Re: Thought for the Day - from Sitting Bull....

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Posted by Rich on December 30, 2000 at 13:49:22:

In Reply to: Re: Thought for the Day - from Sitting Bull.... posted by Chris on December 30, 2000 at 00:22:11:

PHOTO: 5 days after Wounded Knee, frozen Indian bodies, totaling 146, are piled into a mass grave by the US 7th Cavalry. The grave is located at the position the Hotchkiss guns were placed.

: It's late and I am exhausted. My history is pretty spotty even at the best of times and I'm confused. What were the Sioux doing on the Wind River Reservation? Isn't that a Shoshone reservation? Can someone straighten me out here?
: Chris

Yes, Chris this is an error. The entire paragraph was perplexing to me when I first read it. Adele, where did you find this information? I pray it wasn't a History Channel blurb! I expect more from them ...

Anyhow, let me correct what I feel are errors in that synopsis of the tragedy at Wounded Knee ... December 29, 1890

: : This day in 1890.........

: : In South Dakota, the U.S. Seventh Cavalry commanded by Colonel James W. Forsyth attacks a Sioux Indians encampment at Wounded Knee Creek, massacring some three hundred Sioux, including scores of women and children.

It wan't "attacked" in the traditional sense ... there was a council going on, arms were asked for, as they were, along with ponies, from all the surrendered bands ... what happened next is not 100% clear, but most attribute a medicine man, often referred to as Yellow Bird, with instigating the incident.

:Two years earlier, on an Indian reservation in Nevada, a Paiute named Wovoka had begun preaching that an Indian messiah would soon arrive who would restore the American continent to the Indians and reunite them with their dead families. A cult known as the "Ghost Dance" grew from his teachings, and within a year it had spread to dozens of other reservations. On December 15, on the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota, Sitting Bull, an influential Sioux leader was killed by Indian police while allegedly resisting arrest.

He WAS resisting arrest ... with good reason!

:Sitting Bull had become involved in the Ghost Dance movement

Sitting Bull was never a proponent of the Ghost Dance "Religion". He was, however, for anything that opposed the path of his oppressors, and so was considered a thorn in the side of Agency officials. The Ghost Dance issue was a convenient excuse.

: and was planning on visiting Pine Ridge, the center of the Ghost Dance observances, when the government ordered his arrest and possibly his execution. A group of outraged Sioux Indians left the Standing Rock reservation after his death, and linked up with a Sioux group led by Big Foot traveling to Pine Ridge from the Wind River Reservation.

Make that the Cheyenne River Reservation. The only instance where the Wind River Reservation (in Wyoming) comes into play in this drama, is that the two Sioux representatives sent to talk to the Paiute leader, Wovoka, to learn the way of the Ghost Dance, stopped there on enroute. Had nothing to do with the events at Wounded Knee.

The paragraph went on to mistate the date the Seventh Cavalry caught up with Big Foot's band of Miniconjou Sioux (December 28), erroneously describe the events, though in its brevity this can be expected, overestimate casualties (probably more in the area of 250, maybe less), and allude to an often "stated-as-fact" mis-statement, that this was a vengeful blood-letting by the Seventh in retribution for Custer's debacle on Little Bighorn. Though there were a few veterans left over in the 7th in 1890, by & large, the Regiment was vastly different in composition than it was 14 years earlier in 1876. The entire circumstance of events belies this as a primary motive.

None of this is to say that Wounded Knee wasn't a tragedy ... it was. It is the exclamation point on the 400 year tragedy that was the Indian Wars.

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