“Ghosts of Sand Creek” News/ April 22, 2009

1. Genocide in America
2. The American Indian Genocide Museum
3. Sand Creek Massacre descendants speak
4. Funding
5. ITVS Grant
6. Sundance Documentary Film Fund
7. Jessica Osenbruegge
8. Chief Niwot
9. Donie Nelson


1. Genocide in America

“Native American Genocide Still Haunts United States”
By Leah Trabich
Cold Spring Harbor High School
New York, USA

In the past, the main thrust of the Holocaust/Genocide Project’s magazine, An End To Intolerance,
has been the genocides that occurred in history and outside of the United States. Still, what we
mustn’t forget is that mass killing of Native Americans occurred in our own country. As a result,
bigotry and racial discrimination still exist.

“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue” . . . and made the first contact with the “Indians.”
For Native Americans, the world after 1492 would never be the same. This date marked the
beginning of the long road of persecution and genocide of Native Americans, our indigenous
people. Genocide was an important cause of the decline for many tribes.

“By conservative estimates, the population of the United states prior to European contact
was greater than 12 million. Four centuries later, the count was reduced by 95% to 237 thousand.

In 1493, when Columbus returned to the Hispaniola, he quickly implemented policies of slavery
and mass extermination of the Taino population of the Caribbean. Within three years, five million
were dead. Las Casas, the primary historian of the Columbian era, writes of many accounts of
the horrors that the Spanish colonists inflicted upon the indigenous population: hanging them
en mass, hacking their children into pieces to be used as dog feed, and other horrid cruelties.
The works of Las Casas are often omitted from popular American history books and courses
because Columbus is considered a hero by many, even today.

Mass killing did not cease, however, after Columbus departed. Expansion of the European
colonies led to similar genocides. “Indian Removal” policy was put into action to clear the land
for white settlers. Methods for the removal included slaughter of villages by the military and also
biological warfare. High death rates resulted from forced marches to relocate the Indians.

The Removal Act of 1830 set into motion a series of events which led to the “Trail of Tears” in 1838,
a forced march of the Cherokees, resulting in the destruction of most of the Cherokee population.”
The concentration of American Indians in small geographic areas, and the scattering of them from
their homelands, caused increased death, primarily because of associated military actions, disease,
starvation, extremely harsh conditions during the moves, and the resulting destruction of ways of life.

During American expansion into the western frontier, one primary effort to destroy the Indian way of
life was the attempts of the U.S. government to make farmers and cattle ranchers of the Indians. In
addition, one of the most substantial methods was the premeditated destructions of flora and fauna
which the American Indians used for food and a variety of other purposes. We now also know that
the Indians were intentionally exposed to smallpox by Europeans. The discovery of gold in California,
early in 1848, prompted American migration and expansion into the west. The greed of Americans
for money and land was rejuvenated with the Homestead Act of 1862. In California and Texas there
was blatant genocide of Indians by non-Indians during certain historic periods. In California, the
decrease from about a quarter of a million to less than 20,000 is primarily due to the cruelties and
wholesale massacres perpetrated by the miners and early settlers. Indian education began with
forts erected by Jesuits, in which indigenous youths were incarcerated, indoctrinated with
non-indigenous Christian values, and forced into manual labor. These children were forcibly
removed from their parents by soldiers and many times never saw their families until later in their
adulthood. This was after their value systems and knowledge had been supplanted with colonial
thinking. One of the foundations of the U.S. imperialist strategy was to replace traditional leadership
of the various indigenous nations with indoctrinated “graduates” of white “schools,” in order to
expedite compliance with U.S. goals and expansion.

Probably one of the most ruinous acts to the Indians was the disappearance of the buffalo. For the
Indians who lived on the Plains, life depended on the buffalo. At the beginning of the nineteenth
century, there were an estimated forty million buffalo, but between 1830 and 1888 there was a rapid,
systematic extermination culminating in the sudden slaughter of the only two remaining Plain herds.
By around 1895, the formerly vast buffalo populations were practically extinct. The slaughter occurred
because of the economic value of buffalo hides to Americans and because the animals were in the
way of the rapidly westward expanding population. The end result was widescale starvation and the
social and cultural disintegration of many Plains tribes.

