Cross Talk A bad translator may have led to a massacre.

Grattan Massacre
Grattan Massacre marker.

Auguste Lucien was a bad choice as translator when U.S. troops confronted Sioux leaders in August 1854. He was drunk, didn’t speak Sioux languages very well, and the Indians believed he didn’t like them.  Still, he was a key figure when Lt. John Lawrence Grattan demanded that one of the Sioux be arrested for allegedly stealing a cow from Mormon travelers. The Indians offered to pay, but that wasn’t good enough.  Grattan’s troops opened fire, and 1200 warriors responded—wiping out the U.S. force in what’s come to be known as the Grattan Massacre.

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