Bear River Massacre

January 29, 1863

Sacred Land of Slaughter

A maple tree branched tripod
stands silently upon the sacred land.
Adorned with flowers and feathers,
in memory of that winter
morning massacre...
The Shoshoni, The People.
Beginning to stir, within
teepees snug and warm.
Babies suckling at mothers
Men and woman lay together
under warm furs.
Softy murmuring to each other.
Old men dream of warrior youth,
while grandmothers stitch
beadwork in their sleep.
Children slowly surfacing from
dreams of warm fires; running and
playing in the snow.
A terrible noise awakens The People
from their slumber and dreams.
Gunfire, deafening yells, earth
Horses thunder down the snow
covered banks, into the valley
The People run out into the freezing
morning; fear in their eyes.
Men shot down as they stand,
ready to fight.
Children scream as heads bashed
in, by guns not yet loaded.
Murderers' hands so cold.
Babies torn from mother's arms,
heads crushed, thrown to
the ground, like soft fruits
falling from trees.
Young women and girls,
The Life Givers,
innocence robbed as they
are brutally violated.
Axes wielded, killing
the wounded women as
they lie on the cold wet
Chief Bear Hunter taken alive;
for the moment. Tied, tortured
and then shot to death
The snow...the snow...
Do you see the blood soaked
stains as they trickle and
flow? Like the tears of our
Mother, the Earth.
What a
a soldier wrote.
only good indian is a
dead indian
Mormans say.
The killing done, the Army
burns the teepees down. Looting,
pillaging everything in sight.
Gleefully, the soldiers survey the
gruesome morning's work.
The BEAST-Connor, orders' remembered.
Shoot and kill everyone!
Men, women, children.

Cause you know,
nits grow into

Satisfied, is he,
surely a promotion awaits
upon his return.
So few of The People left.
The dead scattered throughout
the camp and surrounding trees.
Left for the wolves and crows.
The worst of the massacres of
our indigenous peoples.
Two Hundred Eighty people or more
slaughtered in 1863.
But only as yesterday, in the
memories of The Shoshoni.
Oh, how the Old Ones weep.
Proud history of the White Eyes!
What of Bear River, this land
of The Shoshoni?
Among the ancient remains of that
once terrible morn; cattle graze
and broken trailers sit.
As Spirits walk upon this
hallowed ground.
Keep this land cleansed from
the White Man's encroachment!
This land drenched by the blood
of the Proud Shoshoni.
shoshone woman

© Copyright 2002 Shay. All rights reserved. Shay has granted Stories.Com, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.

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