NEBRASKAland July 2017

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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Page 44 of 71

JULY 2017 • NEBRASKAland 45 LEFT: Both Paul Stover Soderman, left, and Phil Little Thunder will present at the event about a tragic massacre near Ash Hollow in 1855 that links their ancestors. BELOW: Don and Lynne Benker of Skull Valley, Arizona, visit a replica sod house at Ash Hollow. A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity While cataloguing items in the basement of the Smithsonian Institution, Dr. James Hansen stumbled upon a series of objects that hearken back to one of the Nebraska Territory's darkest events: the Battle of Blue Water, also known as the Harney Massacre. On Sept. 3, 1855, General William S. Harney and his command of 600 men attacked and destroyed a Lakota village of about 250 people near Ash Hollow. Accounts estimate that 86 people were killed, including women and children; five were wounded, including Chief Little Thunder; and 70 taken captive. Gouverneur Kemble Warren collected some of the slain Indians' belongings and sent them to his daughter in upstate New York, who donated them to the Smithsonian. They have been in the museum's basement ever since, viewed perhaps once or twice, but never on public display. However, visitors to Convergence on Sacred Ground will have the once-in- a-lifetime opportunity to view these items, which have been brought from the Smithsonian specifically to be exhibited at this event. "And then they'll go back to the Smithsonian and this may be the last time they'll ever be viewed. So it's a big deal," said DeAnn Beard, who helped organize the event. The Little Thunder family will be in attendance and will speak at the event, sharing the story of the Battle of Blue Water and their family's history. on Sacred Ground as an official signature event celebrating Nebraska's sesquicentennial. "Our hope is that people leave Ash Hollow after this event understanding something about the Native Americans and the fur traders, cowboys, pioneers and military that they didn't understand before," Beard said. "And not just from reading it out of a book, but from having the opportunity to participate in what life was like for these groups." Activities will take place at Ash Hollow SHP on Friday, July 21, and Saturday, July 22, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, July 23, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., followed by entertainment in Lewellen in the evenings. Ash Hollow State Historical Park is located on Highway 26, three miles south of Lewellen or 30 miles northwest of Ogallala in Garden County. More information is available at ■ PHOTO BY AARON NETT AT THE NARRATIVE

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