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Sheridan Road in Chicago is named after General Philip Sheridan, whose career included time here during the Chicago Fire and fighting for the Union during the Civil War but was rooted in the so-called “Indian Wars” of the Great Plains.
150 years ago, on Jan 23 1870, he directed Major Eugene Baker to “strike them hard,” and to strike while the enemy slept – this strategy one Sheridan had used before. Sheridan’s directive to Baker led to one of the worst indigenous massacres in US history. Near the Marias river in north-central Montana, over 200 Piegan (Blackfoot) persons were killed, many still in their tents, most of them women and children. They were gunned down even as a Chief, Heavy Runner, ran toward the troops holding high safe conduct papers from the Indian Bureau. Sheridan helped cover up the crime after the fact.
We ask that General Philip Sheridan’s name be removed from Sheridan Road and that it be renamed Piegan Road in honor of those Americans who so unjustly died. 150 years ago, a terrible injustice was done. Recognition belongs to the innocent, not to the guilty.
(A personal note: I live 1/2 block from Sheridan Road in my Uptown, Chicago, neighborhood. I grew up in Montana.)