Robert Bent (c.1840 - d.)

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Death: (Date and location unknown)
Managed by: Doug Robinson
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About Robert Bent

Robert Bent was the mixed-race son of the fur trader William Bent, the founder of the trading post named Bent's Fort; and Owl Woman, a Cheyenne.

On November 28, 1864, Colonel John Chivington and a volunteer army captured Robert Bent. They forced him to guide the soldiers to the Cheyenne campsite on the reservation. The US forces killed and mutilated an estimated 70–163 Cheyenne Indians, about two-thirds of whom were women and children, in the Sand Creek Massacre. Robert's siblings, Charles, Julie and George Bent were all inside Black Kettle's village when Chivington and his forces arrived.

George Bent recalled that day:

In the camps... all was confusion and noise — men, women, and children rushing out of the lodges partly dressed; women and children screaming at the sight of the troops; men running back into the lodges for their arms.... Black Kettle had a large American flag tied to the end of a long lodgepole and... kept calling out not to be frightened; that the camp was under protection and there was no danger... White Antelope, when he saw the soldiers shooting into the lodges, made up his mind not to live any longer.... He stood in front of his lodge with his arms folded across his breast, singing the death-song: "Nothing lives long," he sang, "only the earth and the mountains."

Robert Bent said:

"After the firing, the warriors put the squaws and children together, and surrounded them to protect them. I saw five squaws under a bank for shelter. When the troops came up to them they ran out and showed their persons to let the soldiers know they were squaws and begged for mercy, but the soldiers shot them all."

All of the Bent children survived the massacre. Robert Bent testified in court against Chivington, who had forced him to guide the soldiers to the Cheyenne village. His brothers Charles and George Bent joined the Cheyenne's fierce Dog Soldiers.

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