Genocide entered international law for the first time in 1948; the international community took notice
when Europeans (Jews, Poles, and other victims of Nazi Germany) faced cultural extinction. The
“Holocaust” of World War II came to be the model of genocide. We, as the human race, must realize,
however, that other genocides have occurred. Genocide against many particular groups is still widely
happening today. The discrimination of the Native American population is only one example of this
ruthless destruction.

Credits: Sharon Johnston, The Genocide of Native Americans: A Sociological View, 1996.


2. The American Indian Genocide Museum

The purpose of the American Indian Genocide Museum
is to bring historical truth to light through the means of education using actual documentation
of events that have transpired in the near extermination, and in some cases, the total
extermination of native tribes and cultures. It will be a memorial to the victims of
ethnic cleansing. Racism, discrimination and injustice will be addressed with the
purpose of promoting public awareness that these elements of genocide which
existed in the past, continue to exist today. A further purpose of the museum will
be to address prejudice which is generated toward native peoples through biased
reporting of history. The goal of influencing authors of school textbooks with
irrefutable documentation shall be of major importance. A library and microfilm
archive will be available. The visual use of art, sculpture and film will create a
memorable learning experience.

Back Row Left to Right: Russell Means (Actor, AIM, Board Member American Indian Genocide Museum), Steve
Melendez (American Indian Genocide Museum), Cheryl Melendez (American Indian Genocide Museum), Jesus Cantu
Front Row: Pearl Means, Donald L. Vasicek (Writer, Filmmaker, Board Member American Indian Genocide Museum)

3. Sand Creek Massacre Descendants Speak

“Mr. Vasicek,

“I just read about your documentary in my tribal paper. I am a
direct descendant from Chief Standing in the Water, he was
killed at Sand Creek. He was also a delegate, from the tribe,
that had gone about a year before his death to meet with
President Lincoln.

“Most of my family elder’s have passed but I am certain the
stories are being told. I remember several that my Great
Grandmother told me, so I am certain my Aunts and Uncles
have many stories to tell. (There is also a lake in Colorado
that bears my name StandingWater). This massacre has been
a great heartbreak to our family, it has been difficult to find
what happened after the massacre, other than through

“Thank you for bringing this story to film, it is my family’s
greatest sorrow.

-Belinda Standingwater-Polka”


“My name is Clint Punley and I am a descendant from one of the
council members, “Bear Robe”. I am interested in the Sand Creek

“This is a tragic event that will always be in my heritage. I just
recently visited the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site.
I did a lot of academic papers on the Massacre.

“Thank you for taking interest in our Native American Culture. It
means a lot to the Cheyenne People.

“If I can help you in anyway, I will be glad too.

“Thank you,

“Clint Punley
IT Technician
Riverside Indian School
(404) 247-6670 ext. 355”

4. Funding


According to FastTrac TechVenture raising capital usually
takes two to four months from angel groups and four to
six months from venture capitalists. With the decline
of the economy, these time periods have the potential
of decreasing in time. The reason for this is that film is
perceived as a diversion during economic times such
as we’re experiencing. Thus, the stock, so to speak,
has the potentiality for larger box office, DVD sales,
DVD rentals, etc.

Based on this outlook, Olympus Films+, LLC
continues to be in a holding pattern regarding
the funding of the “Ghosts of Sand Creek” (working
title) film project. We continue to move forward with
potential investors in order to secure funding
for the film.

Parties that our broker is speaking to, continue
to have interest, yet they have no prime interested
parties to provide us with funding at this time.
They will continue to seek interested funding
parties to meet our needs. Another broker
has recently signed on with us.

