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Archive for January, 2019

Weimar, California

Posted by graywacke on January 28, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”

I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town or towns I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. 

To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2429; A Landing A Day blog post number 864.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N390.168’, W1213.816’ W) puts me in Cen-N California:


My local landing map:

Just two landings ago, I landed in Lake Tahoe, which you can see is not far away from today’s landing (about 50 miles):

My streams-only map says it all:

I landed in the Bear River watershed (first hit ever!); on to the Feather River (3rd hit); to the Sacramento River (25th hit).  As you no doubt know, the Sacramento makes its way to San Francisco Bay (37th hit) which makes its way under the Golden Gate Bridge to the Pacific Ocean.

I have a decent Google Earth (GE) Street View look at my landing:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

The OD asked me very politely if he could please take a look at the Bear River.  Of course, I complied:

I think he was a little disappointed:

So, of course, I checked out the two non-titular towns shown on my local landing map (Meadow Vista and Applegate).  You guessed it, they’re:

And Weimar — in spite of its titular status — is itself pretty much hookless.  However, the name rang a bell with me, as I was vaguely aware of the “Weimar Republic.”  I figured it had something to do with Germany, but I was clueless. 

Well, the town was named after a small city (pop 65,000) in east-central Germany of the same name:

If you’re like me (i.e., clueless about the Weimar Republic), take 4 minutes out of your busy life and read the following, excerpted from History.com:

Germany didn’t fare well after World War I (and after the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II), as it was thrown into troubling economic and social disorder, which eventually led to the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler.

In December 1918, elections were held for a National Assembly tasked with creating a new parliamentary constitution. On February 6, 1919, the National Assembly met in the town of Weimar and formed the Weimar Coalition.

On June 23, the Treaty of Versailles was signed, which ordered Germany to reduce its military, take responsibility for the World War I, relinquish some of its territory and pay exorbitant reparations to the Allies. It also prevented Germany from joining the League of Nations at that time.

On August 11, 1919, the Weimar Constitution was signed into law, which included these highlights:

  • The government is made of a president, a chancellor and a parliament (Reichstag).
  • All Germans are equal and have the same civil rights and responsibilities.
  • All Germans have the right to freedom of expression.
  • All Germans have the right to peaceful assembly.
  • All Germans have the right to freedom of religion; there is no state church.
  • State-run, public education is free and mandatory for children.
  • All Germans have the right of private property.
  • All Germans have the right to equal opportunity and earnings in the workplace.

This “new” Germany became known as the Weimar Republic.  Despite its new constitution, the Weimar Republic faced one of Germany’s greatest economic challenges: hyperinflation. As war debts and reparations drained its coffers, the German government was unable to pay its debts.

Some of the former World War I Allies didn’t buy Germany’s claim that it couldn’t afford to pay. In a blatant League of Nations breach, French and Belgian troops occupied Germany’s main industrial area, the Ruhr, determined to get their reparation payments.

The Weimar government ordered German workers to passively resist the occupation and go on strike, shutting down the coal mines and iron factories. As a result, Germany’s economy quickly tanked.

In response, the Weimar government simply printed more money. The effort backfired, however, and further devalued the German Mark—and inflation increased at an astounding level. The cost of living rose rapidly and many people lost all they had.

In late 1923, the League of Nations asked U.S. banker and Director of the Budget, Charles Dawes, to help tackle Germany’s reparations and hyperinflation issues. He submitted the “Dawes Plan” which outlined a plan for Germany to pay more reasonable reparations on a sliding scale. Dawes was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

The Dawes Plan helped stabilize the Weimar Republic and energize its economy. In addition, Germany repaired relations with France and Belgium and was finally allowed into the League of Nations, which opened the door for international trade. In general, life improved in the Weimar Republic.

Much of the Weimar Republic’s recovery was due to a steady flow of American dollars into its economy. But unbeknownst to Germany, America had positioned itself for an economic disaster of its own as it struggled with increased unemployment, low wages, declining stock values and massive, unliquidated bank loans.

On October 29, 1929, the U.S. stock market crashed, sending America into a devastating economic meltdown and ushering in the Great Depression.

The stock market crash had a global ripple effect. It was especially devastating for the newly-recovered Weimar Republic. As the flow of American money dried up, Germany could no longer meet their financial responsibilities. Businesses failed, unemployment plummeted again, and Germany faced another devastating economic crisis.

