black Kettle's, was surrounded, attacked, and everything in it killed and destroyed but three persons. Black Kettle was himself killed." However, nowhere in this report does Hazen make mention of 250 total in the camp -- he doesn't have an exact or estimated number of individuals in the camp, only the number of lodges -- 30 (which is at least 20 lower than the number found in other sources), nor does he mention prisoners, "civilian" or otherwise. Nor does the figure 194 appear anywhere in his report. So where did those numbers come from? From elsewhere.
This is an excellent example of the variety of original research that Wikipedia policy calls Synthesis of published material serving to advance a position:
Editors often make the mistake of thinking that if A is published by a reliable source, and B is published by a reliable source, then A and B can be joined together in an article to advance position C. However, this would be an example of a new synthesis of published material serving to advance a position, and as such it would constitute original research. "A and B, therefore C" is acceptable only if a reliable source has published this argument in relation to the topic of the article.'
So this figure of 194 as "Hazen's estimate" could only be included in the article if you could find a reliable source that had published this questionable arithmetic. --Yksin 20:56, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Hazen's source : "Everything in it was killed but three persons" it means 250 (total population) - 53 (civilians, prisoners) - three persons on the report = 194. Colonel William Hazen estimates the casualties as 194. E. D. Towsend for Colonel William Hazen. Custerwest (talk) 16:41, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Custerwest: "Black Kettle's warriors ... commited pedofilia" What's your next reproach? Cannibalism? Are you a Swiss supporter of the KKK or what?!? Why do you have such a hate for Native Americans? Jake 20:09, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Don't be that dumb. Black Kettle's warriors smashed a two-year-old White boy against a tree after having abused him and her 19-year-old mother. This article refuses to cite both of them because of infamous political correctness. It's justice.

Custerwest (talk) 16:41, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

More Edits 5/28/08[edit]

I am making one significant edit to the text of the historical section in two places, adding sourced information about Maj. Joel Elliott and the extent to which the casualties with his detachment contributed to the very minor loss of life in the attacking regiment.

I am also trying to remove most of the sections on The Last Samurai and Dr. Quinn because they are superfluous and seriously OT in an article that is on a topic in history. The problem is that I keep voiding the entire notes and references sections in trying to do so, so I'm going to throw in a Help Me somewhere here. Those sections should be reduced to a sentence or two each or eliminated altogether. The extensive summary serves no purpose toward the greater understanding of the battle. All you need for Samurai is one sentence about massacre/nightmares, and the for Quinn merely the a-historicity of the treatment of GAC and Washita. Sensei48 (talk) 07:13, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Which I now have done. This is an article on an event in history; extensive references to fictitious or inaccurate references in popular culture add nothing to the understanding of this event. The article as a whole would be better off without this section at all, IMO. Sensei48 (talk) 07:49, 29 May 2008 (UTC)

Battle or massacre?[edit]

This section is just a stacked hand pretending to be a debate- reads more like a petulant retort. If there is doubt then why isn't it seriously explored, rather than having one voice drowned out???

"Custer's direct frontal assault on an armed and presumably hostile encampment" laughably glosses over the fact it was a civilian locus and that women and children and presumably other non-combatants were killed. How much of a "battle" can you have against civilians? It was an atrocity for sure, by modern understanding of International Humanitarian Law at the least. (talk) 10:05, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

'By a modern understanding" is not the point of the section, which has more carefully edited balance than I think you give it credit for. First, Wikipedia articles are supposed to be balanced, not reactionary, politically correct, inflammatory, or revisionist. No legitimate "voice" has been drowned out, and if you feel that more attention needs to be paid to the massacre angle, you can of course do so - as others have here by citing reputable historians discussing the event in its historical context. Second, perceptions of the event as a massacre have been greatly distorted by pop culture versions, notably Little Big Man and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Look at the very carefully researched, annotated, and balanced section in the article on "Indian Casualties" and you'll see that there is a very real problem ascertaining how many non-combatants were killed. Further, if you read this Talk page in its entirety, you'll see a very lively debate over just this exact point, including some cogently presented arguments that this village was no more a "civilian locus" than a medieval walled city was. I'm not sure what your understanding of the nature of Plains warfare is, even among the tribes themselves - the Lakota, for example, certainly never regarded an attack on a Crow village as an assault on a civilian locus.
Third - the paragraph that you cite about the "presumably hostile encampment" was my interpolation in an attempt to balance that section toward the massacre approach. Did you read the paragraph and note the intent of the use of "presumably"? The utter lack of cavalry casualties beyond Capt. Hamilton in the village casts suspicion on the event as a battle. I also edited a year ago the information about Maj. Joel Elliott and pointed out that all but one of the cavalry soldiers killed were detached with him.
And that is as far as it is permissible to go without bending the article past a midpoint and into one POV or another- present relevant facts from citable sources and let readers decide what they will. Sensei48 (talk) 12:04, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

