Wounded Knee Massacre
Date: December 29,1890.
Opponents: Colonel James W. Forsyth, Major Samuel M. Whitside, and the 7th U.S. Cavalry
Chief Sitting Bull and the Lakota Sioux.
Place: Wounded Knee Creek, Pine Ridge Lakota Indian Reservation, South Dakota.
Factors: * The Sioux were inspired by a prophet called Wokova. His Ghost Dance Religion promised a return to the old days, and claimed that special, painted shirts could repel bullets.
* Spread of this new “Messiah Craze” alarmed the white leaders, who feared a massive uprising and break-out from the reservation.
* The 7th Cavalry was sent in to disarm the warriors and prevent a potential rebellion.
* There are differing accounts of what happened next, but many claim that a deaf tribesman – Black Coyote – refused to surrender his rifle and a scuffle broke out.
* The army surrounded the village and opened fire, indiscriminately shooting men, women, elders, and children.
* Chief Sitting Bull was one of the first fatalities.
Results: * This was a massacre of such epic proportions that it decimated the Sioux, and effectively ended the Indian Wars.
* 39 army soldiers were injured and 25 died, some from “friendly fire.”
* 150 Lakota Sioux perished. 51 were wounded.
* The Holy Man – Black Elk – who survived the attack claimed, “A people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream.”
Brown, Dee. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. New York: Henry Holt, 1970.
McGregor, James H. The Wounded Knee Massacre: From the Viewpoint of the Sioux. South Dakota: Fenske Media, 1940.
Mooney, James. The Ghost-Dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1991.
Neihardt, John G. Black Elk Speaks. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1993.
Wikipedia, “Wounded Knee Massacre,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wounded_Knee_Massacre