And the Federal Government has been making the Indians pay for their victory at Little Big Horn ever since. Our history with the original inhabitants of this country is an utter disgrace.

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As the old saying goes, "Custer had it coming."

I remember in 7th grade Colorado History, we learned about "the Battle of Sand Creek," fought by many of the "Founding Fathers" of Colorado. I said to the teacher that reading it, it sounded like a massacre. For which I promptly went and spent the rest of the day "polishing the bench" outside the Vice Principal's office, one of many days spent in my battle to keep my perfect record of every report card saying "does not respond to properly constituted authority" I spent 12 years suffering through. A few years back, my oldest friend in the world, who stayed back there and became a teacher, told me it's now in Official Colorado History as the Sand Creek Massacre, and the genocidaires (like my great grandfather the Indian murderer and buffalo killer) are no longer considered "Founding Fathers."

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Thank you, Heather, My great grandfather's sister, Fannie Hoyt McGillycuddy was married to Dr. Valentine McGillycuddy, MD. Dr. McG was one of the first white men to explore the Black Hills with the Army. He was at Fort Robinson when Crazy Horse came there after surrendering to General Crook. Dr. McG treated Crazy Horse's wife Black Shawl for tuberculosis and by the account of his second wife Julia in the biography she wrote "McGillycuddy, Field Agent" became friends with Crazy Horse. When Crazy Horse was mortally wounded by a soldier driving a bayonet into his back, Dr. McG was the attending physician. When Crazy Horse died Dr. McG made sure the family received the remains who buried him at some unknown location in the Black Hills. Later Dr. McG was appointed the Field Agent at the Pine Ridge Reservation. Fannie was there with him, the only white woman in two hundred miles. With this family connection to the Oglala Lakota, I am a donor to the Lakota Law Project working to protect Lakota rights. https://lakotalaw.org/ A federal judge in south Dakota has ruled in favor of the Lakota on violations by South Dakota of the National Voting Rights Act. The US Supreme Court will hear arguments on South Dakota violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act in the fall. South Dakota has been removing Lakota children from their homes and placing them with white families when Indian relatives are available. This travesty is literally taking the next generation away from their Lakota heritage. I hope they fair better with the egregious Supreme Court than this week's removal of the rights of women.

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Because "Justice" Alito says a right must be "rooted in history" I looked at the correspondence between Abigail Adams and her husband John. Remember the Ladies. Many of us are familiar with Abigail Adams's quote "remember the ladies". Looking at the this in the context of the letter, Abigail was ready to foment a rebellion.

On March 31, 1776, Abigail Adams wrote a letter to her husband, founding father John Adams

“I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”

In response, John Adams wrote back to her:

“As to your extraordinary code of laws, I cannot but laugh. We have been told that our struggle has loosened the bands of government everywhere .. Depend upon it, we know better than to repeal our masculine systems. … “

Today we have a majority of Supreme Court Justices who are basing their decisions that only rights “rooted in history” are valid. They are saying only the white patriarchal male perspective of the founding fathers is valid.

They choose to ignore the 9th Amendment that Despite the majority of American citizens saying Roe v. Wade, an almost fifty year old precedent, should not be overturned, the Supreme Court ruled:

“We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives."

However, in the state of Texas, a super majority of male Senators and Representatives, have exercised their power and ignored the will of the majority of the citizens and the explicit Constitutional tenant of religious freedom by codifying a single religion’s doctrine.

The League of Women Voters statement on this is:

“Today’s ruling, which fails to even say the word "women," sends a terrifying message. When women and other childbearing people can no longer control their own bodies, they are no longer equal in our democracy.

Further, this decision threatens the status of other constitutional rights, such as those protecting marriage equality, intimate conduct, and the right to contraception.

The League continues to stand in our power with our reproductive rights partners and all persons who fear the dangerous consequences of this decision.” - Dr. Deborah Turner, LWV US Board President

Please note that it isn’t just women’s reproductive that are under attack here. We are already seeing bounty hunters given carte blanche to sue citizens, personal privacy rights are being threatened, and the signaling that more rights are on the chopping block by the Robert’s Court.

So, I call on all women and every citizen to help get out the vote so our combined voices are heard at the ballot box. When our elected officials are truly representative of the entire population and listening to their voices, our democratic republic will be strengthened. Let's stand on the shoulders of Abigail Adams and continue the fight for the rights of all.

“We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” – Thomas Jefferson

Seems we are in another time when women need to foment a rebellion. I'm in! We, the People, all of us this time.

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Awww, darn it all, I'm sure I wrote close to a Tuscan novella-length comment, but, ahhh, alas (probably only a pity for me I would guess) the ubiquitous "it" crashed on me... but for a change I'm taking that as the universe telling me I write wayyyyy too much, ahaha, so I shall be light on my critiquing and less gushing in my praise (if I can!!).