If the an author is using an historical semantic of a word that no longer meets current meaning of a word, then it has to be pointed out, otherwise it is very clearly misleading. A quick exampel would be that I couldn't get away with calling someone 'gay' to indicate them being very happy.

By today's standards Washita was an atrocity. Do you not agree? Or do I have to cite the Geneva Conventions paragraphs. Now, it could be argued that at the time, the moral outlook was different, but you really need to draw that distinction clearly (and moreover back it up).

Though, given that the white contingent of the day (and some contributing here too) were all too apt to declare any numerous deaths at the hands of Indians as massacres, I suspect we have a double standard. So, really I can't see how an historical argument would work either without approaching the racism behind the double standard.

So, I see the whole "massacre question" as a being a political thing rather than a tactical thing. As it stands by modern standards it was clearly an atrocity. By modern standards it was clearly a massacre in so far as it was the cold blooded killing of civilians. (talk) 16:24, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

OK - well-stated, even where I don't agree (for example, in plenty of contexts "gay" still means happy). I'd still contrast this event to the Sand Creek Massacre - there, Chivington and the Colorado Volunteers' avowed purpose was the slaughter of all the Cheyenne in the village, whereas the Washita engagement was a supposedly punitive attack on an encampment whose warriors were responsible for numerous depredations against white settlers in Kansas and environs - as many as 300 killed by some estimates, mostly farmers and their families. Now Black Kettle's village may or may not have harbored some of those warriors - they may have been upstream in other Cheyenne and Kiowa villages - but the non-combatant deaths as GAC described them would today be labeled collateral damage, not unlike civilian deaths in an air strike against a military target in one of our current wars.
The problem goes deeper, though. Consider aerial bombardments during WWII - let's say a German industrial city like Hamburg that produced massive amounts of war materiél. The military targets were usually factories - but factories staffed largely at the time (as they were in the U.S.)by women and other non-combatants. Would we call the resultant deaths here a massacre? Even if not due to the military nature of their work, what about civilian deaths from errant bombs that missed their targets - these numbered in the thousands. Again, a massacre? Or what about the 10 to 30 thousand French casualties in Normandy - in Caen and LeHavre especially - in the shelling/bombardment prior to D-Day?
Having said all that, I actually lean toward the "unjustified massacre" side of the question in the Washita affair - but I've put in a load of time on this article to try to protect its balance so that it doesn't become mere POV blogging. To that end - I'd bet that you can find plenty of reputable sources that allege exactly the racism/massacre argument that you articulate at Washita. You could edit that material into the discussion in that section. In fact - there were allegations of the same made at the time, and they might be available and of use.Sensei48 (talk) 19:36, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Oh appreciate your effort. i just think perhaps too many cooks have spoiled the broth, and as per usual have created a new problem in the blind spot.

Obviously the casual reader's first and possibly only frame of reference regarding war crimes is going to be the current understanding of it. Which may not even be accurate...

The problem I see in your response, is that there is no such thing as legal "collateral damage" in International Law. Targeting civilians, even indirectly, is a war crime, pure and simple. The problem is that the rich Europeans keep winning and prosecution is very rare- obviously, it's the losers like Milosevic that get the hot seat and not the winners like Madeline Albright.