5. ITVS Grant

The ITVS grant that I wrote and submitted was
passed on.

6. Sundance Documentary Film Fund

The Sundance Documentary Fund grant application
I wrote and submitted is under consideration. June
is when the grants will be issued.

7. Jessica Osenbruegge

Jessica Osenbruegge, a financial writer, based
in Berlin, has recently signed on with us. She
is responsible for research, writing, communications
and outreach to procure support for the film. Based
on research, there are many German people who
believe that America’s native people are like they’ve
been depicted in older western movies. This is
primarily based on Karl May’s writings. May, a
German novelist, did not visit the United States
until the early 1900’s. Until that time, he incorporated
America native people into his writings as savages
much like American movies eventually did.

To counter that, Jessica is writing articles and
lecturing at German universities and human rights
organizations, speaking about American indigenous
people and screening our award-winning documentary
film, “The Sand Creek Massacre.” It is planned for
Jessica to co-extend this in the United States
when funding is in place for the “Ghosts of Sand
Creek” film project.

Jessica first appearance is at Passau University, a
public research university located in Passau, Lower
Bavaria, Germany on May 12, 2009. She is also
scheduled to appear at the Women’s International
League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) in Berlin,
the date to be announced. The Women’s
International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
is an international Non Governmental Organization
(NGO) with national sections, covering all continents
with an international secretariat based in Geneva, and
a New York office focused on the work of the United Nations.
Since its establishment in 1915, WILPF has brought together
women from around the world who are united in working for
peace by non-violent means, promoting political, economic
and social justice for all.

8. Chief Niwot

(Channeling is a process whereby an individual
[the “channeler”] claims to have been invaded by
a spirit entity which speaks through the channeler.)

The following email came unexpectedly to me one day.
I am sharing with each of you to exhibit that there are
people “out there” who want this film made.


“…I’m on a personal journey in my writing and am
channeling Chief Niwot to bring Native American wisdom
to our problems of today. It will be similar to “Conversations
with God” (by Neal Donald Walsch) in a question/answer
format entitled “The Left Hand Journey to Wisdom: A walk
with Chief Niwot.” (Niwot means left hand in Arapaho). Whether this
materializes in a physical walk from Sand Creek to Gold Lake or merely
a metaphysical walk – or combination of the two – has yet to be determined.

“The Sand Creek massacre seems to be playing an important role in this
project since it represents loss and separation…we all have our own
personal Sand Creeks. It also represents the healing that we all face
and the change in life we can’t control.

“Here is a message from Chief Niwot:

“Donald Vasicek,

“Your walk is never more important as now. The blending of the four
colors is just beginning – Obama is testament to that. This is why your
project is not only timely, but of great importance to the collective
healing that must take place.

“Remember in your message…being stuck in victimization and hanging on
to the wound is detrimental to this healing. Through the lessons of
time, the teaching part is to let go of the past and embrace
forgiveness, while still using that past as a history lesson.

“The Great Spirit of the Southern Arapaho is the same for every man. It
is telling us all and using these tragedies as a way to touch our
hearts. The sadness must overcome the anger to stir the deep love we
have for each other. Fear and hatred has no place in this process.

“Move ahead with your project as the funds will come from the love and
hearts of many.

“Blessings and good medicine on your journey.”
Chief Niwot…”

-Harry Strunk

Note: Mr. Walsch, said on Larry King/CNN that “God can be anything.

10. Donie Nelson
Thanks to Donie Nelson, an established and well-respected
career strategist for writers, for mentioning the “Ghosts of
Sand Creek” documentary film project in her latest newsletter.
A special hug, Donie, thank you.

For those of you who are writers, Donie helps writers develop
career strategies. You can contact her at:

Donie Nelson
Career Strategies for Writers
10736 Jefferson Blvd., #690
Culver City, CA 90230

Donald L. Vasicek
Commitment to Professionlism


“This music crept by me upon the waters.”
-William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”

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