Letters to the Editor

McGinnis letter: Mass killings

On Friday, June 17, a front page article in the Idaho Statesman referred to the tragic killing of 49 people in Orlando as “The worst mass shooting in U.S. history …” Later in the same paper an article by New York Times News Service on assault rifles refers the same shooting as “… the deadliest shooting in American history.”

The deadliest and largest known mass shooting in our country happened in Idaho. The 1863 Bear River Massacre killed 300-493 Shoshone (this revised high number was reported in a Feb. 17, 2008, article in the Salt Lake City Tribune). Although some were not shot in the massacre, as Shoshone infants were taken by their feet and their heads smashed against rocks. The 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre in South Dakota killed 200-300 Lakota, half women and children. Between 1850-1861 over 2,500 Indians were recorded massacred in California by settlers, sometimes dying by the hundreds.

I do not wish to diminish the great pain and suffering of the deaths in Orlando in any way. I do want to point out the cultural amnesia many people and institutions have in regard to the history of native people on this continent.

Mark W. McGinnis, Boise

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