So, no 'collateral damage' is not currently a legal defence when the target is clearly civilian or close enough to civilians to make casualties or damage to civilian infrastructure likely. Thus, if you have a primary school with a rocket emplacement parked up on it, it is still an illegal target; an ambulance driven by a combatant is still an illegal target; a civilian housing block with a sniper on it cannot be legally bombed unless you know that no one but combatants are in the block. It happens all the time, but like I said: Victors' Justice.

It's easy to infer a lot in hindsight regarding the fact the GW Bush refused to ratify Clinton's signing up of the USA to the International Criminal Court.

Well, fire bombings of Hamburg, Berlin and Dresden are considered to be war crimes by just about every German I have met. Again, as important as Nuremberg was in terms of International Law, it was still victors' justice. Tit for tat might cut it in a public bar, but not in a serious debate on legality (causality, perhaps!).

Well, my point about semantics and history and racism, is pretty much linguistics 101 RE: register & connotation. I assume someone must have done some work though I am constantly surprised at how underresearched all this stuff is. I'll keep an eye out for it.

Oh and a last note: I am always very wary of newspapers as source. Often they regurgitate and cannibalise a single source so fast it takes forensics to try discern where people aren't just sensationalising or downright making stuff up. There is so much has been blatantly made up about the Indians conduct, that it is safer to start off assuming news stories to be potentially poisoned wells. The obvious problem being that the Indians were not well disposed to defend themselves in print, or to disseminate their own propaganda...

Having had a look at the archive for this page, I think I can safely assume a very bad smell drifted through here for a period of time. I had a look at some "source" and found some very dubious material indeed. :-) (talk) 21:38, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Another problem, is that "legal" doesn't equate "right", or "correct", or "truth", or anything else except "legal". Just because the UN defines something as something, doesn't mean that the world has to agree. And the point of Wikipedia is not to be a mouthpiece for legal entities, but to impart information that has already been published. It is not a reliable source, but relies on reliable sources, such as books written by historians, for its information. If you disagree with how historians have interpreted this battle/massacre, you have to take it up with them. Or find other reliable sources to try to balance the article. Murderbike (talk) 00:04, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

What exactly is your point Murderbike? That you don't like the UN??? The USA is a signatory to the Geneva Conventions... but what that has to do with the UN is beyond me. You'll note that most countries have signed to some if not all of the protocols. I think it is safe to assume that the ICRC is a good yardstick for a current definition of a war crime that doesn't fall into the subjective/POV category, since most of the world's governments have accepted these definitions, no? Or, do you have a better way at arriving at a good definition of 'massacre', 'atrocity' or 'war crime'?

A current definition is the easy bit, framing history within it, is the tricky bit. (talk) 00:26, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

My point, is just what I said. Legal does not mean correct. Plenty of people disagree with the UN, heck, the US government disagrees with the UN on plenty. Just because lots of countries are members of the UN, does not make the UN's (or any other legal body) opinions undebatable. Murderbike (talk) 00:40, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Again, where does the UN come into all this??? And when do legally enshrined treaties suddenly become 'opinions'??? Are you discussing the same thing as me??? (talk) 01:11, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

Are you serious? You brought up the UN and it's definitions. Again, "legally enshrined" doesn't mean anything to Wikipedia. It is not a party to these treaties. It is an encyclopedia. Please read WP:RS, WP:NPOV, and WP:ISNOT.

I've been kind enough to ignore the fact you are talking gibberish, and you seem to missed all my hints. So, here's me shooting it straight.

Please get YOUR facts straight before you try telling others what they are saying. Please indicate where on God's good Earth I cited the United Nations as an authority. It is YOU that have mentioned it from the get go. Not me... sir. Now, do you have anything remotely on topic to say about my points raised, or do I have to assume that you didn't understand any of it?

And why the hell should a definition of war crimes that is the current understanding and adopted (ostensibly) into the legal constitutions and dictionaries of the overwhelming majority of countries, not be considered a good NPOV yardstick for semantics? The most widely agreed definition is not at all relevant here? Would it matter if majority had rallied around the United Nations instead of the Red Cross??? You prefer we leave definitions hanging wide open flapping in the wind like a high school essay, rather than plotted like a serious scholarly work? Accuracy doesn't matter to you?

I won't bother asking you again WHAT you point is because you seemingly have NONE other than looking to crowbar in an obtuse attack on the UN.

