The Sand Creek Massacre Essay
The Sand Creek Massacre is one of the most disturbing events of the history of the United States of America. The fact that uniformed soldiers have deliberately killed unalarmed men and unarmed women and children is really an act of absolute savagery. What ever have happened there was only the result of growing hostility and hatred between the two races during that time. This paper will discuss the incident to indentify the individuals most responsible of this massacre as well as making assessment of the complexity of relations between the whites and the Indians of that time.
The Sand Creek Massacre: The most responsible individuals of the Sand Creek massacre were Colonel J. M. Chivington and his subordinates. These officers deliberately and knowingly attacked the friendly Indians and they did nothing to stop the indiscriminate killing of the women and children and the mutilation of bodies conducted by the soldiers. Instead of stopping their subordinates from conducting these heinous crimes they stood by and enjoyed the scene of carnage. Colonel Chivington cold bloodedly told one of his subordinate that he didn’t want any prisoners i. e. obody should be spared. According to the committee report he was responsible of stationing these Indians in Sand Creek. Ethnocentrism is the name given to a tendency to interpret or evaluate other cultures in terms of one’s own. Ethnocentrism is one of the key factors which provoked the soldiers to commit these brutal killings of women and children and mutilation of bodies. Most of the whites consider the Indians as uncivilized and savage as compared to their own culture and civilization. Most of them deem them as one of the major obstacles of development and civilization of the region.
Their inability to evaluate the culture of the Indian regardless of their own cultural context led them to regard them as sub-human characters and they deem that any thing is right to get rid of them. The statement of Colonel Chivington clearly explicates the ethnocentric ideas behind his actions. Ethnocentrism was the main reason, which made both sides incapable of making an adjustment in the regions. The whites regard the Indians as an explicit threat to their lives and property, while the Indian deem the Whites as oppressive invaders who have snatched every thing they have possessed for centuries.
The evidence shows that the relations between the Indians and the Whites were really complex in nature. The whites were desperate to neutralize and secure the region as soon as possible and were enraged by every loss of life and property due to the hostile Indians. On the other hand the Indians even those who want to live in peace and befriend the whites were very discreet and cautious to trust on the whites. The excited and enraged white soldiers may not be able to differentiate between the friendly and hostile during the fog of war.
The massacre of Sand Creek further increased the mistrust of those tribes who were eager to make a peace deal with the government. Helen Hunt Jackson’s account told the same story regarding the aftermath of the massacre. The hatred and ferocity of the whites towards the Indians and the mistrust of the Indians towards the whites are the most generalized events of that time. They must not be extended to the brutalities conducted by the forces under the command of Colonel Chivington. Interpreting what happened in the past is quite a difficult job because the interpreter relies upon the sources that narrated the incident of that time.
In an incident like this it is quite difficult to get a neutral source that will explain the incident exactly as it is happened without twisting the events according to his belief or alliance. Conclusion: Colonel Chivington and his subordinate officers were the most responsible individuals of the massacre. Ethnocentrism and cultural prejudice was the primary factor, which provoked this atrocity. Vengeance, mistrust and mutual fear were the primary reasons, which hindered any adjustments between the two rivals. Unavailability of a neutral source makes it difficult to interpret what happened in the past.