A Hodge-Podge, Plus More Wounded Knee

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Posted by Rich/Mohican Press on August 01, 1999 at 09:32:22:

Greetings and Good Morning!

By now, Champ is surely deep into his journey into his Cherokee roots, Chris has returned to far-off Alaska after her LONG journey throughout the US (including, of course, a stay here in MohicanLand!), and Soldier #2 must be anxiously awaiting his upcoming trek into the realm of the Swamp Fox ... Francis Marion ... about whom "The Patriot" is about!

Try as I might, and I REALLY hate to disappoint Jo, but I just could not locate any History Channel programming that related to LOTM this month. And I searched the THICKEST TV Guide I could lay my hands on. Sorry ...

Some news:

* We are actively seeking up-to-the-minute word on the Director's Cut release. Will post as soon as we hear.

* Already, we are hearing from new folks regarding the Gathering in the year 2000. Pretty neat!

* For anyone who has ordered the "Winds of Change" video (featuring Eric Schweig & Wes Studi), it will be shipped on August 6. There are NO copies left, consequently, if you haven't ordered one already, it's now too late.

* Eric Schweig Pendant Orders expected to be filled in 2 weeks! He's been a busy guy!

* Killdeer replicas have been IMMENSELY popular thus far ... many inquiries and 3 orders confirmed! I guess this will keep Waddlin" Willy busy for a bit!

* Uncas-style earrings a BIG hit! We already have to re-stock!

* A few little updates around the Site:

- Replaced mask photo on the ES Gallery.
- Further revamping of the old Gift Shop.
- Director's Cut Drive page updated - info previously posted here on the Board.
- The beginning of a new page in the "Off The Beaten Mohican Trail" section.

Congratulations to Ye Old TowneCryer, aka Vita, aka Kristina Donnelly, on the recent publication of her full-length novel, "The Horseman," published by Hollis Books. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for the complimentary copy! For a link to the book, see our Unrelated Links Page at: http://www.mohicanpress.com/mo12036.html

Due to our celebration of my Grandmother's 100th birthday next Saturday in New York, there will be no Weekly Update next week. We will try to update the Site again in a few days before embarking on the journey!

A little more on Wounded Knee:

The above photo was taken on the site in 1987. The hill was that upon which the Hotchkiss guns were situated. The sign is on the ground of the Indian encampment.

Though Wounded Knee is correctly labled a "massacre," it actually began more as a "battle," caused, of course, by some rather dubious circumstances. The Miniconjou Indians of Big Foot were gathered together, this morning of December 29, 1890, for the purpose of being disarmed. The village circle was surrounded by companies of the 7th Cavalry (Yes, Custer's old regiment - in fact, many of the officers present were veterans of The Little Bighorn battle, causing some to theorize that there was a revenge factor at play here.) Four Hotchkiss guns (small calibre cannons!) sat perched upon a nearby hill ... pointed at the village. In the morning, an army detail searched the lodges while the Indians sat, in a circle, within the village perimeter. The search proved fruitless, confiscating an assortment of knives & worthless old rifles. A search - under tremendous tension - was then ordered of the Indians themselves. They balked at the suggestion. An Indian medicine man, usually identified as Yellow Bird (though his real name was probably Sits Straight), chided the warriors to resist:

"Do not be afraid! Let your hearts be strong to meet what is before! There are lots of soldiers and they have lots of bullets, but the prairie is large and the bullets will not go toward you, but over the large prairies ..."

And later ...

"Don't be frightened - let your hearts be strong to meet what is before you - the Great Holy is with you - your ghost shirts will keep the bullets from you."

A few Indians turned over good weapons, concealed under their blankets. Then, the picture becomes muddied. A possibly deaf young warrior, by the name of, probably, Black Coyote, defiantly waved his rifle over his head. As ghost dance songs were chanted, Yellow Bird threw dirt in the air - perceived by some Army observers as a pre-arranged signal - and Black Coyote was grabbed from behind by two troopers. Several warriors pointed their rifles at Company K ... then fired. All hell broke loose. Soldiers fired. There was some return fire & hand-to-hand combat. Woman & children fled, many down a ravine. The massacre began.

"[A young woman] was crying and calling 'Mother! Mother!' She was wounded under the chin, close to her throat, and the bullet has passed through her hair and carried it into the wound ... Her mother had been shot down hehind her."

Big Foot, the band's chief, was among the dead strewn over the field. Yellow Bird was also killed. Though many were massacred as the situation deteriorated, the incident certainly was more of a battle than history usually considers it. Consider the casualities:

Indian Dead - 84 men & fighting age boys, 44 women, 18 children.

Indian Wounded - 51, of whom 7 later died

Army Dead - 25

Army Wounded - 39

No matter how one chooses to view the affair, it must be considered a tragedy! Wovoka, the Paiute Prophet who started the Ghost Dance, said this after hearing of the news:

"Hoo-oo! My children! My children! In days behind, many times I called you to travel the hunting trail or to follow the war trail. Now those trails are choked with sand; they are covered with grass, the young men cannot find them. My children, today I call upon you to travel a new trail, the only trail now open - the White Man's Road."

Several thousand Sioux, Short Bull & Kicking Bear - Lakota proponents of the Ghost Dance - among them, gathered in the Badlands at a high place known as The Stronghold. Resistance was planned. What would surely have been another futile attempt at retaining the Old Ways, resulting in still further pointless Indian deaths, was averted when cooler heads prevailed.

To read more on this tragic, but fascinating, event:

"Moon of Popping Trees" ... Rex Alan Smith (University of Nebraska Press) - Excellent, and detailed, account of Wounded Knee.

"The Last Days of the Sioux Nation" ... Robert M. Utley (Yale University Press) - Solid overview of the period by a leading scholar on the subject.

"Eyewitness at Wounded Knee" ... Jenson, Paul, and Carter (University of Nebraska Press) - Oversized, photographic account of the events ... before, during, and after ... Gruesome photos of the battlefield dead.

Oh ... it's been a while since anyone offered us a Six Degrees Challenge, but one came along this week. And so, that's our Oldie But Goodie Page this week ...

Happy Trails!

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