Battle Cry

While historians search for the site of the Sand Creek Massacre, Laird Cometsevah listens to his ancestors.

--Article Six, Treaty of the Little Arkansas, 1865

Laird keeps his great-grandfather's pipe with his most important things. It's made of dark-red stone and has Cometsevah's personal markings. Laird sometimes holds it in his big, callused hands, examining the smooth contours, the place where a hole was worn through.

He thinks about his great-grandfather often, and about all those people running along the creek. Today when he walks through his town, he sees his ancestors in the old people warming themselves in the sun, in the children romping.

Old people and babies.
Laird and his wife carry the stories inside them. They pass along what they know, do what they can to keep history alive, wait for the U.S. government to fulfill its promise. The survivors of Sand Creek never got the reparations they were told they'd receive. Making Sand Creek a historic site would be a start.

Historians, politicians and scientists will argue for years to come about the morning of November 29, 1864. They will discuss where it took place, how it should be explained and what it means today. The survivors and their families already know.

"As long as there are Cheyenne living," Laird says. "There will be Sand Creek.

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