During hyperinflation, the German middle class bore the brunt of the economic chaos. When another financial crisis hit, they grew weary and distrustful of their government leaders. Searching for new leadership and fearing a Communist takeover, many people turned to extremist parties such as the Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler, despite his unpopular and failed attempt to start a national revolution in 1923.

In 1932, the Nazi Party became the largest political party in Parliament. After a brief struggle for power, Hitler was named Chancellor in January 1933. Within weeks, he invoked Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution to quash many civil rights and suppress members of the Communist party.  Article 48 allows the Chancellor to suspend civil rights and operate independently in an emergency.

In March 1933, Hitler introduced the Enabling Act to allow him to pass laws without the approval of Germany’s Parliament or President. To make sure the Enabling Act was passed, Hitler forcibly prevented Communist Parliament members from voting. Once it became law, Hitler was free to legislate as he saw fit and establish his dictatorship without any checks and balances.

That little history lesson will allow you to save face when the time comes that someone you’re trying to impress brings up the Weimar Republic to make a political point.  You’ll be able to intelligently respond.  To really score points, bring up Article 48.  After your conversation, you’ll think to yourself, “Thank you, A Landing A Day.”

I’ll close with this picture of the dammed-up Bear River (Lake Combie) just north of my landing, a Flickr shot by Guillaume Le Bleu:

That’ll do it . . .




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Keefeton, Summit, Oktaha and Muskogee, Oklahoma

Posted by graywacke on January 21, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”

I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town or towns I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. 

To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2428; A Landing A Day blog post number 863.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N35o 37.866’, W95o 25.697’ W) puts me in E-Cen Oklahoma:

My local landing map:

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of Butler Creek, on to Dirty Creek:

Zooming back, one can see that good ol’ Dirty Creek discharges its water (and its dirt) to the Arkansas River (133rd hit).

Although not shown, the Arkansas makes its way to the MM (942nd hit).

I checked out Dirty Creek on Wiki:

Dirty Creek is a corruption of Terre D’Inde, a Muscogee-language name meaning “land of the turkey.”

Now wait a second.  “Terre D’Inde” is straight-forward French, and it means “land of India.”  OK, so maybe it’s bastardized a little, and it means “land of the Indians.” 

But where does “Dirty Creek” come from?  And what does it have to do with Muscogee and “land of the turkey?”

Wiki footnoted the above, which referenced a 1909 book “Historia (Oklahoma City).”  I checked it out, and found this:

In the western part of Muscogee County there is a creek, indicated on the map as “Dirty Creek.”  It is also called “Durdy,” “Dardy,” and “Darden” – all erroneous.  The correct name of the stream is “Terre d’Indie” and it is pronounced Dardenne, accent on the last syllable.  It is a Muscogee word meaning “land of the turkey.”

Being thorough, I found a Muscogee-English dictionary.  “Turkey” in Muscogee is “pen-wv;”  “turkey hen” is “penetske.”  No help there . . .

I think the above book quote is mostly gibberish.  Just because it appears in a published book is no reason that any reasonable person has to believe it.  (I’m talking to you, whoever wrote the Wiki piece.)

Here’s my final word. Dirty Creek has nothing to do with turkeys.  “Terre d’Indie” is loosely translated from the French as “land of the Indians,” and crooked pronunciations went from Terdendie to Terden to Derden to Dirty.

Or . . . when some English-speaking folks saw the creek, it was very muddy.  Although they could have named it Muddy Creek, they decided on Dirty Creek . . .

Before moving on to my titular towns, I need to take a look at Google Earth.  Here’s where I put the Orange Dude to take a look at Butler Creek:

And here’s what he sees:

I moved the OD a couple of hundred yards east, and had him look north.  Here’s what he sees:

So, let’s take a look at Keefeton (population something less than 100).  I found a 1993 story by Jim Etter on NewsOK.com that I’ll put in my own words:

Back in 1973, a nasty tornado was making its way across the east-central Oklahoma landscape.  A family of five (mom and dad and three teenage girls) was nervously keeping an eye on the weather when they saw a tornado heading their way.

The Dornan family home did not have a basement, so a decision was made to drive to a schoolhouse cellar about a mile away.

Tragically, the tornado swept up the car, killing all family members except 17-old Goldie.

The family home was not touched by the tornado . . .