Oh and FYI, there is a high probability that Wikipedia is subject to the Geneva Conventions, assuming it is exists as a legal entity within a signatory country... though I should imagine its interaction with the treaties would be more under protection than being policed. Unless of course, Wikipedia is planning a military attack... lol! In which case, it should go to the UN Security Council.. or completely break with international (and domestic) law and ignore it, like the US recently did... :-D

Oh and in regard to your cited NPOV guidlines, the disputed section argues a disputed position instead of representing the dispute; and not only is that POV but it is also original research. It reads liek a defence case in a courtroom.

A dispute over whether it was a battle/massacre should be addressed by citing BOTH sides accurately and NOT by arguing any case at all and seeking to resolve the matter... THAT is the job of an encyclopaedia... sir.

"Impartial tone

Wikipedia describes disputes. Wikipedia does not engage in disputes. A neutral characterization of disputes requires presenting viewpoints with a consistently impartial tone, otherwise articles end up as partisan commentaries even while presenting all relevant points of view. Even where a topic is presented in terms of facts rather than opinions, inappropriate tone can be introduced through the way in which facts are selected, presented, or organized. Neutral articles are written with a tone that provides an unbiased, accurate, and proportionate representation of all positions included in the article.

The tone of Wikipedia articles should be impartial, neither endorsing nor rejecting a particular point of view. Try not to quote directly from participants engaged in a heated dispute; instead, summarize and present the arguments in an impartial tone." (talk) 09:09, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

In your second post in this section, you asked "Or do I have to cite the Geneva Conventions paragraphs." I mistakenly thought that the Geneva Conventions were enacted by the UN (damn American public schooling). In your next post, you made mention of International Law, of which I know of none that has nothing to do with the UN. Either way, I'm bored of reading your rants. If you want to change the section, go for it, with cites, just don't be surprised if folks that spent a lot of time trying to make this article neutral have their say. Murderbike (talk) 20:25, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

If you think all International Law is a matter for the UN, then I suggest you go do some reading on International Law before commenting on it further. All US treaties are enshrined in its domestic law (as is the case with most legal systems... otherwise there'd be no point in having treaties). So, in principle at least, The Geneva Conventions are primarily a domestic legal matter- though often enough they are ignored and have to take on an international dimension to be remedied... or in the case of the US ignored, ignored then ignored again.

That you very much for giving me permission to make edits- I was waiting on it before I dreamt of being so presumptuous. (talk) 20:33, 30 November 2008 (UTC)

general custer was a murder. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:22, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

That would be "murderer," and if you're following the debate/discussion in this section - please offer a WP:RS reliable source for your statement. Cheers, Sensei48 (talk) 05:32, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Just because a military action takes place, does the event necessitate that we label it a battle, or massacre? The fire-bombing of Dresden was certainly a military action, but nowhere have I seen it referred to as The Battle of Dresden, or, Vonnegut notwithstanding, a massacre; it is just called 'the bombing of Dresden.' Recorded history is sometimes as much about the people who wrote the history and the time period that the history was written, so to trust that an historian from the 19th century would refer to the military action as anything but a battle is perhaps asking too much, and to think that an historian from the late '60s or 1970s would see as other than a massacre would be expecting too much as well. What Custer did at the Washita closely resembled (except for his targets and the mutilations afterward) what Dewey did at Manila, or for that matter, what the Japanese did at Pearl Harbor - an early morning military action against an unsuspecting opponent; morally speaking, none of the three were hardly a "battle," but certainly each was a military action taken for a strategic purpose. As much as I might believe the Washita was a massacre, I cannot help but see it through my 21st century eyes. Let us just try and give the facts as we know them about the event and the background surrounding it and leave the semantics to the poets. - cnorkus — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cnorkus (talkcontribs) 01:40, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

I agree with much of what you say here, Cnorkus, and if you look at the extensive discussion above you'll see that the topic is an emotionally charged one. The fact is that there are to this day widely differing perceptions on the battle vs. massacre issue, and no one single interpretation could at this point be said to be a fact. The best we can do, I think, is to provide some detailed discussion of both perspectives. To that end, we could certainly consider expanding the "Battle or Massacre?" section with balanced and sourced commentary. regards, Sensei48 (talk) 06:07, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

No sources given for war party trail claim[edit]

Hi, I was wondering how the following section in the article is actually backed up:

"The evening before on November 25, a war party of as many as 150 warriors, which included young men of the camps of Black Kettle, Medicine Arrows, Little Robe, and Old Whirlwind, had returned to the Washita encampments. They had raided white settlements in the Smoky Hill River country with the Dog Soldiers."

