Dark History of Montana's Baker Massacre Topic at MHS - news.mt.gov

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Dark History of Montana's Baker Massacre Topic at MHS

Friday, February 12, 2016/Categories: Montana Historical Society/Tags:

Contact: Tom Cook 406-444-1645  Release:  Receipt


                It is one of the darkest stories in the history of Montana, and for that matter, the West.

                Author Paul Wylie will tell the story of the tragedy of the Baker Massacre based on his new book “Blood on the Marias” at a free public program at the Montana Historical Society on Thursday (Feb. 25) at 6:30 p.m.

                On the morning of January 23, 1870, Major Eugene Baker sent his U.S. Cavalry troops into a Piegan Indian village on the Marias River in Montana Territory and more than 173 Indians – mostly women, children and old men – were slaughtered.

                Baker was sent out in search of Mountain Chief’s renegade band that had killed some settlers, but he attacked a peaceful tribe that was suffering the effects of smallpox. His scouts had told him that it was the wrong camp, but Baker, who was said to be intoxicated, paid no heed.

                Wylie, who lives in Bozeman and is author of “The Irish General: Thomas Francis Meagher,” takes the story through the early days of the Blackfeet Confederacy that was already trading with the Hudson’s Bay Company when Lewis and Clark came upon them on their journey of exploration.

                Washington leaders tried to cover the story up, but even in its day the New York Times called it “a more shocking affair than the sacking of Black Kettle’s camp on the Washita” that had occurred two years earlier.


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