Thank you so much for recognizing this day that is a grim anniversary for my people, not any cause for celebration, for it was just one more unrelenting step toward losing our ability to live on the land. We have a belief that we don't need to heal Grandmother Earth, we just need to stay out of Her way to let Her heal Herself, and after She heals Herself She will heal The People. Allll the people because mitákuye oyás'iŋ, we are *all* related.

My people went from having, by area, the biggest non-European land empire the entire Western hemisphere has ever seen, to our rezes having the highest levels of poverty in said hemisphere rivalled only by Haiti. The poem by Shelley Ozymandias comes to my mind, oh boy does it ever...

Thank you in particular for mentioning what we use in reference to the battle, the Greasy Grass; it may seem a small thing Ms. Cox Richardson, but when anything is a big deal then small gestures become magnified into truly touching, well, touches, very easily. This was a small thing that meant a lot to me at least.

And now the fan-girl stuff yay!: I love your column, like, adore it, on my worst days it gives me a reason to get up in the morning for real, and this is a rarity (my husband will attest to this) that there has simply never been a word of yours I've read that I do not fully 100% agree with (he wishes he were so lucky, haha). I don't know how much of this may be repeating myself as I don't understand the pipes and widgets and so forth that make up the Internet, and specifically regarding if any of my former message survived, so at the risk of repetition, I just think you're the bee's knees, and this column has ensured that I will walk tall today my sister, and I thank you for that, because that is all you Heather. It means the very world.

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Broken promises lead to revolts. SCOTUS judges lied so we must resist.

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Jun 26, 2022·edited Jun 26, 2022

Thank you for sharing this. It is so important to hear this The soldiers saw the native people as animals, taking body parts as trophies. What is wrong with white men? Not all of them, of course.

We need more of this truth in our country so we can face our true heritage -- one characterized by greed, hatred, superiority, violence, and disregard for life. How else will we ever change? We can't learn from our mistakes if we don't know what they are/were. And we need to make reparations with Native Americans. Not just words of apology, though that would be a good start.

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Jun 26, 2022·edited Jun 26, 2022

Custer died for our sins, but the United States government has always been the real “indian giver”. The Puritans were invaders. It wasn’t like no one lived there like my textbooks implied. We all live on stolen land.

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"The Indians must fight".....It's funny, this is the quote I posted today for my friends, before reading this. Kind of a different way of saying the same thing.

MAYA ANGELOU: "..... I would say you might encounter many defeats but you must never be defeated, ever. In fact it might even be necessary to confront defeat. It might be necessary, to get over it, all the way through it, and go on. ...."

Watch the whole interview here with Bill Moyers.


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My entire life, every time I’ve heard of this story, I’ve sided with the opponents of Custer. How many times have I seen Dances With Wolves. And Thunderheart.


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Remarkable story! Thank you Heather Cox Richardson for continuing to shed a light through the maze, and bringing to life history! I appreciate your writing so very much!!

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And fight we will.

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Thank you for writing on this day.

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In my lifetime, our understanding of this piece of history has morphed entirely from a perspective of Custer as a martyr of sorts to that of mourning for native Americans whose cultures were experiencing violent extermination at the hands of euro-American immigrants in conquest of land, assets and natural resources over centuries of our history. Somehow, remnants survived to become part of a permanent underclass, corralled and sustained in a subservient dependent relationship with the US Government. Those who emerge to integrate fully into modern society are viewed as extraordinary, modern survivors of an impoverished origin. Pre-European America was a continent sparsely populated by peoples as diverse or more than our current population. Incalculable losses occurred as cultures, languages, native knowledge of our land and how to live with it and on it were exterminated. Genocide on a scale previously unheard of and largely unacknowledged was utilized to make conquest of the continent. Concurrently, it also occurred in many other places; Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central and South America, many places where indigenous peoples were considered little different than native animals, to be replaced by domestic livestock. Its hard to think about this dispassionately, rather like an epic and endless tragedy. It's equally hard to avoid carrying guilt and blame, although none of us were alive to influence the events of that era. Reparations, a topic that most Americans would rather not address, is difficult and rarely results in the kind of cultural restoration one would hope for. However, its useful to remember that even today, the Federal Government is the largest landholder in our country and restoring native lands, in part, to native peoples does not always require "taking" it from current owner/occupants. As generations pass and further integration occurs, it becomes more and more difficult to understand to whom and from whom these reparations should be awarded. It's a form of cultural work that is very difficult, but it's part of the fabric of our nation, a public expression of values directly contrary to those exhibited in today's political environment where power and privilege are increasingly controlled by a chosen few. While none of us individually may be personally accountable for that history, as a nation we are collectively accountable and there ARE things we can do to deliver justice, even if it is delayed by a century or more from the date of crimes against humanity.

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I guess doing business with the American government has always been risky at best.

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