Wounded Knee Massacre

The Wounded Knee Massacre (also called the Battle of Wounded Knee) was a domestic massacre of several hundred Lakota Indians, mostly women and children, by soldiers of the United States Army. It occurred on December 29, 1890,[5] near Wounded Knee Creek (Lakota: Čhaŋkpé Ópi Wakpála) on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the U.S. state of South Dakota, following a botched attempt to disarm the Lakota camp.

The previous day, a detachment of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment commanded by Major Samuel M. Whitside intercepted Spotted Elk's band of Miniconjou Lakota and 38 Hunkpapa Lakota near Porcupine Butte and escorted them 5 miles (8.0 km) westward to Wounded Knee Creek, where they made camp. The remainder of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, led by Colonel James W. Forsyth, arrived and surrounded the encampment. The regiment was supported by a battery of four Hotchkiss mountain guns.[6]

On the morning of December 29, the U.S. Cavalry troops went into the camp to disarm the Lakota. One version of events claims that during the process of disarming the Lakota, a deaf tribesman named Black Coyote was reluctant to give up his rifle, claiming he had paid a lot for it.[7] Simultaneously, an old man was performing a ritual called the Ghost Dance. Black Coyote's rifle went off at that point, and the U.S. army began shooting at the Native Americans. The Lakota warriors fought back, but many had already been stripped of their guns and disarmed.[8]

By the time the massacre was over, between 250 and 300 men, women, and children of the Lakota had been killed and 51 were wounded (4 men and 47 women and children, some of whom died later); some estimates placed the number of dead at 300.[3] Twenty-five soldiers also died, and thirty-nine were wounded (six of the wounded later died).[9] Twenty soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor.[10] In 2001, the National Congress of American Indians passed two resolutions condemning the military awards and called on the U.S. government to rescind them.[11]

The Wounded Knee Battlefield, site of the massacre, has been designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior.[5] In 1990, both houses of the U.S. Congress passed a resolution on the historical centennial formally expressing "deep regret" for the massacre.[12]

Wounded Knee Massacre
Part of the Ghost Dance War and the Sioux Wars
U.S. Soldiers putting Lakota corpses in common grave

Mass grave for the murdered Lakota after the massacre
DateDecember 29, 1890
Result (See the Fight and ensuing massacre section)
 United States Miniconjou Lakota
Hunkpapa Lakota
Commanders and leaders
James W. Forsyth Spotted Elk
490 effectives:
7th U.S. Cavalry:
438 troopers[1]
22 artillerymen with four 1.65–inch guns
30 Oglala Indian scouts
120 men[2]
Casualties and losses
25 killed,
39 wounded (6 fatally)

250–300 killed:
90 men killed
200 women and children killed[3][4]
51 wounded (7 fatally)

Native American losses include civilian casualties
The largest domestic massacre in U.S history.


Ghost dance
The Ghost Dance as depicted

In the years leading up to the conflict, the U.S. government had continued to seize Lakota lands. The once-large bison herds, a staple of the Great Plains indigenous peoples, had been hunted to near-extinction by European settlers. Treaty promises[13] to protect reservation lands from encroachment by settlers and gold miners were not implemented as agreed. As a result, there was unrest on the reservations.[14] During this time, news spread among the reservations of a Paiute prophet named Wovoka, founder of the Ghost Dance religion. He had a vision that the Christian Messiah, Jesus Christ, had returned to Earth in the form of a Native American.[15]

According to Wovoka,They all died and was eaten by a wolf. During this time, the white invaders would disappear from Native lands, the ancestors would lead them to good hunting grounds, the buffalo herds and all the other animals would return in abundance, and the ghosts of their ancestors would return to Earth—hence the word ghost in "Ghost Dance".[3] They would then return to earth to live in peace. All this would be brought about by performance of the slow and solemn Ghost Dance, performed as a shuffle in silence to a slow, single drumbeat. Lakota ambassadors to Wovoka, Kicking Bear and Short Bull taught the Lakota that while performing the Ghost Dance, they would wear special Ghost Dance shirts as seen by Black Elk in a vision. Kicking Bear said the shirts had the power to repel bullets.[15]

U.S. settlers were alarmed by the sight of the many Great Basin and Plains tribes performing the Ghost Dance, worried that it might be a prelude to armed attack. Among them was the U.S. Indian agent at the Standing Rock Agency where Chief Sitting Bull lived. U.S. officials decided to take some of the chiefs into custody in order to quell what they called the "Messiah craze". The military first hoped to have Buffalo Bill—a friend of Sitting Bull—aid in the plan, to reduce the chance of violence. Standing Rock agent James McLaughlin overrode the military and sent the Indian police to arrest Sitting Bull.

On December 15, 1890, 40 Native American policemen arrived at Sitting Bull's house to arrest him. When Sitting Bull refused to comply, the police used force on him. The Sioux in the village were enraged. Catch-the-Bear, a Lakota, shouldered his rifle and shot Lt. Bullhead, who reacted by firing his revolver into the chest of Sitting Bull. Another police officer, Red Tomahawk, shot Sitting Bull in the head, and he dropped to the ground. He died between 12 and 1 p.m. After Sitting Bull's death, 200 members of his Hunkpapa band, fearful of reprisals, fled Standing Rock to join Chief Spotted Elk (later known as "Big Foot") and his Miniconjou band at the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.

Spotted Elk and his band, along with 38 Hunkpapa, left the Cheyenne River Reservation on December 23 to journey to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to seek shelter with Red Cloud.[16]

Former Pine Ridge Indian agent Valentine T. McGillycuddy was asked his opinion of the "hostilities" surrounding the Ghost Dance movement, by General Leonard Wright Colby, commander of the Nebraska National Guard (portion of letter dated January 15, 1891):[17]

"As for the 'Ghost Dance' too much attention has been paid to it. It was only the symptom or surface indication of a deep rooted, long existing difficulty; as well treat the eruption of small pox as the disease and ignore the constitutional disease."

"As regards disarming the Sioux, however desirable it may appear, I consider it neither advisable, nor practicable. I fear it will result as the theoretical enforcement of prohibition in Kansas, Iowa and Dakota; you will succeed in disarming and keeping disarmed the friendly Indians because you can, and you will not succeed with the mob element because you cannot."

"If I were again to be an Indian agent, and had my choice, I would take charge of 10,000 armed Sioux in preference to a like number of disarmed ones; and furthermore agree to handle that number, or the whole Sioux nation, without a white soldier. Respectfully, etc., V.T. McGillycuddy.

