Tag Archives: Buffalo Bill

Buffalo Bill Lives at Fort Cody Nebraska

fort-cody-trading-postFT CODY, NEBRASKA- On I-80 as you pass North Platte, sits the Fort Cody Trading Post, home of the Free Buffalo Bill Museum Emporium. What had been the Ogallala, Neb, Sioux Trading Post, moved in 1969 to follow the travelers rerouted from Hwy-30 to the new interstate, and changed its focus from the Native American to the Ugly American.

Buffalo Bill Cody earned his moniker by eradicating America’s buffalo herds. Over a million buffalo were killed each year during the 1870s. According to the museum, Mr. Cody labored to feed a sudden East Coast appetite for buffalo tongue, and a fad for buffalo fur coats. The display confessed: “Unfortunately the buffalo carcasses were left to rot on the plains.”

History books had been less forthcoming. They record that Cody was hired by the railroad builders to supply food for their workforce. He and his team were contracted to supply twelve buffalo a day. Does that come a little shy of a million? Accounts also wink at the risk Cody ran of coming against unfriendly Indians while engaged in the task.

When BB Cody wasn’t scouting for the railroad and the US cavalry, he was touring the world to exhibit the red skinned savage. Fort Cody featured a miniature 20,000 piece, hand-carved, animated model of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

On an opposite wall, among a fantastic collection of western guns, clothing and cowboy gear, was an undated tintype depicting Bill posing with fellow scouts, cradling his favorite rifle which he called “Lucretia Borgia.”

In recent years, government documents have revealed a different story. It turns out the white men leading the charge westward were frustrated that the Plains Indians had what looked like an unlimited food supply. The buffalo kept them clothed and fed, and the nomadic tribes followed the herds like their own moveable orchards. One of the strategies to force the Native Americans from their land was to eliminate their source of food, and basically their livelihood.

Most Americans have been kept oblivious to this version of history. Should we doubt that most of the participants were keenly aware of the strategy, if perhaps indifferent to the fate of the red savage? Does it matter?

Under the pretext of building a security wall in Palestine, Israel is separating the Palestinians from their olive orchards, often by uprooting the orchards outright. American troops in Iraq have destroyed date palm orchards using the excuse of having to clear the populated areas of cover for insurgents. In Vietnam, defoliants were used to despoil large areas, rendering them incapable of yielding food. Troops also poisoned wells. It’s called the scorched earth policy, and by the way, it’s a war crime.

If Americans don’t come to terms with the crimes we committed here, or are committing elsewhere, how can we expect our soldiers to find cause to refuse the orders next time? The public’s consent is always being manipulated by having to hold a certain regard for the soldiers. Out of respect for the memory of its veterans, in current events, to “support the troops.” After a point, we have to lay the blame with both commanders and perpetrators. Vietnam was genocide. Iraq is genocide. Those over there are doing it.

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