123 years ago, on December 28,1890, Chief Spotted Elk was deathly sick with pneumonia.. His band of Lakota set off in the snow from Cheyenne River to seek shelter with Red Cloud at Pine Ridge reservation. Big Foot’s band was intercepted by Major Samuel Whitside and a battalion of the Seventh Cavalry and escorted five miles to Wounded Knee Creek.
That evening, Colonel James Forsyth arrived to take command and ordered his guards to place four rapid-fire Hotchkiss guns(cannon) in position under cover of darkness around the camp. The soldiers numbered around 500—the Indians, 350.- all but 120 were women and children. The soldiers had orders to escort them to the railroad for transport to Omaha, and to disarm them before proceeding.
A shot was fired at the end of the disarmament. One soldier claimed that the medicine man’s Ghost Dancing & throwing dust into the air caused the attack, while others blamed a deaf Lakota, Black Coyote. As the cannons began firing into the camp, many of the unarmed men, women and children ran for cover in a ravine only to be cut down in a brutal cross fire.
At the end, 300 Sioux lay dead. Official reports listed the number killed at 90 warriors and 210 women and children. Army losses numbered 25 dead and 39 wounded, mostly by their own troops. Forsyth was later charged with The Killing of Innocents, but was exonerated and promoted. 22 of the soldiers that day were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
“I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes young. I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. My people’s dream died there. It was a beautiful dream… the nation’s hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead.” -Black Elk (1863-1950); Oglala Holy man
I think the Ghost dance should be revived 🙂 Though the United states has declared it an act of war. In the 21st century it should be considered under freedom of religion. So much hatred in the hearts of the white men back then. Men kill what it fears. Let them fear us. I say. Then we get under their skin 🙂 Greed and power is evilness prevaiding this whole world. Man will not be happy till the Earth is dead and her people. But my feeling is Mother Earth is a living being with a Great Spirit and she is going to shake us off like fleas on a dog. For the sins of men Aho my friend 🙂
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Excellent post. Short, concise and factual. Have you ever been to http://sachemspeaks.wordpress.com
he has some wonderful Native-American knowledge.
A very sad time in our country’s history. Let us not forget the sins of the past lest they be repeated in the future. We would be wise to adopt the Native American’s respect for Mother Earth before we so destroy it for future generations. It has to be said here that when man wars against man, there will be battles. However, this was not a battle, but a slaughter mostly of innocence.
Anyone interested in this topic should read both ‘Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee’ and ‘Black Elk Speaks’……These books are some of the most powerful literature out there on the subject.And let us not forget that these horrors are still happening everyday around the globe….We should all hold a ghost dance in our hearts everyday.