You are here


In 1991 I went to the branch named for Byers, after spending my youth reading the books there. I explained to the librarian who worked there, the facts that I had just recently learned about this massacre and Byers, after checking out and reading every book the downtown library had on this event. I am more than elated that the time has finally come to right a long time wrong. We’ve too long made heroes out of liars.

Thank you for reading and sharing, Martha. We are pretty hopeful about this change too.

Isn't sensationalism in the media still present as an attempt to attract more attention from the public? Did anyone try to count how many families, ranches, travelers, stage coaches etc. had been preyed upon by young braves out to make a name for themselves, count coup, or steal horses etc? Native tribes warred with each other in this fashion, why would the Americans from the East be treated any differently? Tribes also secured territory for themselves this way and "hunting grounds", no? Part of the difference between the American settlers and the tribes people was the tribes acceptance of their type of warfare consisting mainly of hostile raids by perhaps independently acting young men, while the Americans found such raids especially where their livelihood or their families were attacked to be just as Byer's paper no doubt declared, "Savage". I don't think Byers created that attitude,I think he milked it! The clash of cultures fed significantly into what caused Sand Creek, and interestingly enough, Custer created a similar massacre at the Washita in 1868, which we do not hear much about either. I do believe that many of those tribesmen at the Little Bighorn were well aware of what Custer had done years earlier, and that Custer likely met with a kind of justice at that place.

Thanks for reading and engaging with the article. Sensationalism is certainly a part of news media throughout history. The Rocky Mountain News regularly published notices of attacks by Native Americans on settlers, which was part of inflaming Coloradans and creating an environment in which massacres of Native Americans would be likely and considered acceptable. We would not argue that Byers orchestrated the massacre, but his being more interested in readership than human lives and denying loss after the fact did clear harm. Settler Colonialism is a complicated and bloody reality in the history of the American West, but it's also clear that "Americans from the East" were the main perpetrators of that bloodshed.

We also now know that there were many times when Anglos dressed as Indians and perpetrated raids that would be blamed on Indians. There was a case of this in Utah which resulted in an official apology.

Thank you for such a great aritcle! Its sad that it has taken this long to become a real conversation, and I appreciate your offering on this.

Thank you for reading and commenting, Bobbie. It's a tragic part of our history, but one we must face.

Hopefully they will have some plaque showing the former name and worthy accomplishments of Mr. Byers. Just like every single person on this planet we are all flawed. It doesn’t matter what name the library picks as long as we are not being revisionists and erasing the past.

Thank you for reading and commenting. Rectifying the future should not erase the past.


Add new comment