Column: Lessons from Indian prisoners of war
"The ghosts of 1875 are all around.

Beginning that year and continuing off and on into the 1880s, American Indians suspected of terrorizing white settlers pushing West were confined in a prison here not unlike the one at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The country struggled to define the Indians' legal status. Were they criminals, prisoners of war, or agitators who needed to be confined to stop them from attacking again?

Sound familiar?

It must be stated clearly: There are vast moral differences between Native Americans fighting for ancestral homes and Islamic fundamentalist terrorists bent on mass murder of Americans in their homes and cities.

But British statesman Edmund Burke's famous admonition, "Those that don't know history are destined to repeat it," seemed especially poignant during my tour this month of Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, one of the oldest European colonial forts in North America.

From 1875-1878, this facility – by then known as Fort Marion– became a prison camp for 72 Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche, Caddo and Arapaho leaders and their families. In the 1880s, hundreds of Apaches were confined here.

Some early captives had survived the Sand Creek massacre in Colorado in 1864, a military attack on a Cheyenne and Arapaho encampment in which more than 400 died."

Get the Story:
Chuck Raasch: Indian prison has lessons for modern Guantanamo (USA Today 9/25)