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WOUNDED KNEE BATTLEFIELD


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#1 BEAST

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 07:05 AM

On December 29th, 1890 the last major conflict of the Indian Wars took place at Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  A large group of Sioux were gathering at Wounded Knee to take part in the Ghost Dance.  The U.S. Army was sent in to disarm the natives when a shot was fired.  The ensuing fight resulted in at least 150 men, women, and children of the Lakota Sioux  killed and 51 wounded (4 men, 47 women and children, some of whom died later); some estimates placed the number of dead at 300. Twenty-five troopers also died, and 39 were wounded (6 of the wounded would later die). (Sidenote: this thumbnail description does not do justice to the complexities of the events leading up to the fight.)

 

In 1903, a monument was constructed  by Joseph Horn Cloud on the Pine Ridge Reservation overlooking the battlefield. Last summer, while in South Dakota, we visited the site.  These photos show the cemetery where the monument stands and a look at the battlefield.

 

The battlefield as seen from the cemetery:

 

BATTLEFIELD.jpg

 

 

The cemetery where the monument stands

 

CEMETARY.jpg

 

 



#2 BEAST

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 07:07 AM

The monument:

 

MONUMENT.jpg

 

The inscription on the monument reads:

 

This monument is erected by
 
surviving relatives and other
 
Ogallala and Cheyenne River Sioux
 
Indians in memory of the
 
Chief Big Foot Massacre
 
December 29, 1890
 
Col. Forsyth in command
 
U.S. troops
 
Big foot was a great chief of the
 
Sioux Indians. He often said, I will
 
stand in peace till my last day
 
comes. He did many good and brave
 
deeds for the white man and the
 
red man. Many innocent women and
 
children who knew no wrong
 
died here.

 



#3 MWalsh

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 08:07 AM

Beast, thanks for posting this. I was not too far from there a couple years ago and wondered about the site. 

 

It appears then, that it is accessible to the public? That was my biggest wonder about it, that and if people from outside the reservation were even welcome to go there.    



#4 MWalsh

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 08:12 AM

As a related aside to those not familiar with it, there was an even later "battle" - in 1898 between the Army and Native Americans, at Leech Lake in Minnesota. Not sure what is there to commemorate it, if anything. 1898 seems like such a late period for fighting between the Army and Native Americans. A Medal of Honor was awarded for actions during Sugar Point.

 

  https://en.wikipedia..._of_Sugar_Point

 

Beast, I would love to see more pics of Wounded Knee if you have them. Thanks! 


Edited by MWalsh, 29 December 2017 - 08:12 AM.


#5 aerialbridge

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 08:18 AM

Thanks for remembering that anniversary, Beast.   

 

My perspective on that aspect of American History was defined 45 years ago when I read this paperback-

 

https://www.barnesan...wn/1100757038#/

 

 



#6 manayunkman

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 08:45 AM

I read BMHAWN in High School back in the early 70s.

 

It was my wake up call.



#7 BEAST

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Posted 29 December 2017 - 11:03 AM

Beast, thanks for posting this. I was not too far from there a couple years ago and wondered about the site. 

 

It appears then, that it is accessible to the public? That was my biggest wonder about it, that and if people from outside the reservation were even welcome to go there.    

 

 

MWalsh,  Yes, the site is accessible to the public. However, if you do go to the cemetery, there are usually one or two Lakota there.  They will explain the site to you, but will expect to be paid.  When we were there, they wanted a donation of about $20 each.  Also they may have someone there who will try to sell you dream catchers or other items. 

 

Even with their casinos, the Pine Ridge Reservation is one of the poorest in the country.  According to one statistic that I have read, their average per capita income is $4,000 a year.



#8 dhcoleterracina

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Posted 30 December 2017 - 01:49 PM

I would love to visit this site, thanks for this post.

 

Regarding BMHAWN.... remember that it was written solely from the Indian perspective, by a non-historian in the 1970's. From my recollection of reading this book, I believe that they claim that any soldiers death was due to friendly fire. The shooting started when the Army went to disarm the Indians who didn't wish to be disarmed. I don't want to start a big argument but I believe that there is much more to the story. It's not PC to doubt but I would love to learn the details from an unbiased review. While this particular battle is well known by the public generally,  how many of that same public had ever heard of the "Minnesota Massacre"?  



#9 BEAST

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 01:08 PM

One interesting note, the first photo that I posted showing the battlefield was taken from the burial hill where the monument stands.  Something that I didn't know at the time was that during the battle, this was the position of the artillery. From the National Park Service:
 
"Burial hill was the location of the Army's artillery during the massacre and then of the mass grave of many of
the Minneconjou fatalities. While many Minneconjous died in the dry ravine,others were able to make their escape through this route. Wounded Knee Creek gave the site its name and also formed a natural eastern boundary for the events that occurred.


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