"P.S. I neglected to state that up to date there has been neither a Sioux outbreak or war. No citizen in Nebraska or Dakota has been killed, molested or can show the scratch of a pin, and no property has been destroyed off the reservation."[18]

Fight and ensuing massacre

Miniconjou, Lakota Sioux Chief Spotted Elk lies dead after the massacre of Wounded Knee, 1890

After being called to the Pine Ridge Agency, Spotted Elk of the Miniconjou Lakota nation and 350 of his followers were making the slow trip to the agency on December 28, 1890, when they were met by a 7th Cavalry detachment under Major Samuel M. Whitside southwest of Porcupine Butte. John Shangreau, a scout and interpreter who was half Sioux, advised the troopers not to disarm the Indians immediately, as it would lead to violence. The troopers escorted the Native Americans about five miles westward (8 km) to Wounded Knee Creek where they told them to make camp. Later that evening, Colonel James W. Forsyth and the rest of the 7th Cavalry arrived, bringing the number of troopers at Wounded Knee to 500.[20] In contrast, there were 350 Lakota: 230 men and 120 women and children.[7] The troopers surrounded Spotted Elk's encampment and set up four rapid-fire Hotchkiss-designed M1875 mountain guns.[21]

At daybreak on December 29, 1890, Forsyth ordered the surrender of weapons and the immediate removal of the Lakota from the "zone of military operations" to awaiting trains. A search of the camp confiscated 38 rifles, and more rifles were taken as the soldiers searched the Indians. None of the old men were found to be armed. A medicine man named Yellow Bird allegedly harangued the young men who were becoming agitated by the search, and the tension spread to the soldiers.[22]

Specific details of what triggered the massacre are debated. According to some accounts, Yellow Bird began to perform the Ghost Dance, telling the Lakota that their "ghost shirts" were bulletproof. As tensions mounted, Black Coyote refused to give up his rifle; he spoke no English and was deaf, and had not understood the order. Another Indian said: "Black Coyote is deaf," and when the soldier persisted, he said, "Stop. He cannot hear your orders." At that moment, two soldiers seized Black Coyote from behind, and (allegedly) in the struggle, his rifle discharged. At the same moment, Yellow Bird threw some dust into the air, and approximately five young Lakota men with concealed weapons threw aside their blankets and fired their rifles at Troop K of the 7th. After this initial exchange, the firing became indiscriminate.[23]

Hotchkiss gun wounded knee
Soldiers pose with three of the four Hotchkiss-designed M1875 mountain guns used at Wounded Knee. The caption on the photograph reads: "Famous Battery 'E' of the 1st Artillery. These brave men and the Hotchkiss guns that Big Foot's Indians thought were toys, Together with the fighting 7th what's left of Gen. Custer's boys, Sent 200 Indians to that Heaven which the ghost dancer enjoys. This checked the Indian noise, and Gen. Miles with staff Returned to Illinois."

According to commanding General Nelson A. Miles, a "scuffle occurred between one deaf warrior who had [a] rifle in his hand and two soldiers. The rifle was discharged and a battle occurred, not only the warriors but the sick Chief Spotted Elk, and a large number of women and children who tried to escape by running and scattering over the prairie were hunted down and killed."[24]

At first all firing was at close range; half the Indian men were killed or wounded before they had a chance to get off any shots. Some of the Indians grabbed rifles from the piles of confiscated weapons and opened fire on the soldiers. With no cover, and with many of the Indians unarmed, this lasted a few minutes at most. While the Indian warriors and soldiers were shooting at close range, other soldiers used the Hotchkiss guns against the tipi camp full of women and children. It is believed that many of the soldiers were victims of friendly fire from their own Hotchkiss guns. The Indian women and children fled the camp, seeking shelter in a nearby ravine from the crossfire.[25] The officers had lost all control of their men. Some of the soldiers fanned out and finished off the wounded. Others leaped onto their horses and pursued the Natives (men, women, and children), in some cases for miles across the prairies. In less than an hour, at least 150 Lakota had been killed and 50 wounded. Historian Dee Brown, in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, mentions an estimate of 300[26] of the original 350 having been killed or wounded and that the soldiers loaded 51 survivors (4 men and 47 women and children) onto wagons and took them to the Pine Ridge Reservation.[27] Army casualties numbered 25 dead and 39 wounded.

Eyewitness accounts

Wounded Knee Survivors
Brothers, (left to right) White Lance, Joseph Horn Cloud, and Dewey Beard, Wounded Knee survivors; Miniconjou Lakota
Grabill - Survivors of Big Foots band
"What's left of Big Foot's band": John Grabill, 1891

"Suddenly, I heard a single shot from the direction of the troops. Then three or four. A few more. And immediately, a volley. At once came a general rattle of rifle firing then the Hotchkiss guns."[28]

"... then many Indians broke into the ravine; some ran up the ravine and to favorable positions for defense."[29]

  • Black Elk (1863–1950); medicine man, Oglala Lakota:

"I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, 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. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people's dream died there. It was a beautiful dream ... the nation's hope is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead."[30]

"There was a woman with an infant in her arms who was killed as she almost touched the flag of truce ... A mother was shot down with her infant; the child not knowing that its mother was dead was still nursing ... The women as they were fleeing with their babies were killed together, shot right through ... and after most all of them had been killed a cry was made that all those who were not killed or wounded should come forth and they would be safe. Little boys ... came out of their places of refuge, and as soon as they came in sight a number of soldiers surrounded them and butchered them there."[31]

"I know the men did not aim deliberately and they were greatly excited. I don't believe they saw their sights. They fired rapidly but it seemed to me only a few seconds till there was not a living thing before us; warriors, squaws, children, ponies, and dogs ... went down before that unaimed fire."[32] (Godfrey was a lieutenant in Captain Benteen's force during the Battle of the Little Bighorn.)[33]

"General Nelson A. Miles who visited the scene of carnage, following a three-day blizzard, estimated that around 300 snow shrouded forms were strewn over the countryside. He also discovered to his horror that helpless children and women with babies in their arms had been chased as far as two miles from the original scene of encounter and cut down without mercy by the troopers. ... Judging by the slaughter on the battlefield it was suggested that the soldiers simply went berserk. For who could explain such a merciless disregard for life? ... As I see it the battle was more or less a matter of spontaneous combustion, sparked by mutual distrust ..."[34]


View of canyon at Wounded Knee, dead horses and Lakota bodies are visible
Burial Party Wounded Knee
Civilian burial party, loading victims on a cart for burial

Following a three-day blizzard, the military hired civilians to bury the dead Lakota. The burial party found the deceased frozen; they were gathered up and placed in a mass grave on a hill overlooking the encampment from which some of the fire from the Hotchkiss guns originated. It was reported that four infants were found alive, wrapped in their deceased mothers' shawls. In all, 84 men, 44 women, and 18 children reportedly died on the field, while at least seven Lakota were mortally wounded.[35] Miles denounced Forsyth and relieved him of command. An exhaustive Army Court of Inquiry convened by Miles criticized Forsyth for his tactical dispositions but otherwise exonerated him of responsibility. The Court of Inquiry, however, was not conducted as a formal court-martial.

