I think it is important to remember the damage that human beings have done to other human beings so we can work to change that, to know that peace does require work and attention. It doesn't just happen.
If you haven't read Black Elk Speaks, it is a wonderful book. It is a painfully tragic look at a piece of our history, one that must now be changed as we deal with people and the distribution of and sharing of land today.
This comes from Writer's Almanac:
Today is the anniversary of the massacre at Wounded Knee, which took place in South Dakota in 1891. Twenty-two years earlier, the local tribes had signed a treaty with the United States government that guaranteed them the rights to the land around the Black Hills, which was sacred land.
But in the 1870s, gold was discovered in the Black Hills, and the treaty was broken. People from the Sioux tribe were forced onto a reservation, with a promise of more food and supplies, which never came. Then in 1889, a prophet named Wovoka, from the Paiute tribe in Nevada, had a vision of a ceremony that would renew the earth, return the buffalo, and cause the white men to disappear. This ceremony was called the Ghost Dance. The Ghost Dance scared the white Indian Agents, and they moved in to arrest Chief Sitting Bull, who was killed in the attempt.
The next leader they focused on was Sitting Bull's half-brother, Chief Big Foot. He was leading his people to the Pine Ridge reservation, seeking safety there. But it was winter, 40 degrees below zero, and he contracted pneumonia.
Big Foot was sick, he was flying a white flag, and he was one of the leaders who had actually renounced the Ghost Dance. But the Army didn't make distinctions. They intercepted Big Foot's band and ordered them into the camp on the banks of the Wounded Knee Creek.
The next morning, federal soldiers began confiscating their weapons, and a scuffle broke out between a soldier and an Indian. The federal soldiers opened fire, killing almost 300 men, women, and children, including Big Foot.
One of the survivors was the famous medicine man Black Elk, who told his story to John Neihardt in Black Elk Speaks (1932).