This definitely needs footnote sourcing. This is one of those little details which play into the eternal game who the "good guys" and who the "bad guys" were. Custer gave the impression he followed a fresh trail of a war party. This, in turn, gives the impression he was practically catching hostile Indians red-handed. Of course he didn't muse about the question to which camp those trails exactly were leading or if the lack of lodgepole trails his scouts reported are proof enough that they were in fact trails of a war party, not to mention against whom (could have been intertribal warring or a just hunters coming back). I would like to see a clarification on this. Otherwise it's an unsubstantiated claim on a controversial point, as far as I can see.

Lookoo, 09.06.2010, 15:03:00 CET (Sorry, forgot how to sign this automatically) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lookoo (talkcontribs) 13:02, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

Hi back, Lookoo. It's not exactly unsubstantiated but it is controversial, and I agree that more careful sourcing is needed. GAC was incontrovertibly on the trail of a group that had committed depredations within the previous week. At some point, that trail merged with those of the villages - when and where this was is still unclear. It's part of the discussion above in "Battle or massacre" - warrior/soldiers melded back into the "civilian" population after every battle. let's see if we can find something objective and reliable. regards, Sensei48 (talk) 16:35, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

Edits 7/15/10 - Sources[edit]

Aside from removing non-encyclopedia language and tone at points, I have removed two sources, ABC-CLIO and Michael Blake. The former is a commercial enterprise that solicits articles and books without either normal academic peer review or (in this case) any serious attempt at objectivity. Neither is Blake WP:RS in this case - he is a novelist and screenwriter, and the quotations from him are wildly speculative and would be barely acceptable were they made by an actual historian. PBS is PBS - televised entertainment and not serious scholarship. A college term paper using these as sources would fail. In the ABC-CLIO/PBS sourcing as to "massacre," I have preserved the content but substituted a peer-reviewed major work by a major academic publisher. Blake I simply removed: those controversial points need to be substantiated by someone with the credentials to indicate that they might know what they were talking about.Sensei48 (talk) 16:45, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

Also removed dickshovel (a blog) and Horsely's completely unsourced polemic. Sensei48 (talk) 17:01, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

commanders and leaders[edit]

As stated in a footnote from the battlebox Black Kettle should not be considered a military commander. Leaving the box empty of any name leaves the impression there was no leadership among the Cheyenne at all. The battlebox is labeled "commanders and leaders". While Black Kettle was not a military commander he was in some form a leader. The same Black Kettle is listed in the commanders and leaders box for the Sand Creek Massacre. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:30, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Kicking Bird[edit]

Kicking Bird was not present at the Battle of Washita in 1868 and should not included on this page. This fact is supported by the Oklahoma Historical Society.

Farnumm (talk) 02:09, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

The OHS page says he did not participate in the battle. This article says he was camped nearby. The two statements are not contradictory on their face, but since the statement here is a bit of a sidelight – and not sourced – I wouldn't have a problem with removing it unless someone else can come up with a reason that it's relevant to keep. Fat&Happy (talk) 02:44, 18 March 2013 (UTC)

Background section[edit]

The Background section requires IMHO some corrections. The story it tells is basically that the Cheyennes and Arapahoes signed away all land claims north of southern border of Colorado and Kansas in exchange for some hardly arable land in Indian territory which was also largely devoid of Buffalo. It then goes on to describe that the Indians broke the treaty by sending war parties into Kansas and Colorado, attacking and massacring settlers along the Republican, Solomon and Saline, which in turn triggered the retalliatory Army winter campaign.

The factual errors in this are: As per Art.15 of the treaty, as passed by US Congress, the Indians had the right to hunt outside the reservation up until the Arkansas river, that is in southern Kansas.