The Secretary of War concurred with the decision and reinstated Forsyth to command of the 7th Cavalry. Testimony had indicated that for the most part, troops attempted to avoid non-combatant casualties. Miles continued to criticize Forsyth, whom he believed had deliberately disobeyed his commands in order to destroy the Indians. Miles promoted the conclusion that Wounded Knee was a deliberate massacre rather than a tragedy caused by poor decisions, in an effort to destroy the career of Forsyth. This was later whitewashed and Forsyth was promoted to major general.[36]

The American public's reaction to the massacre at the time was generally favorable. Many non-Lakota living near the reservations interpreted the battle as the defeat of a murderous cult; others confused Ghost Dancers with Native Americans in general. In an editorial response to the event, the young newspaper editor L. Frank Baum, later the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, wrote in the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer on January 3, 1891:

The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extermination of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries, we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth. In this lies future safety for our settlers and the soldiers who are under incompetent commands. Otherwise, we may expect future years to be as full of trouble with the redskins as those have been in the past.[37]

Soon after the event, Dewey Beard, his brother Joseph Horn Cloud, and others formed the Wounded Knee Survivors Association, which came to include descendants. They sought compensation from the U.S. government for the many fatalities and injured. Today the association is independent and works to preserve and protect the historic site from exploitation, and to administer any memorial erected there. Papers of the association (1890–1973) and related materials are held by the University of South Dakota and are available for research.[38] It was not until the 1990s that a memorial to the Lakota was included in the National Historic Landmark.

More than 80 years after the massacre, beginning on February 27, 1973, Wounded Knee was the site of the Wounded Knee incident, a 71-day standoff between militants of the American Indian Movement—who had chosen the site for its symbolic value—and federal law enforcement officials.[39]

Stranded 9th Cavalry

The battalion of 9th Cavalry was scouting near the White River (Missouri River tributary) about 50 miles north of Indian agency at Pine Ridge when the Wounded Knee Massacre occurred, and rode south all night to reach the reservation. In the early morning of December 30, 1890, F, I, and K Troops reached the Pine Ridge agency, however, their supply wagon guarded by D Troop located behind them was attacked by 50 Sioux warriors near Cheyenne Creek (about 2 miles from the Indian agency). One soldier was immediately killed. The wagon train protected itself by circling the wagons. Corporal William Wilson volunteered to take a message to the agency at Pine Ridge to get help after the Indian scouts refused to go. Wilson took off through the wagon circle with Sioux in pursuit and his troops covering him. Wilson reached the agency and spread the alarm. The 9th Cavalry within the agency came to rescue the stranded troopers and the Sioux dispersed. For his actions, Corporal Wilson received the Medal of Honor.[40]

Drexel Mission Fight

Site of Drexel Mission Fight Pine Ridge Indian Reservation-1890
The 'Bloody Pocket', location of the Drexel Mission Fight

Historically, Wounded Knee is generally considered to be the end of the collective multi-century series of conflicts between colonial and U.S. forces and American Indians, known collectively as the Indian Wars. It was not however the last armed conflict between Native Americans and the United States.

The Drexel Mission Fight was an armed confrontation between Lakota warriors and the United States Army that took place on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on December 30, 1890, the day following Wounded Knee. The fight occurred on White Clay Creek approximately 15 miles north of Pine Ridge, where Lakota fleeing from the continued hostile situation surrounding the massacre at Wounded Knee had set up camp.

Company K of the 7th Cavalry—the unit involved at Wounded Knee—was sent to force the Lakotas to return to the areas they were assigned on their respective reservations. Some of the "hostiles" were Brulé Lakota from the Rosebud Indian Reservation. The 7th Cavalry was pinned down in a valley by the combined Lakota forces and had to be rescued by the 9th Cavalry, an African American regiment nicknamed the "Buffalo Soldiers".[41]

Among the Lakota warriors was a young Brulé from Rosebud named Plenty Horses, who had recently returned from five years at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania. A week after this fight, Plenty Horses shot and killed army lieutenant Edward W. Casey,[42] commandant of the Cheyenne Scouts (Troop L, 8th Cavalry). The testimony introduced at the trial of Plenty Horses and his subsequent acquittal also helped abrogate the legal culpability of the U.S. Army for the deaths at Wounded Knee.[43]

Winter guards

The 9th Cavalry were stationed on the Pine Ridge reservation through the rest of the winter of 1890–1891 until March 1891, lodging in their tents. By then, the 9th Cavalry was the only regiment on the reservation after being the first to arrive in November 1890.[40]

Medal of Honor controversy

For this 1890 offensive, the army awarded twenty Medals of Honor, its highest commendation. In the governmental Nebraska State Historical Society's summer 1994 quarterly journal, Jerry Green construes that pre-1916 Medals of Honor were awarded more liberally; however, "the number of medals does seem disproportionate when compared to those awarded for other battles." Quantifying, he compares the three awarded for the Battle of Bear Paw Mountain's five-day siege, to the twenty awarded for this short and one-sided action.[10]

Historian Will G. Robinson notes that, in contrast, only three Medals of Honor were awarded among the 64,000 South Dakotans who fought for four years of World War II.[44]

Native American activists have urged the medals be withdrawn, calling them "medals of dishonor". According to Lakota tribesman William Thunder Hawk, "The Medal of Honor is meant to reward soldiers who act heroically. But at Wounded Knee, they didn't show heroism; they showed cruelty." In 2001, the National Congress of American Indians passed two resolutions condemning the Medals of Honor awards and called on the U.S. government to rescind them.[11]

Some of the citations on the medals awarded to the troopers at Wounded Knee state that they went in pursuit of Lakota who were trying to escape or hide.[45] Another citation was for "conspicuous bravery in rounding up and bringing to the skirmish line a stampeded pack mule."[10]

Medal of Honor citations, Wounded Knee[46]
  • Sergeant William Austin, cavalry, directed fire at Indians in ravine at Wounded Knee;
  • Private Mosheim Feaster, cavalry, extraordinary gallantry at Wounded Knee;
  • Private Mathew Hamilton, cavalry, bravery in action at Wounded Knee;
  • Private Joshua Hartzog, artillery, rescuing commanding officer who was wounded and carried him out of range of hostile guns at Wounded Knee;
  • Private Marvin Hillock, cavalry, distinguished bravery at Wounded Knee;
  • Sergeant Bernhard Jetter, cavalry, distinguished bravery at Wounded Knee for "killing an Indian who was in the act of killing a wounded man of B Troop."
  • Sergeant George Loyd, cavalry, bravery, especially after having been severely wounded through the lung at Wounded Knee;
  • Sergeant Albert McMillain, cavalry, while engaged with Indians concealed in a ravine, he assisted the men on the skirmish line, directed their fire, encouraged them by example, and used every effort to dislodge the enemy at Wounded Knee;
  • Private Thomas Sullivan, cavalry, conspicuous bravery in action against Indians concealed in a ravine at Wounded Knee;
  • First Sergeant Jacob Trautman, cavalry, killed a hostile Indian at close quarters, and, although entitled to retirement from service, remained to close of the campaign at Wounded Knee;
  • Sergeant James Ward, cavalry, continued to fight after being severely wounded at Wounded Knee;
  • Corporal William Wilson, cavalry, bravery in Sioux Campaign, 1890;
  • Private Hermann Ziegner, cavalry, conspicuous bravery at Wounded Knee;
  • Musician John Clancy, artillery, twice voluntarily rescued wounded comrades under fire of the enemy;
  • Lieutenant Ernest Garlington, cavalry, distinguished gallantry;
  • First Lieutenant John Chowning Gresham, cavalry, voluntarily led a party into a ravine to dislodge Sioux Indians concealed therein. He was wounded during this action.
  • Second Lieutenant Harry Hawthorne, artillery, distinguished conduct in battle with hostile Indians;
  • Private George Hobday, cavalry, conspicuous and gallant conduct in battle;
  • First Sergeant Frederick Toy, cavalry, bravery;
  • Corporal Paul Weinert, artillery, taking the place of his commanding officer who had fallen severely wounded, he gallantly served his piece, after each fire advancing it to a better position