Goldie was seriously injured, and has no memory of the tornado.  Her last memory of that day was getting ready for dinner.  After her recovery, she moved in with an aunt and uncle.  She got married, had two daughters of her own, and moved into the old family house, after adding a storm cellar.

Here’ a GE shot of Keefeton:

OK – it’s time for a very quick visit to Oktaha (pop 400).  Wiki notes that “the noted Native American sculptor Willard Stone was born in Oktaha in 1916.” 

He was best known for his wood sculptures “carved in a flowing art deco style.”  Here are a couple of his pieces:

War Widows, wild cherry, 1946

Gilcrease Museum

By the way, he was born on February 29, 1916 (that’s right, the 29th) and died in March 1985.  Poor guy only celebrated 17 actual birthdays . . .

Here’s the GE shot of town:

Moving way up to Muscogee (pop 40,000) which is far and away the big town in these parts. Of note is the fact that guitarist Leo Kottke is from Muscogee.  I’ve long heard of Leo, but don’t really know his music.  I went to You Tube, and found this, from “Wings of Pegasus.”  Check it out:


I don’t know about you, but the phrase “Okie from Muskogee” immediately came to mind.  Well, here’s Merle Haggard singing the song he wrote back in 1969:


If you want to see Merle & Willie doing the song live in 2009, here ‘tis:


My final stop on this tour is the town of Summit (pop 140).  I’ll start with the GE shot:

From Wiki:

Summit was originally called South Muskogee when it was platted in 1910, and is one of thirteen all-black towns still surviving at the beginning of the 21st Century.

From the Oklahoma Historical Society:

The All-Black towns of Oklahoma represent a unique chapter in American history. Nowhere else, neither in the Deep South nor in the Far West, did so many African American men and women come together to create, occupy, and govern their own communities.

From 1865 to 1920 African Americans created more than fifty identifiable towns and settlements, some of short duration and some still existing at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

All-Black towns grew in Indian Territory after the Civil War when the former slaves of the Five Civilized Tribes settled together for mutual protection and economic security.

[Indians had black slaves?  More about that in a bit.]

When the United States government forced American Indians to accept individual land allotments, most Indian “freedmen” chose land next to African Americans. They created cohesive, prosperous farming communities that could support businesses, schools, and churches, eventually forming towns.

Entrepreneurs in these communities started every imaginable kind of business, including newspapers, and advertised throughout the South for settlers. Many African Americans migrated to Oklahoma, considering it a kind of “promise land.”

FYI, Wiki says that the town’s population is currently 84% black.

So, who are the “Five Civilized Tribes?”  From Wiki:

The term “Five Civilized Tribes” derives from the colonial and early federal period in the history of the United States. It refers to five Native American nations—the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek (Muscogee), and Seminole.

These are the first five tribes that Anglo-European settlers generally considered to be “civilized”.  Examples of colonial attributes adopted by these five tribes include Christianity, centralized governments, literacy, market participation, written constitutions, intermarriage with white Americans, and plantation slavery practices. The Five Civilized Tribes tended to maintain stable political relations with the Europeans.

So part of the package was the adoption of the practice of slavery. 

From Wiki:

In the 1830s, all of the Five Civilized Tribes were relocated, many of them forcibly to the Indian Territory (later, the state of Oklahoma); the institution of owning enslaved Africans came with them. Of the estimated 4,500 to 5,000 blacks who formed the slave class in the Indian Territory by 1839, the great majority were in the possession of Five Tribes.

It’s time to wrap things up, but I couldn’t find my usual GE scenery picture.  However, I did find this shot of a cool old church (1923) in Summit by G Smallwood:

That’ll do it . . .




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Lake Tahoe, California

Posted by graywacke on January 14, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”

I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town or towns I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. 

To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2427; A Landing A Day blog post number 862.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (39o 10.361’ N, 120o 1.576’) puts me in E-Cen California:

For those familiar with CA / NV geography, it’s obvious that I landed near Lake Tahoe.  (OK, so this post’s title gives you a pretty good clue.)

But let’s see how close:

Couldn’t be closer!  Here’s my streams-only map, showing that the lake is drained by the Truckee River (2nd hit):

I zoomed back so that you can see that the Truckee ends up in the internally-drained Pyramid Lake.  This makes the Truckee the only lake-to-lake river I know of.

