Lava Bed National Monument
This medicine pole, also called a medicine flag, was placed at what is called the Captain Jack Stronghold. This pole was placed by the local Klamath Indians to commemorate what the Modoc Indians did to fend off the US Cavalry many years ago.
This is the northernmost edge of what is known as the Captain Jack Stronghold. Named after the fearless Modoc leader of the same name, this site remains important to Native Americans. Tule Lake was once much bigger. The southern shore touched where the sign in the foreground is and water covered the landscape north and east as far as the distant dark hills. Most of the recovered land is now either part of Lava Bed National Monument, The Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge or privately farmed.
To give you some understanding of the difficulty that the cavalry had in attempting to oust Captain Jack, this natural trench line was one of many that crisscrossed this patch of hostile lava. This natural fort was good enough, that at first, just 51 Modocs repelled over 300 army & militia soldiers.
This is what is left of a small fort that was garrisoned by troops lead by Major General Edward Canby. Their job was to attempt to corral rebellious Modoc tribal members, including Captain Jack, and put them back on a nearby reservation. For his effort, the general was killed by Captain Jack. This came after an illustrious career established in part by Canby's actions during the Civil War.
Not in many public places can you find a cross without a lawyer attached. This monument is on the Lava Beds National Monument and the inscription is almost as notable as finding a cross on Federal land. It says, "Gen. Canby, USA, was murdered here by the Modocs April 11, 1873". A medicine pole and a cross give testimony to two people who served their respective nations without fear. War is like that, isn't it. Sometimes with great meaning, sometimes meaningless.