Monuments to Native American death

Wounded Knee 96
Wounded Knee hill, location of Hotchkiss guns during battle and subsequent mass grave of Native American dead

St. John's Episcopal Mission Church was built on the hill behind the mass grave in which the victims had been buried, some survivors having been nursed in the then-new Holy Cross Mission Church.[47] In 1903, descendants of those who died in the battle erected a monument at the gravesite. The memorial lists many of those who died at Wounded Knee along with an inscription that reads:

"This monument is erected by surviving relatives and other Ogalala and Cheyenne River Sioux Indians in memory of the Chief Big Foot massacre December 29, 1890. Col. Forsyth in command of US 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."[48]

The Wounded Knee Battlefield was declared a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1965 and was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

Beginning in 1986, the group named "Big Foot Memorial Riders" was formed where they will go to continue to honor the dead. The ceremony has attracted more participants each year and riders and their horses live with the cold weather, as well as the lack of food and water, as they retrace the path that their family members took to Wounded Knee. They carry with them a white flag to symbolize their hope for world peace, and to honor and remember the victims so that they will not be forgotten.[35]

Seventh Cavalry Regiment

When the 7th Cavalry Regiment returned to duty at Fort Riley from Pine Ridge, South Dakota, the soldiers of the regiment raised money for a monument for members of the regiment killed at Wounded Knee. About $1,950 was collected, and on July 25, 1893, the monument was dedicated with 5,500 people in attendance. Today, the stone edifice still stands near Waters Hall.[49]

Popular culture

Massacre or battle

The opening of the fight at Wounded Knee by Frederic Remington 1891
"The opening of the fight at Wounded Knee," engraved illustration by Frederic Remington. Appeared as an illustration in Harper's Weekly, 1891

The incident was initially referred to as the "Battle of Wounded Knee".[50] Some American Indian groups have objected to this description and refer to it as the "Wounded Knee Massacre". The location of the conflict is officially known as the "Wounded Knee Battlefield". The U.S. Army currently refers to it as "Wounded Knee".[51]

Bury my heart at Wounded Knee

In his 1931 poem "American Names", Stephen Vincent Benet coined the phrase "Bury my heart at Wounded Knee". The poem is about his love of American place names, not making reference to the "battle."[52] However, when the line was used as the title of historian Dee Brown's 1970 best-selling book, awareness was raised and Benet's phrase became popularly associated with the incident.

Since the publication of the book, the phrase "Bury my heart at Wounded Knee" has been used many times in reference to the battle, especially in music.

In 1972, Robbie Basho released the song "Wounded Knee Soliloquy" on the album, The Voice of the Eagle.

In 1973, Stuttgart, Germany's Gila released a krautrock/psychedelic folk album by the same name.

In 1992, Beverly (Buffy) Sainte-Marie released her song entitled "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee", on her Coincidence and Likely Stories album.

In other music

Artists who have written or recorded songs referring to the battle at Wounded Knee include: Walela "Wounded Knee" from their 1997 self-titled album. Nightwish ("Creek Mary's Blood" from their 2004 album "Once" featuring John Two-Hawks); Manowar ("Spirit Horse Of The Cherokee" from the 1992 album The Triumph Of Steel ); Grant Lee Buffalo ("Were You There?" from the album Storm Hymnal 2001); Johnny Cash (1972's "Big Foot," which is strongly sympathetic); Gordon Lightfoot ("Protocol" from his 1976 album Summertime Dream); The Indigo Girls (a 1995 cover of Sainte-Marie's song); Charlie Parr ("1890" on his 2010 album When the Devil Goes Blind); Nik Kershaw ("Wounded Knee" on his 1989 album The Works); Southern Death Cult ("Moya"); The Waterboys ("Bury My Heart"); Uriah Heep; Primus; Nahko and Medicine for the People; Patti Smith;[53] Robbie Robertson;[54] Five Iron Frenzy wrote the 2001 song "The Day We Killed" with mentions of Custard, Black Kettle, and quotes Black Elk's account from Black Elk Speaks on their album Five Iron Frenzy 2: Electric Boogaloo; Toad the Wet Sprocket; Marty Stuart; Bright Eyes; and "Pocahontas" by Neil Young. On Sam Roberts' 2006 Chemical City album, the song "The Bootleg Saint" contains line critical of Knee Massacre.[55] There is also a Welsh song called "Gwaed Ar Yr Eira Gwyn" by Tecwyn Ifan on this incident. The song "American Ghost Dance" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers makes extensive reference to the massacre as well.

In 1973, the American rock band Redbone, formed by Native Americans Patrick and Lolly Vasquez, released the song, "We Were All Wounded at Wounded Knee". The song ends with the subtly altered sentence, "We were all wounded by Wounded Knee."[56] The song reached the number-one chart position across Europe. In the U.S., the song was initially withheld from release and then banned by several radio stations. Richard Stepp's 2008 Native American Music Awards Native Heart nominated album, The Sacred Journey,[57] has "Wounded Knee" as its final track.

In film

The massacre has been referred to in films, including Thunderheart (1992), Legends of the Fall (1994), The Last Samurai (2003), Hidalgo (2004), and Hostiles (2017). The 2005 TNT mini-series Into the West included scenes of the massacre. In 2007, HBO Films released a film adaptation of the Dee Brown bestseller Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. The 2016 film Neither Wolf Nor Dog has its climax at the massacre site, and was filmed on location there[58].


In the 1996 DC comic book Saint of Killers, written by Garth Ennis, the main character becomes a surrogate Angel of Death, reaping souls whenever men kill other men violently. The story is set in the 1880s and, near the end of chapter 4, it is said that "four years later" he was called upon at Wounded Knee.

In the 2013 video game BioShock Infinite, several main characters are veterans of Wounded Knee.[59] The protagonist, Booker DeWitt, is haunted by his deeds during the battle and at one point confronts one of his (fictional) superiors from the event.[60]

Order of battle

James W. Forsyth
Colonel James W. Forsyth
Major Samuel Whitside
Winfield Scott Edgerly
Captain Winfield Scott Edgerly
Allyn K Capron Sr
Captain Allyn Capron, Sr.

