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Wounded Knee Essay

745 words - 3 pages

Wounded Knee

Wounded Knee was a terrible event in US history. It showed how the US government didn't understand the Native Americans and treated them badly and unfairly.

Big Foot was the chief of a subtribe of the Lakota called Miniconjou. He was very old and had pneumonia. He was taking his tribe to the Pine Ridge Reservation in south-western South Dakota.

Most of the women and children in Big Foot's tribe were family members of the warriors who had died in the Plains wars. The Indians had agreed to live on small reservations after the US government took away their land. At the Wounded Knee camp, there were 120 men and 230 women and children. At the camp, they were guarded by the US Seventh Cavalry lead by Major Samuel Whitside. During the year 1890 a new dance called the Ghost Dance started among the Sioux and other tribes. The Sioux's Christ figure, Wovoka, was said to have flown over Sitting Bull and Short Bull and taught them the dance and the ...view middle of the document...

Whitside took Bigfoot on his wagon because it was more comfortable and warmer, and Big Foot was sick. Whitside had orders to take the Indians to a military prison in Omaha the next day, but it never happened. That night Colonel James W. Forsyth took over. The Cavalry provided the Indians with tents that night because it was cold and there was a blizzard coming. The next day, December 29, 1890, the Cavalry gave the Indians hardtack for breakfast. There was a seize of arms and the soldiers took all the Indian's guns away. A medicine man named Yellow Bird told the Indians to resist the soldiers and not give up the guns, he did a few steps of the Ghost Dance. The Sioux gave up all their guns but two. One belonged to a deaf Indian named Black Coyote. He said he had just paid a great deal of money for his new rifle and didn't want to give it up. The soldiers grabbed it from him and it discharged in the air, then other soldiers started firing at all the Indians. The Cavalry had four Hotchkiss guns, which looked kind of like cannons and could shoot two pounds of explosive shells at a rate of 50 per minute. The Indians tried to run away and not get shot, they weren't doing anything wrong and had been cooperating very well, but the soldiers kept shooting. The Indians tried to run into a ravine and some dropped dead or others were wounded and fell to the ground and couldn't get up. Most of the wounded ones died in that ravine. The results of the short battle were that 25 soldiers were killed, almost all of them from their own crossfire. 153 Sioux died on the spot, and more died in the ravine later on. The final death toll for the Indians was about 350, that's almost all of them that were there in the first place. All the dead bodies, including Big Foot, who was shot near the beginning of the battle, were put into a huge mass grave. There was a holy man named Black Elk from another tribe who saw all the dead and wounded Indians in the ravine and the field. He was one of the only Native American witnesses of the massacre. Wounded Knee was one of the worst things between the US government and any other group of people in the United States ever. It would be terrible if anything like that ever happened again.

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