Black Kettle |

Black Kettle

I am not sure how cold it got last night, I didn’t look, but it was somewhere around zero. I have maybe 6 inches of snow on the ground and this one followed a snow a couple of days ago. No big deal unless you are an old guy with a shovel in your hands and arthritis in your shoulders. It’s sometimes on days like this, and I swear, gentle readers, I don’t know why, but my thoughts turn to the plains Indian tribes and I wonder how in the world they ever survived the weather. When the wind is blowing 60 miles an hour, it’s zero or below, I bet that old buffalo robe had a hard time keeping one warm.

I have always had an admiration for the native Americans since I was a kid. Sometimes I would strip off, put on a little war paint, get on my old paint bronc and head out across the pasture. In my mind I was in a war party or looking for food to take back to camp.

On Nov. 29, 1864, Black Kettle, a Cheyenne chief, was camped in eastern Colorado on Sand Creek. He was encouraged to camp there by someone, I don’t know who, as it would be a safe place for him and those with him. Not only Cheyenne, but some Arapahoe were in his camp. There were about 500 men, women and children.

At dawn on a cold miserable morning, the Third Colorado Calvery and volunteers under one Col. John Chivington attacked the village and slaughtered 148 Indians, mostly women and children and Chivington lost only nine of his troops. They were treated as heroes when they returned to Denver but that did not last when all of the story was revealed. Black Kettle was flying the American flag to show he was peaceful and not at war with any whites. It wasn’t enough.

I can almost see women and children running through the snow in a desperate attempt to avoid death only to be run down and shot. How do you shoot a crying baby holding onto his mother?

I know how the tribes survived. They had nothing to compare their existence with before others came along to save them from themselves. By the way, Black Kettle survived and continued to try and make peace with the government. Wouldn’t you?

Not having lived during that time I have no knowledge of what life was like on a daily basis native American or white or any other.

I think not much has changed. We are the same folks in some areas of our society and we have always been.

General Custer and the 7th Cavalry paid the price for much of what happened to the American Indian over the years. So much for that.

Be sure and get down to the National Western Stock Show at some time or other and be a cowboy at least for a day.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, hold tight to your treasures, (your family and friends), and I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. I’m off to move snow!

Mad Jack Hanks

The Branding Pen


So, here we are gentle readers, it’s the Fourth of July. I am writing this prior to our celebration of independence, and I just suspect that I will not be as enthusiastic as normal. Why?…

See more


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User