7th U.S. Cavalry[61]
Col James W. Forsyth

  • Adjutant: 1st Lt. Lloyd S. McCormick
  • Quartermaster: 1st Lt. Ezra B. Fuller
  • Assistant Surgeon & Medical Director: Cpt. John Van Rennselaer Hoff
  • Assistant Surgeon: 1st Lt. James Denver Glennan

First Squadron
Maj Samuel Whitside

Adjutant: 1st Lt. W.J. Nicholson
Troop A: Cpt. Myles Moylan, 1st Lt. Ernest A. Garlington
Troop B: Cpt. Charles A. Varnum, 1st Lt. John C. Gresham
Troop I: Cpt. Henry J. Nowlan, 2nd Lt. John C. Waterman
Troop K: Cpt. George D. Wallace (k), 1st Lt. James D. Mann

Second Squadron
Cpt. Charles S. Isley

Adjutant: 1st Lt. W.W. Robinson II
Troop C: Cpt. Henry Jackson, 2nd Lt. T.Q. Donaldson
Troop D: Cpt. Edward S. Godfrey, 2nd Lt. S.R.J. Tompkins
Troop E: Cpt. Charles S. Isley, 1st Lt. Horatio G. Sickel, 2nd Lt. Sedgwick Rice
Troop G: Cpt. Winfield S. Edgerly, 1st Lt. Edwin P. Brewer

Battery E, 1st U.S. Artillery
Captain Allyn Capron

2nd Lt. Harry L. Hawthorne (2nd U.S. Artillery)
4 Hotchkiss Breech-Loading Mountain Rifles

Troop A, Indian Scouts

1st Lt. George W. Taylor (9th U.S. Cavalry)
2nd Lt. Guy H. Preston (9th U.S. Cavalry)



Wounded Knee mapa positive

Map of Wounded Knee

Big Foot's band of Miniconjou Sioux in costume at a dance

Miniconjou Lakota dance at Cheyenne River, South Dakota, August 9, 1890

Holy Cross Episcopal mission

Holy Cross Episcopal Mission, used as hospital for wounded Lakota

Wounded Knee photographer

Photographer taking pictures of campsite

Wounded Knee 1

Frozen corpse on field

Wounded Knee aftermath5

The scene three days afterwards, with several bodies partially wrapped in blankets in the foreground.


Buffalo Bill, Capt. Baldwin, Gen. Nelson A. Miles, Capt. Moss, and others, on horseback, on battlefield of Wounded Knee.


Reenactment of U.S. troops surrounding the Lakota at Wounded Knee (1913).

Wounded Knee

Wounded Knee, 1940


Wounded Knee grave, 2003

Portrait of General L. W. Colby of Nebraska State Troops Holding Baby Girl, Zintkala Nuni (Little Lost Bird), Found On Wounded Knee Battlefield, South Dakota, 1890 n.d

Gen. L. W. Colby holding Zintkala Nuni (Little Lost Bird), found on the Wounded Knee battlefield.

Eric Holder at Wounded Knee Memorial

US Attorney General Eric Holder laying a wreath at the site of the Wounded Knee Memorial

See also


  1. ^ Utley, p. 201.
  2. ^ Brown, p. 178, Brown states that at the army camp, "the Indians were carefully counted." Utley, p. 204, gives 120 men, 230 women and children; there is no indication how many were warriors, old men, or incapacitated sick like Foot.
  3. ^ a b c "Plains Humanities: Wounded Knee Massacre". Retrieved December 9, 2014. resulted in the deaths of more than 250, and possibly as many as 300, Native Americans.
  4. ^ Nelson A. Miles to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, March 13, 1917, "The official reports make the number killed 90 warriors and approximately 200 women and children."
  5. ^ a b "National Historic Landmarks Program: Wounded Knee". National Park Service. Retrieved January 10, 2008.
  6. ^ Liggett, Lorie (1998). "Wounded Knee Massacre – An Introduction". Bowling Green State University. Retrieved March 2, 2007.
  7. ^ a b Parsons, Randy. "The Wounded Knee Massacre – December 1890". Lastoftheindependents.com. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  8. ^ a b "PBS – The West – Like Grass Before the Sickle". www.pbs.org.
  9. ^ Wounded Knee & the Ghost Dance Tragedy by Jack Utter, p. 25 Publisher: National Woodlands Publishing Company; 1st edition (1991) Language: English ISBN 0-9628075-1-6
  10. ^ a b c Green, Jerry (1994). "The Medals of Wounded Knee" (PDF). Nebraska State Historical Society, also available in Nebraska History #75, pp. 200–208. Nebraska State Historical Society History. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 29, 2017. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Lakota~WOUNDED KNEE: A Campaign to Rescind Medals: story, pictures and information". Footnote.com. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  12. ^ AP (October 29, 1990). "Congress Adjourns – Century Afterward, Apology For Wounded Knee Massacre". Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (Sd); United States: NYTimes.com. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  13. ^ Hall, Kermit L (ed.), The Oxford Guide to the Supreme Court of the United States, Oxford Press, 1992; section: "Native Americans," p. 580 ISBN 0-19-505835-6
  14. ^ To this day, the Sioux have refused to accept compensation for the Black Hills land seized from them. A 1980 Supreme Court decision (United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians) ruled the taking was illegal and awarded compensation, increased by interest to $757 million, but not the return of the land which the Sioux sought. The Lakota have refused to take the money, demanding instead the return of the land.
  15. ^ a b "Wovoka." PBS: New Perspectives on the West. (retrieved August 6, 2010)
  16. ^ Viola, Herman J. Trail to Wounded Knee: The Last Stand of the Plains Indians 1860–1890. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 2003.
  17. ^ Annual report, Part 2 By Smithsonian Institution. Bureau of American Ethnology, John Wesley Powell, Matthew Williams, pp. 831–833 (1896)
  18. ^ The ghost-dance religion and the Sioux outbreak of 1890, by James Mooney, p. 833
  19. ^ United States Congress (1937). Hearings Before the Committee on Indian Affairs. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 28. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  20. ^ Russell, Major Samuel L., "Selfless Service: The Cavalry Career of Brigadier General Samuel M. Whitside from 1858 to 1902." MMAS Thesis, Fort Leavenworth: U.S. Command and General Staff College, 2002.
  21. ^ Axelrod, Alan. (1993) Chronicles of the Indian Wars: From Colonial Times to Wounded Knee. (p. 254).
  22. ^ Utley, p. 211.
  23. ^ Utley, Robert (1963). "The Last Days of the Sioux Nation". Yale University Press. Retrieved August 4, 2007.
  24. ^ Phillips, Charles. December 29, 1890. American History. December 2005 40(5) pp. 16–68.
  25. ^ Bateman, Robert (June 2008), "Wounded Knee", Military History, 24 (4): 62–67
  26. ^ Derived from Nelson Miles' report of some 300 snow covered forms during his inspection of the field three days later, Miles in a letter states: "The official reports make the number killed 90 warriors and approximately 200 women and children.".
  27. ^ Brown, pp. 179–180
  28. ^ Series Prologue "Wounded Knee Legacy & the Ancestors." 500 Nations, episode 1, The 500 Nations Encore Venture, 1994.
  29. ^ Eli Seavey Ricker, Voices of the American West: The Indian interviews of Eli S. Ricker, 1903–1919
  30. ^ Black Elk, John Gneisenau Neihardt (2008) [1961]. Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux. SUNY Press. p. 281.
  31. ^ "Lakota Accounts of the Massacre at Wounded Knee". pbs.org. 2000.
  32. ^ Edward S. Godfrey, "Cavalry Fire Discipline," Journal of the Military Service Institution of the United States 19 (1896): 259.
  33. ^ William S. E. Coleman, Voices of Wounded Knee, p. 278
  34. ^ Hugh McGinnis, "I Took Part In The Wounded Knee Massacre", Real West Magazine, January 1966; at Our Family History Website
  35. ^ a b Josephy, Jr., Alvin M., Trudy Thomas, and Jeanne Eder. Wounded Knee: Lest We Forget. Billings, Montana: Buffalo Bill Historical Center, 1990.
  36. ^ Ostler, Jeffrey. (2004) The Plains Sioux and U.S. Colonialism from Lewis and Clark to Wounded Knee. (p. 354).
  37. ^ Giago, Tim (Nanwica Kciji). "The Man Who Called for the Extermination of the Lakota", Notes from Indian Country © 2014 Native Sun News, at HuffPost. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  38. ^ "Wounded Knee Survivors Association, Papers (1890–1973)", Archives and Special Collections, University of South Dakota, accessed June 7, 2011
  39. ^ James Parsons, "AIM Indians with 'story to tell' made Wounded Knee the medium", Minneapolis Tribune, March 25, 1973. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  40. ^ a b Schubert, Frank N. (1997). Black Valor: Buffalo Soldiers and the Medal of Honor, 1870–1898. Scholarly Resources Inc. pp. 121–132. ISBN 978-0842025867.
  41. ^ Jeffrey Ostler: The Plains Sioux and U.S. colonialism from Lewis and Clark to Wounded Knee, pp. 357–358, Cambridge University Press (2004) ISBN 0-521-60590-3
  42. ^ Congressional edition By United States. Congress, p. 132. April 26, 2011. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  43. ^ Roger L. Di Silvestro: In the Shadow of Wounded Knee: The Untold Final Story of the Indian Wars, p. 198, Walker & Company (2007) ISBN 0-8027-1514-1
  44. ^ Doctor Sally Wagner Testifies At Wounded Knee Hearings Part Two.
  45. ^ "U.S. Army Indian Wars, Medal of Honor citations". History.army.mil. Retrieved August 17, 2011.
  46. ^ Hill, Richard (October 7, 1999). "Wounded Knee, A Wound That Won't Heal". First Nations issues of consequence. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  47. ^ "History of Holy Cross Church Pine Ridge, SD".
  48. ^ The Last days of the Sioux Nation, by Robert M. Utley, p. 5 Publisher: Yale University Press; 2 edition (July 11, 2004) Language: English ISBN 0-300-10316-6
  49. ^ Mackale, William and Robert Smith(2003) "Images of America: Fort Riley". Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  50. ^ Gathering the Dead at the Battle of Wounded Knee (Photograph Annotation)[1] Retrieved 29 May. 2014
  51. ^ Medal of Honor Recipients – Indian Wars [2] Retrieved May 6, 2014
  52. ^ Izzo, David Garrett; Konkle, Lincoln (2002). Stephen Vincent Benet: Essays on His Life and Work. McFarland. p. 120. ISBN 978-0786413645. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  53. ^ Patti Smith Group, "Ghost Dance". On Easter, Arista AB 4171, released 1978.
  54. ^ Robbie Robertson, "Ghost Dance", on Music for the Native Americans, Cema/Capitol 28295, 1994.
  55. ^ Sam Roberts. "Sam Roberts – The Bootleg Saint Lyrics MetroLyrics". MetroLyrics. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  56. ^ "We Were All Wounded at Wounded Knee", Redbone's unofficial discography site, with lyrics. Webpage found March 31, 2010.
  57. ^ "NAMA 10". NativeAmericanMusicAwards.com. Native American Music Awards. 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  58. ^ http://www.hocakworak.com/article.aspx?headline=%E2%80%98Neither+Wolf+Nor+Dog%E2%80%99+film+portrays+Native+American+real+life+struggles+. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  59. ^ Goldfarb, Andrew (December 21, 2012). "The Evolution of BioShock Infinite". IGN. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  60. ^ Miller, Matt (April 9, 2013). "Free Will And Hope In BioShock Infinite". Game Informer. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  61. ^ Utley p. 201
  • L. Frank Baum editorial that appeared in the Aberdeen (SD) Saturday Review on January 3, 1891, just five days after the massacre. The author wrote about those terrible "Redskins," his favorite word for Indians. He wrote, "The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extermination of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one or more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth."

