The Robinson Rancheria Pomo Indians of Lake County, California, will hold an all-night intertribal dance and sunrise ceremony Friday night through Saturday morning, May 18-May 19, as a memorial to the 1850 Bloody Island massacre, in which about 200 Pomo Indians, including many women and children were slaughtered by the U.S. Calvary.
“Many of the women and children were bayoneted. The memorial is about forgiveness to America for what they’ve done, and about sharing the history no one wants to talk about,” said Clayton Duncan, a Rancheria member and great-grandson of Lucy Moore, who famously survived the massacre by hiding behind the tule reeds in the bloodied water.
The 13th annual memorial will begin with dancing from sunset Friday through 4:30 a.m. Saturday at the dance grounds behind the Rancheria. Then those gathered will walk about a mile to the Bloody Island marker on Reclamation Road, Duncan said. Last year, about 170 people attended, and the event is open to all dance groups, he added.
Bloody Island is now reclaimed land owned by private agriculture interests, Duncan said. The knoll where the massacre victims were cremated and buried was later flattened, and the soil was used to build dikes, he said.
“The ceremony is also to say we’re sorry to our ancestors whose bones and ashes were shown such disrespect,” Duncan said.