Our Blood Remembers
After decades of activism and support of various Native causes Paul Soderman eventually learned and verified that he was in fact a 7th generation descendant of General William Selby Harney. A long lost family letter, followed by an extensive Ancestry.com search, and the unfolding of dream and vision, occurring in 1995, confirmed and validated Paul's lineage connection to Gen Harney.
Healing the History
In 1854, President Franklin Pierce sent General Harney to "whip the Indians" in retaliation for the Grattan Massacre near Ft. Laramie, Wy. On his deathbed, Conquering Bear, after being wounded in the Grattan massacre, declared Little Thunder to be the Chief of the village at Bluewater Creek.
In Sept. of 1855 Gen. Harney arrived at Ash Hollow near Bluewater Creek and requested a parley to which Little Thunder approached Harney with a white flag. "No peace, it will be war!" exclaimed General Harney. This event marked the first massacre by US forces of Plains Indian people, killing 86 Lakotas, many of whom were women and children.
In 2001, the Little Thunder Tiospaye returned to Blue Water Creek and walked 200 miles from the massacre site back to Rosebud Reservation in the steps of their ancestor who survived the massacre of Little Thunders camp. This first walk set much in motion.
In 2012 Paul and Karen Little Thunder began communicating through social media. Paul met with Karen, Phil, Harry, Keith and Shawn Little Thunder in Rapid City, SD. Over time, they worked together towards healing through visiting and praying at the massacre site together, doing prayer walks and participating in traditional ceremonies. In 2015 Karen Little Thunder and Paul worked with Basil Brave Heart, many others and the US Dept. of Interior to rename Harney Peak in the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota to Black Elk Peak. During the 4th year of Prayer Walks to Ft. Laramie, Wy., Paul was adopted into the Little Thunder Family, through the Lakota, 'Making of Relatives' ceremony. These sacred events have happened in relative obscurity but we tell this much of the story to help others to have faith that this kind of historical healing is possible. https://www.reuters.com/video/?videoId=OVB53M9NR&jwsource=em