Further reading

  • Andersson, Rani-Henrik. The Lakota Ghost Dance of 1890. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2009.ISBN 978-0-8032-1073-8.
  • Brown, Dee. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West, Owl Books (1970). ISBN 0-8050-6669-1.
  • Champlin, Tim. A Trail To Wounded Knee : A Western Story. Five Star (2001).
  • Coleman, William S.E. Voices of Wounded Knee, University of Nebraska Press (2000). ISBN 0-8032-1506-1.
  • Cozens, Peter. The Earth is Weeping: The Epic Story on the Indian wars for the American West, Atlantic Books (20160) ISBN 978-1-78649-151-0.
  • Greene, Jerome A. American Carnage: Wounded Knee, 1890. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014.
  • Smith, Rex Alan. Moon of Popping Trees. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press (1981). ISBN 0-8032-9120-5.
  • Utley, Robert M. Last Days of the Sioux Nation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press (1963).
  • Utley, Robert M. The Indian Frontier 1846–1890. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press (2003). ISBN 0-8263-2998-5.
  • Utley, Robert M. Frontier Regulars The United States Army and the Indian 1866–1891. New York: Macmillan Publishing (1973). ISBN 0-8032-9551-0.
  • Yenne, Bill. Indian Wars: The Campaign for the American West, Westholme (2005). ISBN 1-59416-016-3.

External links

Black Elk

Heȟáka Sápa (Black Elk) (December 1, 1863 – August 19, 1950) was a wičháša wakȟáŋ ("medicine man, holy man") and heyoka of the Oglala Lakota people. He was a second cousin of the war leader Crazy Horse.

Black Elk's first wife Katie converted to Roman Catholicism, and they had their three children baptized as Catholics. After Katie's death, in 1904 Black Elk, then in his 40s, converted to Catholicism. He also became a catechist, teaching others about Christianity. He married again and had more children with his second wife; they were also baptized and reared as Catholic. He said his children "had to live in this world." In August 2016, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rapid City opened an official cause for his beatification within the Roman Catholic Church.Black Elk is perhaps most well known for the books written about him by amateur ethnologist, John Neihardt, whom he met near the end of his life. Neihardt wrote about Black Elk's religious views, visions, and events from his life. Neihardt published his book Black Elk Speaks in 1932. The words of Black Elk have since been published in numerous editions, most recently in 2008. There has been great interest in his work among members of the American Indian Movement since the 1970s and by others who have wanted to learn more about Native American religions.

Charles Varnum

Charles Albert Varnum (June 21, 1849 – February 26, 1936) was a career United States Army officer. He was most noted as the commander of the scouts for George Armstrong Custer in the Little Bighorn Campaign (of which he was the last of the surviving officers to die of natural causes) during the Great Sioux War, as well as receiving the Medal of Honor for his actions in a conflict at Drexel Mission following the Wounded Knee Massacre.

