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Wounded Knee Massacre

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Wounded Knee Massacre 1890

Background

On the morning of December 29, 1890 a detachment of the 7th U.S. Cavalry massacred some 185 Lakota men, women and children in a camp near Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

The massacre started with an attempt to disarm the Lakotas. After the murder of Chief Sitting Bull on December 15, 1890, Chief Spotted Elk and his band left the Cheyenne River Reservation to seek the protection of Chief Red Cloud at Pine Ridge. The band was intercepted by the 7th Cavalry under Colonel John Forsyth, and escorted to a camp at Wounded Knee.

At dawn on December 29, the army entered the Lakota camp, separated the men from the women, and began to disarm them, taking mostly knives and axes. A scuffle started when troops tried to take the rifle of a deaf man, Black Coyote. The rifle discharged. Both sides started firing. American soldiers fired into the tipi camp of women and children. The women scattered over the prairie and into ravines, some of them for miles, but soldiers hunted them down and killed them with their children.

The fighting lasted less than an hour. Casualty estimates vary. Lakota casualties included at least 185 killed and 51 wounded (some of whom died later). General Nelson Miles put the death toll at 90 warriors and about 200 women and children. Military records show that 84 men, 44 women and 18 children were buried in an unmarked grave. Some estimates place the number of Lakota dead at 300. Twenty-five U.S. troops were killed, and 39 were wounded (6 of the wounded would later die). Many of the U.S. casualties were probably victims of friendly fire.

U.S. newspapers applauded the American victory. Twenty Medals of Honor were awarded to American soldiers. Gen. Miles relived Col. Forsyth of command and convened a Court of Inquiry, but Forsyth was exonerated and reinstated.

The massacre has become iconic in American history. Traditionally, it marks the end of Indian resistance and the closing of the American frontier.

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. In 1972 members of the American Indian Movement occupied Wounded Knee as part of a protest against broken treaties. In 1990, after extensive hearings on the matter, Congress issued a statement of "deep regret" for the massacre at Wounded Knee, but refused to issue a formal apology. (101st Congress, Concurrent Resolution #153).

Lakota Casualties

(From "The Wounded Knee Interviews Of Eli S. Ricker"; pp. 176-178)