Using Google Earth (GE), I put the Orange Dude on a bridge over the Truckee just as it’s leaving the lake:

And here’s his downstream view:

Looking upstream, we can see a small water level control dam:

I found a nice unobstructed view of my landing spot on the south shore:

And here’s what the OD sees:

So.  It’s time to dive right into the crystalline waters of Lake Tahoe.  I’ll start (of course) with the geology. 

I’m going to keep it simple (and in my own words).  Probably beginning about 20 million years ago, tectonic forces were uplifting the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the west, and the Basin and Range landscape to the east across Nevada.  These two geologic provinces meet at Lake Tahoe.  Normal faults developed (where two blocks of earth move vertically relative to one another on either side of the fault).  One major fault was on the west side of the lake and another major fault was on the east side.

For reasons I don’t pretend to understand, about 3 million years ago the block of earth between the two faults ended up going down while the blocks on either side of the lake went up (relatively speaking).

Voila!  This downfaulted basin ended up filling with water. From TahoeCam.com:

A lake formed near the southern and lowest part of the basin, fed by snow, rain, and draining creeks and rivers. The lake level increased in depth until it found an outlet, then near the present town of Truckee. Several active volcanoes poured lava into the basin, eventually damming the outlet. The waters rose again, several hundred feet higher than the present level. Finally, a new outlet was cut (the present Truckee River outlet) and the lake level began to lower as the Truckee eroded its valley.

The lake is about 20 miles long and 10 miles wide, and very deep.  Here are some factoids:

  • After the five Great Lake, Lake Tahoe is the sixth largest lake by volume in the United States.
  • With a max depth of 1,645 feet, Tahoe is the second deepest lake (after Crater Lake, at 1,949).
  • Although Tahoe is only the 16th deepest lake in the world, it is the fifth deepest based on average depth.

Here’s a bathymetric map, showing the lake is, in fact, consistently deep (mostly deeper than 1,300 feet):

Here’ a cool 3-D view:

And another:

You can’t help but notice the big chunks (of rocks?) on the floor of the lake.  Here’s another view:

This view suggests that maybe there was a landslide, eh?  Well, there was!

I found an article by Andrew Alden on the website KQED Science entitled “The Tahoe Tsunami:  New Study Envisions Early Geologic Event.”  I’ve lifted some of his words:

Once upon a time, geologists tell us, a massive chunk of Lake Tahoe’s western shore collapsed into the water in a tremendous landslide. The water responded by sloshing high onto the surrounding shores in a series of landslide tsunamis. A major new study in the journal Geosphere adds much new detail to that story, tracing massive features around and beneath the lake. And it places the date of the fearsome event near the time that humans first visited it.

Lake Tahoe is a peaceful mountain resort area today, but its geologic past has been long and violent. Its very presence is due to tectonic stretching of the Earth’s crust across Nevada, which has opened large basins from California’s Sierra Nevada crest all the way to Salt Lake City, Utah. The Tahoe basin has been there for roughly 3 million years, during which time it’s seen outbreaks of volcanism and countless major earthquakes.

Forty years ago the first sonar survey of Lake Tahoe showed evidence that bite-shaped McKinney Bay, in the middle of the lake’s western shore, is a scar left by a very large landslide and that huge pieces of that slide, as much as a kilometer long, are strewn across the lake bottom.

The new paper in the August issue of the journal Geosphere, by veteran researchers James G. Moore, Richard Schweikert and Christopher Kitts, assembles the evidence old and new into a scenario of that convulsive day.

The landslide involved a body of rock made unstable by movement on a large-scale fault along the western shore. The slide, presumably triggered by an earthquake on that fault, sent some 12.5 cubic kilometers of rock and sediment into the lake, where it pushed a corresponding amount of water out of the way as huge tsunamis, perhaps 100 meters high. Much of this water burst over the lake’s outlet at Tahoe City and rushed down the Truckee River, where house-sized boulders litter the riverbed today as far downstream as Verdi at the Nevada border.

The rest of the water washed ashore all around the lake in what the authors call a “megasplash.” The lake would have sloshed back and forth for days afterward, and surely more landslides were being triggered at the time.

The authors say that the lake must have been muddy for years, and its shores a barren wasteland. All of the mud gradually blanketed the whole lake bed, making the landslide-related features look much older than they really are. Mapping on land also delineated a sheet of clean sand as thick as 2 meters spread across the flat lands at Lake Tahoe’s south end, a sign that the area was swept by large waves.