Dewey Beard

Dewey Beard or Wasú Máza ("Iron Hail", 1858–1955) was a Minneconjou Lakota who fought in the Battle of Little Bighorn as a teenager. After George Armstrong Custer's defeat, Wasu Maza followed Sitting Bull into exile in Canada and then back to South Dakota where he lived on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation (in Dewey and Ziebach counties). Iron Hail is often mistaken by historians for Chief Iron Tail, being Lakota contemporaries with similar-sounding names. Most biographies incorrectly report that Chief Iron Tail fought in the Battle of the Little Bighorn and that his family was killed in 1890 at Wounded Knee, when in truth it was Iron Hail who suffered the loss.

Iron Hail joined the Ghost Dance movement and was in Spotted Elk's band along with his parents, siblings, wife and child. He and his family left the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation on December 23, 1890 with Spotted Elk and approximately 300 other Miniconjou and 38 Hunkpapa Lakota on a winter trek to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to avoid the perceived trouble which was anticipated in the wake of Sitting Bull's murder at Standing Rock Indian Reservation. He and his family were present at the Wounded Knee Massacre, where he was shot three times, twice in the back and some of his family, including his mother, father, wife and infant child were killed. He recounted his experiences in an in depth interview with Eli S. Ricker for a book Ricker planned to write.Dewey Beard changed his name from Iron Hail when he converted to Roman Catholicism. He was a member of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show for 15 years.

In the early 1940s Beard and his wife Alice were raising horses on their land on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. In 1942 the Department of War annexed 341,725 acres (138,291 ha) of the reservation for use as an aerial gunnery and bombing range. Beard's family was among the 125 Lakota families uprooted from their homes. They were compensated by the government for their land in installments which were too low to enable them to afford more property, and as a result they both moved into a poor section of Rapid City.

When he died in 1955 at the age of ninety six, Dewey Beard was the last known Lakota survivor of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, and the last known Lakota survivor of the Wounded Knee Massacre.

Ghost Dance

The Ghost Dance (Caddo: Nanissáanah, also called the Ghost Dance of 1890) was a new religious movement incorporated into numerous Native American belief systems. According to the teachings of the Northern Paiute spiritual leader Wovoka (renamed Jack Wilson), proper practice of the dance would reunite the living with spirits of the dead, bring the spirits to fight on their behalf, make the white colonists leave, and bring peace, prosperity, and unity to Native American peoples throughout the region.The basis for the Ghost Dance is the circle dance, a traditional dance done by many Native Americans. The Ghost Dance was first practiced by the Nevada Northern Paiute in 1889. The practice swept throughout much of the Western United States, quickly reaching areas of California and Oklahoma. As the Ghost Dance spread from its original source, different tribes synthesized selective aspects of the ritual with their own beliefs.

The Ghost Dance was associated with Wovoka's prophecy of an end to white expansion while preaching goals of clean living, an honest life, and cross-cultural cooperation by Indians. Practice of the Ghost Dance movement was believed to have contributed to Lakota resistance to assimilation under the Dawes Act. In the Wounded Knee Massacre in December 1890, United States Army forces killed at least 153 Miniconjou and Hunkpapa from the Lakota people. The Lakota variation on the Ghost Dance tended towards millenarianism, an innovation that distinguished the Lakota interpretation from Jack Wilson's original teachings. The Caddo still practice the Ghost Dance today.

Ghost Dance (novel)

Ghost Dance is John Norman's 1970 historical fiction novel wherein a Sioux man and his tradition comes in conflict with a white woman and her civilization as the Wounded Knee Massacre approaches. As with his Gor series, his main body of work, Norman displays both philosophical reaction and an affinity with incorporating historical events with the actions of fictional characters.

Ghost Dance War

The Ghost Dance War was an armed conflict in the United States between the Lakota Sioux and the United States government from 1890 until 1891. It involved the Wounded Knee Massacre wherein the 7th Cavalry massacred around 300 unarmed Lakota Sioux, primarily women, children, and elders, at Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890. The Ghost Dance War ended when Sioux leader Kicking Bear surrendered on January 15, 1891.

Ghost shirt

Ghost shirts are shirts or other clothing items created by Ghost dancers and thought to be imbued with spiritual powers.

Ghost shirts, sacred to certain factions of Lakota people, were thought to guard against bullets through spiritual power. Jack Wilson (known in Lakota circles as Wovoka) opposed rebellion against the white settlers. Wovoka believed that through pacificism, the Lakota and the rest of the Native Americans would be delivered from white oppression in the form of earthquakes. However, two Lakota warriors and followers of Wovoka, Kicking Bear and Short Bull, thought otherwise, and believed that Ghost shirts would protect the wearer enough to actively resist white oppression. The shirts did not work as promised, and when the U.S. Army attacked, 153 Lakota died, with 50 wounded and 150 missing at the Wounded Knee Massacre.

Anthropologist James Mooney argued that the most likely source of the belief that ghost shirts could repel bullets is the Mormon temple garment (which Mormons believe protect the pious wearer from evil, though not bullets). Scholars believe that in 1890 chief Kicking Bear introduced the concept to his people, the Lakota.In Kurt Vonnegut's novel Player Piano, a faction revolting against the rigidly hierarchical, mechanized United States of the future calls itself the Ghost Shirt Society. The founders claim that, like the militant Native Americans of the late 19th century, they are "mak[ing] one last fight for the old values".

Harry L. Hawthorne

Harry LeRoy Hawthorne (November 27, 1859 – April 10, 1948) was a Medal of Honor recipient.

Hawthorne was born in 1859 in Minnesota. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1882, but after two years chose to take his commission in the United States Army. He distinguished himself at was then called the Battle of Wounded Knee, but now commonly called the Wounded Knee Massacre receiving the Medal of Honor. He made the Army a career, attending the Army War College and retiring as a colonel in 1914, and was recalled to serve during World War I.

Hugh McGinnis

Hugh McGinnis (Castlewellan, Ireland; April 11, 1870 - March 22, 1965; Iron Mountain, Michigan) emigrated from Ireland to America in 1887, he lived in New York and St Louis, Missouri with his sister prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1890. He was a twenty-year-old private in Co. K, 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry during the Wounded Knee Massacre, where he was wounded twice.

When he died he was the last survivor of the 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee. McGinnis wrote an extensive account of his experiences at Wounded Knee which was published in Real West Magazine in January 1966:

The screams of mothers as machine gun bullets tore their bodies apart. The curses of the Indian warriors, fighting machine guns and cannons with old muskets, knives and tomahawks, being cut down in rows by demon-crazed white soldiers.

All this happened seventy-four years ago at Wounded Knee Creek where soldiers of the 7th cavalry massacred in cold blood Indian men, women and children. I am now ninety-four, the last surviving member of Troop K, 7th Cavalry. The seventy-four years have never completely erased the ghastly horror of that scene and I still awake at night from nightmarish dreams of that massacre. The news that I am the only surviving member of the 7th Cavalry at that massacre brings back many memories to me.

