Choke Creek tells the story of a girl who falls in love with a soldier who deserts from Vietnam. In her quest to save him, she uncovers the secrets that have haunted both their families for generations, dating back to the Indian Wars.
The novel is based on an historical event, the Sand Creek Massacre, which took place in Colorado, where I grew up. On a cold November morning in 1864, over 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians, mostly women and children, were killed by a mixed band of federal and volunteer troops. Afterwards the bodies of the dead were scalped and mutilated in the most gruesome and shocking ways.
Growing up in Denver, I never heard a word about Sand Creek. If I had, I probably would have been told it was a justifiable battle. That’s the way it’s listed on the war monument outside the State Capitol building downtown. I didn’t find out the truth until I became an adult, and a writer, interested in learning more about the place I came from. When I first read about Sand Creek, I was horrified. But I was also outraged at how the truth had become so distorted and forgotten in the historical record.
I decided to write about Sand Creek . . .read more