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WOUNDED KNEE BATTLEFIELD


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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:

 

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The cemetery where the monument stands

 

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" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
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The monument:

 

post-203-0-29181300-1514559965.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.

 

" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

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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.

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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.org/wiki/Battle_of_Sugar_Point

 

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

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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.barnesandnoble.com/w/bury-my-heart-at-wounded-knee-dee-brown/1100757038#/

 

 

“What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so.”   Mark Twain

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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.

" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

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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"?

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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.

" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

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