Wounded Knee Massacre
The Wounded Knee Massacre was a brief fight between the Native American Lakota people and the US Army. It took place at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota on December 29, 1890. About 300 Lakota and 25 soldiers were killed. The Lakota were part of the Sioux nation. The army had been sent into the area to take the guns owned by the Lakota.
Ghost Dance[change | change source]
During the 1890's, a Native American shaman, named Wovoka, began teaching people about his visions for the future. He said the living would join with the dead, and the prairies would be covered in new soil. This would bury the European settlers, and life would return to the way it had been with lots of bison and other animals to hunt. To make this happen, he told people they would have to perform the Ghost Dance. The dancers wore brightly colored shirts with pictures of bison and eagles. They believed the shirts had magic powers which would protect them from bullets. The Ghost Dance caused a lot of excitement in the Sioux camps. European settlers were worried by these beliefs and the sight of wild and crazy people dancing in the snow. They demanded protection from the army.
Massacre[change | change source]
The army was sent in to the Native American camps to arrest the leaders and take away their weapons until things settled down. Chief Sitting Bull was killed when the army tried to arrest him at Standing Rock Reservation of December 15, 1890. The army then went to arrest Chief Big Foot. On December 28, the army found Chief Big Foot, who was leading his people south to the Pine Ridge Reservation, near the Wounded Knee Creek. The next morning Chief Big Foot met with Colonel Forsyth.
During the meeting a shot was fired, and very quickly both groups began shooting at each other. The army had Hotchkiss cannons which fired into the tepees. Many women and children were caught in the gunfire. When the shooting stopped over 300 people had been killed.