Jacob Smith

Jacob Smith may refer to:

Jacob Smith (Michigan Fur Trader), (born 1773), fur trader, American spy, and founder of Flint, Michigan

Jacob Smith (actor) (born 1999), Laurier University

Jacob Smith (politician) (1816–1891), ship's captain, Mayor and MHA in South Australia

Jacob H. Smith (1840–1918), U.S. Army general during the Philippine–American War in 1901, and a veteran of the Wounded Knee Massacre

Jacob W. Smith (1851–1926), businessman and political figure in Saskatchewan, Canada

Jacob Getlar Smith (1898–1958), painter and muralist

Jacob Smith (boxer), English boxer, participated in Boxing at the 1930 British Empire Games

Jacob Smith (field hockey), played for New Zealand men's national field hockey team

James W. Forsyth

James William Forsyth (August 8, 1834 – October 24, 1906) was a U.S. Army officer and general. He was primarily a Union staff officer during the American Civil War and cavalry regimental commander during the Indian Wars. Forsyth is best known for having commanded the 7th Cavalry at the Wounded Knee Massacre on December 29, 1890 during which more than 150 men, women, and children of the Lakota were killed and 51 were wounded.

James Ward (Medal of Honor, 1890)

James Ward (1854–1901) was a United States Army soldier in the American Indian Wars and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions at the Wounded Knee Massacre.

John Clancy (Medal of Honor)

John Clancy was an American soldier who served with the 1st Artillery Regiment. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery at the Battle of Wounded Knee, now called the Wounded Knee Massacre.

Lone Horn

Lone Horn (Lakota: Hewáŋžiča, or in historical spelling "Heh-won-ge-chat" or "Ha-wón-je-tah"), also called One Horn (1790 –1877), born in present-day South Dakota, was chief of the Wakpokinyan (Flies Along the Stream) band of the Minneconjou Lakota.

Lone Horn's sons were Spotted Elk (later known as Big Foot) and Touch the Clouds, and Crazy Horse was his nephew. He participated in the signing of the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868, which reads "Heh-won-ge-chat, his x mark, One Horn" Old Chief Smoke (1774–1864) was Lone Horn's maternal uncle.

Lone Horn died near Bear Butte in 1877 from old age. After Lone Horn's death his adopted son Spotted Elk eventually became chief of the Minneconjou and was later killed along with his people at the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890.

Plenty Horses

Plenty Horses (Tasunka) (1869–1933) was a Sicangu (Brulé) Lakota from the Rosebud Indian Reservation. On January 7, 1891, eight days after the Wounded Knee Massacre, he shot and killed Army Lieutenant Edward W. Casey, commandant of the Cheyenne Scouts (designated Troop L, Eighth Cavalry) two miles north of the Stronghold Table in the Badlands of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Plenty Horses – who was present at the Drexel Mission Fight the day after the Wounded Knee Massacre, was arrested for the murder and his case went to trial. His defense was he shot and killed Casey as an effort to redeem himself in the eyes of his people after having spent five years at the Carlisle Indian School learning the ways of the white man. He returned in time to be present on the reservation during the massacre.

Five years I attended Carlisle and was educated in the ways of the white man. When I returned to my people, I was an outcast among them. I was no longer an Indian. I was not a white man. I was lonely. I shot the lieutenant so I might make a place for myself among my people. I am now one of them. I shall be hung, and the Indians will bury me as a warrior.

The trial of Plenty Horses, which took place at Fort Meade near Sturgis, figured prominently in the investigation of the events surrounding the Wounded Knee Massacre, specifically as to whether Spotted Elk's band were considered to be prisoners of war. The central argument of Plenty Horses’ two lawyers, George Nock and David Powers, both working pro bono, was that a state of war existed between the United States and the Lakota Nation and as such the belligerents were entitled to kill each other without threat of criminal penalty. In such a case, Plenty Horses should not be tried for murder. They also submitted that if the prosecution was correct that there was no state of war between the Lakota and the United States, then the US soldiers involved with the killings at Wounded Knee should also be charged with murder.

It was in the government’s interest that the Lakota killed at Wounded Knee be considered as combatants and prisoners of war who rose up in armed resistance. On May 28, 1891, George Shiras, Jr., the presiding judge in the case, halted the proceedings and instructed the jury to find that a state of war did exist at the time of the killing between the Lakota and the United States and that the skirmishes between the Lakota warriors and the U.S. Army were actually battles. As Judge Shiras stated on record; "If they were not it would be hard to justify the killings of the Indians at Wounded Knee and other places".

General Nelson Miles would state publicly that a state of war did exist at the time. An unexpected witness for the defense at the trial of Plenty Horses was Captain Frank D. Baldwin, a member of Miles’s staff, who was already in the state, having gone to Pierre to urge the governor to ban the sale of weapons to Indians, which the legislature had failed to do.

Baldwin’s testimony supported the main assertion of the defense; that Plenty Horses had killed Casey as the officer was spying on the Indian encampment on the Stronghold Table.As a result of the finding that a state of war did exist, Plenty Horses escaped conviction for murder and was released, thereby helping to exonerate the soldiers of the Seventh Cavalry, the perpetrators of the Wounded Knee Massacre, none of whom was ever charged.After the trial he came to public attention only once more, appearing at the South Dakota stand of the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago of 1893. He then disappeared into obscurity, but lived on until 1933 on the Rosebud Reservation, where he married and raised children.

Spotted Elk

Spotted Elk (Lakota: Uŋpȟáŋ Glešká, sometimes spelled OH-PONG-GE-LE-SKAH or Hupah Glešká: 1826 approx – ( 1890-12-29)December 29, 1890), was the name of a chief of the Miniconjou, Lakota Sioux. He was a son of Miniconjou chief Lone Horn and became a chief upon his father's death. He was a highly renowned chief with skills in war and negotiations. A United States Army soldier, at Fort Bennett, coined the nickname Big Foot (Si Tȟáŋka) – not to be confused with Oglala Big Foot (also known as Ste Si Tȟáŋka and Chetan keah).In 1890, he was killed by the U.S. Army at Wounded Knee Creek, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (Chankwe Opi Wakpala, Wazí Aháŋhaŋ Oyáŋke), South Dakota, USA with at least 150 members of his tribe, in what became known as the Wounded Knee Massacre.

William Horn Cloud

William Horn Cloud (known as William 'Horncloud') was born in 1905 (some sources say 1907), Medicine District, Pine Ridge, Potato Creek, South Dakota and died in 1992. He was born to Joseph Horn Cloud and Mildred Beautiful Bald Eagle. His father Joseph witnessed and survived the Wounded Knee Massacre.

Wounded Knee

Wounded Knee may refer to

Wounded Knee Creek

Wounded Knee Creek is a tribunal of the White River, approximately 100 miles (160 km) long, in Oglala Lakota County, South Dakota in the United States. Its Lakota name is Čhaŋkpé Ópi Wakpála.

The creek's name recalls an incident when an American sustained an injury to his knee during a fight.The creek rises in the southwestern corner of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, along the state line with Nebraska, and flows northwest. It borders the site of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre, in which the 7th US Cavalry under Colonel James W. Forsyth massacred approximately 300 Sioux, mostly women and children, many unarmed. Towns in this region include Wounded Knee and Manderson. The Wounded Knee Creek flows NNW across the reservation and joins the White south of Badlands National Park.

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