More detective work on land helped the authors narrow down the time of the megaslide and megasplash to some time between 21,000 and 12,000 thousand years ago. All of this evidence fits into a terrifying picture of geologic uproar.

As you might suspect, there are thousands of lovely pictures of the lake.  This one (from Utopian Luxury Vacation Homes) caught my eye:

And I figured I should close with a sunset shot over the lake.  I found this one (from the same spot and OK, it’s sunrise), by Aaron Keigher on the Minden Pictures website:

Dawn at Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, California

That’ll do it . . .




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Forsyth, Montana

Posted by graywacke on January 5, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”

I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town or towns I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. 

To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2426; A Landing A Day blog post number 861.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (46o 30.937’ N, 106o 58.776’) puts me in Cen-SE Montana:

Here’s my local landing map:

You can see that I landed in the watershed of the major river to the south (it turns out this is the Yellowstone  – my 58th landing in this watershed since I started landing, 2426 landing ago on April Fool’s day, 1999).  But before looking at a streams-only map, let’s take a look at Google Earth, to get a much more local view of my watershed:

You can see that I was able to put the Orange Dude at a bridge over my local watershed stream.  And here’s what he sees:

So.  Thanks to the signage lovingly placed by the Montana DOT, you can see that I landed in the watershed of the Big Porcupine Creek (believe it or not, 3rd hit!).

My streams-only map shows that the Yellowstone R makes its way to the Mighty Mo (434th hit).  Of course, the MM ends up in the MM (941st hit).

Going back to GE, here’s a Street View shot from the bridge over the Yellowstone at Forsyth (looking downstream, with the town on the right):

Notice the steel frame bridge?  I tried to get a closer Street View look, but this is the best I could do (there’s no road over the bridge anymore):

Really?  Well, here’s an overhead GE view:

It looks like this bridge has seen better days.  From the Forsyth town website:

Although heavy rain disrupted the celebrations, it couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm Forsyth residents felt for their new bridge, dedicated on July 4, 1905. Prior to the bridge’s construction, residents had to ford the Yellowstone River in low water or depend on an irregular ferry service; the nearest bridge was forty-five miles downstream at Miles City. The bridge cost $53,200.

Construction began on December 22, 1904. The crew poured the massive concrete piers before assembling the large steel components, fabricated in the east and shipped to Forsyth by rail. Warming weather and spring flooding sometimes forced the bridge crew to work chest deep in cold water.

Originally three spans in length, the southern span crossed the primary river channel; the two northern spans crossed the flood plains. When the bridge was closed in 1958, replaced by a concrete bridge several hundred yards upstream, two of its three spans were salvaged for scrap metal. The southernmost span remains, an example of the tremendous public investment in infrastructure that accompanied the homesteading boom.

So, as long as I’m in Forsyth (and it’s titular), here’s the Wiki opening paragraph for Forsyth:

Forsyth is the county seat of Rosebud County, Montana.  The population was 1,777 at the 2010 census. Forsyth was established in 1876 as the first settlement on the Yellowstone River, and in 1882 residents named the town after General James William Forsyth who commanded Fort Maginnis, Montana during the Indian Wars and the 7th Cavalry at the Wounded Knee Massacre.

The first thing I had to ask is “Did they name the town after Forsyth before or after the Wounded Knee Massacre?”

Phew.  The answer is before – the WK Massacre happened in 1890.

The next question:  After the massacre, why didn’t the town change their name?  Well, before addressing that question, let me take a look.  (FYI, Wounded Knee SD is a five and a half hour drive from Forsyth.)

In my Timber Lake SD post (December 2008), I provided some additional background:

From the town’s newspaper website comes this great photo:

Along with the photo was this write-up:

After assembling at the site of Sitting Bull’s Camp on Monday, the Big Foot Riders made their way south on their annual ride to Wounded Knee, site of the massacre of 350 Indians on December 29, 1890.  Thirty riders braved sub-zero temperatures to make the 25-mile ride to Timber Lake the first day.  Ica Ducheneaux took this photo as the riders crossed the Grand River early Monday morning.  Ica, a senior at Cheyenne-Eagle Butte, is the student photographer for the ride. They “camped” at the Timber Lake Community Center Monday and Tuesday nights.

