2023. The provocative simultaneous hanging of 38 men who were Dakota (Sioux) warriors took place on the day after Christmas in 1862. This original 3D illustration is my fictionalized tribute to those indigenous men in Minnesota who died together on that day. Proponents of white supremacy choose to deny and disregard what was the largest military mass execution in American history. Let them deny and disregard, but they reveal their blindness by doing so. The attempts for a century and a half to erase this from history have largely been overcome by the persistence of those who want the truth to be known no matter how unpleasant it may be. This terrifying incident is all the more shocking because the hanging of these 38 indigenous men who were defending their tribe and territory took place on a specially-constructed gallows which was officially approved in Washington, DC by none other than President Abraham Lincoln, himself. Discover more: https://www.zinnedproject.org/news/tdih/execution-dakota/
Some may mistakenly think this is fiction, but it is real life. The Wild West of America in the late 19th century was a time of real-life lawlessness. Hollywood movies persuaded many people to believe the Wild West was macho and fun because of bolstering masculinity and conquest. In reality, however, cowboys rode freely across the prairies often with little regard for anything or anyone but themselves. Gunfights were an everyday occurrence. Killings with guns was common. This was also a time when Native American Indians were subjected to terrible injustices at the hands of cowboys and others who came to what had been native lands which were populated by indigenous people.
For centuries, Native American Indians had been living in the vast open spaces of North America long before the arrival of European settlers. Their way of life was very different from that of the settlers, which was mainly focused on agriculture, and the two groups coexisted in relative peace.
However, as the settlers began to move westward in search of land and minerals, they encroached on Native American land and began to change the ecosystem with widespread deforestation and hunting. This caused a rift between the two groups that would not soon be mended.
The cowboys were a new breed of American settlers that emerged during the Wild West days. They roamed the countryside in search of adventure and fortune, often leading cattle drives across vast distances. While some cowboys were peaceful and respectful of Native American culture, others were very antagonistic and saw the Native Americans as an obstacle to their progress.
Many of the cowboys saw the Native Americans as primitive savages and had little respect for their way of life. They would often mock them, abuse them, and even kill them for no apparent reason. Cowboys would get away with killing Native Americans because in those days, Native Americans were not considered as significant as people of European ancestry. Many Native Americans felt compelled to flee their homes and retreat deeper into the wilderness to escape violence, death and destruction.
One of the most infamous events during this time was the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876, where General George Custer’s forces were defeated by a coalition of Native American tribes led by the famous warrior whose name was Crazy Horse. Though often portrayed as a heroic struggle between savage Indians and brave soldiers, it was in fact a battle over land rights that ended tragically for both sides. Greed so often leads to violence and death. This was a classic example of that outcome.
The violence between cowboys and Native Americans continued for many years, with many more battles, massacres, and injustices inflicted on the Indians. The cowboys eventually faded away, replaced by new technologies such as railroads and automobiles, but the legacy of their abuse of the Native Americans remains.
In the present day there is a growing awareness of the suffering that Native Americans endured during the Wild West days, and many steps are being taken to remedy past injustices. Nevertheless, the scars run deep, and the memory of the torment inflicted by the cowboys on the Native American Indians will never be easily forgotten.