Tuesday, September 08, 2009



Somebody (aka Anonymous) responded to an old post about Cindy Sohappy, the girl from Warm Springs who died in a holding cell at Chemawa Indian school. This was a few years back. Ms Sohappy came back on campus drunk, was locked up, and subsequently died unattended because nobody checked on her. Kind of manslaughter by indifference. Nobody ever got punished for it.

The school is still there, slogging along, trying to help adolescents graduate from high school and get their heads on straight. Originally Chemawa was one of those Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools where Indian kids were supposed to be taught to become (low-echelon) white people. Thousands of students died in those boarding schools, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Measles, flu, heartbreak—sort of similar to the way Indians died in the Spanish missions down in California. We'll probably never know exactly how many. The kids were whipped for trying to speak their native languages; forcibly, their hair was cut; they had to wear, at least the boys, idiotic little pseudo-military uniforms and the girls were dressed like house-maids. That was the least of what happened to many of them. Do you believe in ghosts, bad spirits? I've been to Chemawa a half dozen times, walked the old grounds, and never found a cemetary. Has to be one, yeah.

Are there bad spirits hanging around a place with such sorrowful history? Like around, say, Big Hole Battlefield or the site of the Sand Creek Massacre or a thousand other places were awful things happened to the First People? I've visited some of those places and always left before sundown. I know there are good spirits around certain places—like Bear Butte in South Dakota, say. So, yeah, I think maybe there are some things at a place like Chemawa that are not healthy. I suppose that sounds like a Steven King plot, but...

Just rambling thoughts on the day after Labor Day.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?