But that's not all. Basically, the two absolutely irreconsilable interests in these treaty negotioations were that the non-appeasement fraction of the Indians wanted to retain their lands, especially their hunting lands, which was situated between the Platte and the Arkasas. The Whites, in turn, wanted to drive them completely out of this region and below the southern borders of Kansas and Colorado. The area of agreement between these positions was zero.

Since the Hotamitaneoo'o (aka "Dog Soldiers") kept up an intimidating presence at the Council Grounds and were adamant to continue hunting in their remaining intact Buffalo lands around the headwaters of the Republican, Saline and Solomon, John Brooks Henderson of Missouri, the chairman of the powerful Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the government's principal spokesman, finally relented. His eagerness to come to a quick agreement with the tribes led him to make a few critical verbal promises that were not part of the terms originally proposed, including that the Cheyennes could continue to hunt in all their traditional territories in Kansas until the buffalo were gone. The Cheyennes left Medicine Lodge believing they did not have to adapt to a reservation environment until they themselves decided to do so. These promises, however, never made it into the final written treaty and government negotiators conveniently forgot Henderson’s guarantees after the peace talks concluded.

In short, in October 1867 the Cheyennes acquired the verbal concession by the government spokesman that they could continue to hunt in all their still existing hunting grounds as long as the number of Buffalo justified the chase. This verbal concession was made fraudulently. Most historical books and articles dealing with this treaty simply stick to the official written articles and don't even mention that something critically different had been agreed upon. What makes the whole thing even more odious is that while Henderson was shaking hands with the Cheyennes and Indians at Medicine Lodge, an invasion of homesteaders was taking place in exactly those hunting grounds the Hotamitaneoo'o depended upon. By this time the traditional Cheyenne and Arapahoe eco-system had been destroyed in many areas and the Indians had to hop from one still intact area to the next, having to traverse already destroyed buffalo-country. The area now being seized by newly arrived homesteaders was not visited by the Indians again until early August 1868 because rich rainfalls had delayed the migration of the buffaloes into this area. Only then a 200 warrior war party, actually on it's way to raid the Pawnees further north, traverses the freshly occupied area and suddenly realized what had been happening there since the previous fall. The critical buffalo range was dotted with crude farms and freshly broken up prairie ground for crop planting. This was nothing short of an apocalyptic catastrophe for the Indians. They realized that, contary to the peace talk promises given them, the terraforming of their last subsistence refuge had begun and was already in full swing. The sense of doom, betrayal, desperation, rage and hate must have been overwhelming. This is where and when the Saline and Solomon raids begun. I think it's important to make the cause of the raids known.

Thus, the Indians going north into their hunting grounds didn't break any treaty they had agreed to. They then realized that they had been deceived and that the active destruction of their last buffalo range was already in full swing. Against this they retalliated by attacking the homesteaders.

Here is a good peer-reviewed source on the issue:

Lookoo (talk) 14:32, 19 March 2014 (UTC)

Media depiction[edit]

Negative Hollywood depiction of the US government at Washita didn’t wait for the Indian activism of the late ‘60s and ‘70s. A 1963 episode of the TV show Rawhide (TV series), Incident at Red Bull, made it out to be a massacre of women, children, and old men led by Colonel John Macklin.[1], an apparently fictitious person. Nicmart (talk) 23:52, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

With the attack having been led by a colonel (John), the camp having been "under a flag of peace", and the "breeders" apparent allusion to "knits make lice", I'd be more likely to associate the episode with Sand Creek. But Hollywood is renowned for merging multiple events into one for a plot line. Fat&Happy (talk) 04:55, 1 April 2014 (UTC)


  1. ^ "Incident at Red Bull". Retrieved 31 March 2014. 

Medicine Woman ?[edit]

Hi there,

Is Black Kettle's wife named "Medicine Woman" (Black Kettle's Return to the Washita, last paragraph) or "Medicine Woman Later" (The attack, 2nd paragraph)? I presume "Later" is misspelled, i.e. meaning "lateron", but I'm not 100% sure.

Cheers, Claude Schomer (talk) 07:52, 7 May 2016 (UTC)