Over the years, various individuals and group have made efforts to memorialize the death of General E.R.S. Canby, the only general to be killed in an Indian War. This wooden cross is a replica of an original erected by a U.S. soldier in 1882, just nine years after the event. Some of the very same troops Canby had commanded here in the lava beds were still fighting other Indian Wars, and public interest and emotion about such conflicts ran high.
Although the inscription on the cross may elicit strong emotions in some modern visitors, it illuminates the point that other people see events through the lens of their own culture and time. In 1873, what some Modocs considered a justifiable war tactic, the U.S. Arms considered murder. No monument commemorates the places where Modocs may have felt their attempts to live peaceably were betrayed.
More than any other Modoc War site, Canby Cross represents the vast gulf between the predictions of the two sides during wartime, and challenges us to look beyond history to the assumption of our own cultures. As in all wars, there were no innocent parties in this conflict.