As you’d expect, there are many websites discussing the Wounded Knee Massacre.   From Last of the Independents.com comes the following, which gives good background, and explains who Big Foot is:

The Ghost Dance

A phenomena swept the American west in 1888 by, started by Paiute holy man Wovoka, who lived in Nevada. Wovoka, son of the mystic Tavibo, drew on his father’s teachings and his own vision during an eclipse of the sun.  He began spreading the “gospel” that came to be known as the Ghost Dance Religion.  He claimed that the earth would soon perish and then come alive again in a pure, aboriginal state, to be inherited by the Indians, including the dead, for an eternal existence free from suffering.

To earn this new reality, however, Indians had to live harmoniously and honestly and shun the ways of the whites, especially alcohol, “the destroyer.”  Wovoka also discouraged the practice of mourning, because the dead would soon be resurrected, demanding instead the performance of prayers, meditation, chanting, and especially dancing through which one might briefly die and catch a glimpse of the paradise-to-come, replete with lush green prairie grass, large buffalo herds and Indian ancestors.

Kicking Bear, a Miniconjou Teton Lakota, made a pilgrimage to Nevada to learn about this new “religion”.  Together with Short Bull, another Miniconjou mystic, they gave another interpretation, choosing to disregard Wovoka’s anti-violence and emphasizing the possible elimination of the whites. Special Ghost Dance Shirts, they claimed, would protect them against the white man’s bullets

Here’s a picture of a Ghost Dance shirt.

The Wounded Knee Massacre

White officials became alarmed at the religious fervor and activism and in December 1890 banned the Ghost Dance on Lakota reservations.  When the rites continued, officials called in troops to Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations in South Dakota. The military, led by veteran General Nelson Miles, geared itself for another campaign.

The presence of the troops exacerbated the situation. Short Bull and Kicking Bear led their followers to the northwest corner of the Pine Ridge reservation, to a sheltered escarpment known as the Stronghold. The dancers sent word to Sitting Bull of the Hunkpapas to join them. Before he could set out from the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, however, he was arrested by Indian police. A scuffle ensued in which Sitting Bull and seven of his warriors were slain. Six of the policemen were killed.

General Miles had also ordered the arrest of Big Foot, who had been known to live along the Cheyenne River in South Dakota. But, Big Foot and his followers had already departed south to Pine Ridge, asked there by Red Cloud and other supporters of the whites, in an effort to bring tranquility.

Miles sent out the infamous Seventh Calvary led by Major Whitside to locate the renegades. They scoured the Badlands and finally found the Miniconjou dancers on Porcupine Creek, 30 miles east of Pine Ridge. The Indians offered no resistance.  Big Foot, ill with pneumonia, rode in a wagon. The soldiers ordered the Indians to set up camp five miles westward, at Wounded Knee Creek. Colonel James Forsyth arrived to take command and ordered his guards to place four Hotchkiss cannons in position around the camp. The soldiers now numbered around 500; the Indians 350, all but 120 of these women and children.

The following morning, December 29, 1890, the soldiers entered the camp demanding the all Indian firearms be relinquished. A medicine man named Yellow Bird advocated resistance, claiming the Ghost Shirts would protect them. One of the soldiers tried to disarm a deaf Indian named Black Coyote. A scuffle ensued and the firearm discharged.

The silence of the morning was broken and soon other guns echoed in the river bed. At first, the struggle was fought at close quarters, but when the Indians ran to take cover, the Hotchkiss artillery opened up on them, cutting down men, women, children alike, the sick Big Foot among them. By the end of this brutal, unnecessary violence, which lasted less than an hour, at about 300 Indian men, women and children had been killed and 50 wounded. In comparison, army casualties were 25 killed and 39 wounded.  Forsyth was later charged with killing the innocents, but exonerated.

I shouldn’t come down too tough on Forsyth for not changing their name after the massacre.  After all, it was a very different time, and as Wiki notes:

The massacre is noteworthy as the engagement in which the most Medals of Honor have ever been awarded in the history of the US Army.

However, I can’t help but think that at least some Forsyth residents would be in favor of changing the town’s name.

I’ll close with some GE shots.  First this one closest to my landing (about 10 miles NW, by Tim Smith):

And then this shot along the Yellowstone, about 35 miles southwest, by Kyle Walton:

And finally, this flatlander sunset shot by Liz Sampson (taken 25 miles southwest):

That’ll do it . . .




© 2018 A Landing A Day

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