Columbia University announced this week that Ari Kelman’s A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over The Memory of Sand Creek is a winner of the 2014 Bancroft Prize. The award is one of the most prestigious prizes for historical works, and it is exciting indeed that a work about the trans-Mississippi has been selected.
The Bancroft Prize website states that “A Misplaced Massacre grapples with the politics of historical memory and memorializing in Sand Creek, Colorado, the site of an 1864 massacre of Cheyennes and Arapahos. Kelman deals evenhandedly with the fraught politics of inconclusive and contradictory archival records, the goals of National Park memorialists, the claims of property owners, and Native American efforts to have a historic injustice marked and recalled without perpetrating further violation of the spirits of murdered ancestors.” Yesterday, I downloaded the book onto my iPad, and it is a fascinating look at how history intersects with the present.
Dr. Ari Kelman is a Professor of History at the University of California, Davis, and is currently working on a book titled Liberty and Empire: How the Civil War Bled Into The Indian Wars. Scholars increasingly are recognizing the connections between the Civil War and the Indian Wars; as Kelman states in his preface, “...for Native people gazing east from the banks of Sand Creek, the Civil War, looked like a war of empire, a contest to control the expansion into the West, rather than a war of liberation.”