  1. Chief Big Foot (Spotted Elk)
  2. Wife of Big Foot
  3. Horned Cloud
  4. Wife of Horned Cloud
  5. William Horned Cloud, son
  6. Sherman Horned Cloud, son
  7. Pretty Enemy, niece
  8. Wife of Beard, daughter-in-law
  9. Thomas Beard, grandson
  10. Shedding Bear
  11. Trouble In Front, son
  12. Last Running
  13. Red White Cow, daughter
  14. Mother-in-law of Shedding Bear
  15. High Hawk
  16. Wife of High Hawk
  17. Little Boy, son
  18. Little Girl, daughter
  19. Whirl Wind Hawk
  20. Wife of Whirl Wind Hawk
  21. Young Lady, daughter
  22. Young Girl, daughter
  23. Little Girl, daughter
  24. Little Boy, son
  25. Little Boy, son
  26. He Crow
  27. Pretty Woman, daughter
  28. Buckskin Breech Clout
  29. Running in Lodge, son
  30. White Feather, son
  31. Little Boy, son
  32. Bear Woman, the oldest woman in the band
  33. Crazy Bear
  34. Elk Creek
  35. Wife of Elk Creek
  36. Spotted Chief, son
  37. Red Fish
  38. Wife of Red Fish
  39. Old Good Bear
  40. Young Good Bear
  41. Wife of Good Bear
  42. Little Boy, son
  43. Pretty Hawk
  44. Wife of Pretty Hawk
  45. Baby Pretty Hawk
  46. Wife of Lap
  47. Shoots the Right
  48. Bad Wound, son
  49. Bear Parts Body
  50. Little Boy, son
  51. Brown Beaver
  52. White Beaver Woman
  53. Black Coyote (the one who made the touble)
  54. Red Water Woman
  55. Sun In The Pupil
  56. Wife of Sun In The Pupil
  57. Henry Three, or Pretty Bold Eagle
  58. Iron Eyes (Big Foot's brother)
  59. Wife of Iron Eyes
  60. Has a Dog
  61. Red Shirt Girl
  62. Pretty Woman
  63. Albert Iron Eyes
  64. White Day
  65. Little Boy, son
  66. Charge at Them
  67. Old Woman, mother
  68. Wife of Iron American
  69. Wife of Yellow Buffalo Calf
  70. Louis Close to Home
  71. Cast Away and Run
  72. Bad Braves
  73. Red Horn
  74. Winter
  75. Strong Fox
  76. Wife of Strong Fox
  77. Little Boy, son
  78. One Feather
  79. Little Boy, son
  80. Without Robe
  81. Old Man Yellow Bull
  82. Wife of Old Man Yellow Bull
  83. Brown Woman
  84. Shakes the Bird
  85. Red Ears Horse
  86. Shoots with Hawk Feather
  87. His mother
  88. Ghost Horse
  89. Little Boy, son
  90. Chief Woman
  91. Wife of Trouble in Love
  92. Hat
  93. Baby boy
  94. Wife of Stone Hammer
  95. Little baby
  96. Wolf Eagle
  97. Good Boy, son
  98. Edward Wolf Ears
  99. Little Girl
  100. Shoots the Bear
  101. Kills Assiniboine
  102. George Shoots the Bear
  103. Wife of Shoots the Bear
  104. Kills Crow Indian
  105. Little Body Bear
  106. Wife of Little Body Bear
  107. Little Boy, son
  108. Baby girl
  109. Red Eagle (This man was in the tent and killed by the cannon.)
  110. Eagle Body, daughter
  111. Little Girl
  112. Little Elk
  113. Wife of Little Elk
  114. Black Shield's little girl
  115. White Wolf
  116. Red Ears Horse, sister
  117. Old Woman, her mother
  118. Wood Shade
  119. Wife of Wood Shade
  120. Running Stand Hairs
  121. Wife of Running Stand Hairs
  122. Young lady, daughter
  123. Scabbard Knife
  124. Wife of Scabbard Knife
  125. He Eagle
  126. Wife of He Eagle
  127. Edward He Eagle, son
  128. Young girl, daughter
  129. Young boy, son
  130. Log
  131. Wife of Log
  132. Really Woman, son
  133. Brown Hoops
  134. Little boy, son
  135. Young girl, daughter
  136. Mule's daughter, young lady
  137. Red Other Woman
  138. Black Flutes, young boy
  139. Takes away the Bow
  140. Gray in Eye
  141. Wife of Drops Blood
  142. Young boy, son
  143. Little boy, son
  144. Old Woman
  145. Wife of Long Bull
  146. Young girl, daughter
  147. Spotted Thunder
  148. Swift Bird
  149. Wife of Swift Bird
  150. Boy, son
  151. Boy, son
  152. Strike Scatter
  153. Boy, son
  154. Wolf Skin Necklace
  155. Last Talking, old woman. She is alone, her property, two horses, bedding, and lodge
  156. Not go in Among, son of Hailing Bear, and Her Good Medicine
  157. Wounded Hand
  158. Comes Out Rattling, wife
  159. Big Voice Thunder
  160. Mercy to Others
  161. Long Medicine
  162. Broken Arrow
  163. Wife of Broken Arrow
  164. Young Man
  165. Young Woman
  166. Brown Turtle
  167. Old Woman, mother
  168. Bird Wings
  169. Not Afraid of Lodge
  170. Bear Comes and Lies
  171. Wears Calf's Robe
  172. Yellow Robe
  173. Wounded in Winter, son
  174. Wife of Black Hair
  175. Bad Spotted Eagle - a Cree (visiting Big Foot's tribe)
  176. Wife of Bad Spotted Eagle - a Cree (visiting Big Foot's tribe)
  177. White American
  178. Long Bull
  179. Courage Bear
  180. Wife of Courage Bear
  181. Fat Courage Bear
  182. George Courage Bear
  183. Black Hawk
  184. She Bear, wife
  185. Weasel Bear, daughter

List of American Casualties

Killed:

Attached

  1. Hospital Steward Oscar Pollak, U.S. Army
  2. Indian Scout High Backbone

Headquarters, 7th Cavalry


  1. Captain George D. Wallace
  2. Sergeant Major Richard W. Corwin(e)

Troop A, 7th Cavalry

  1. Sergeant Arthur C. Dyer
  2. Private Henry Frey,
  3. Private George P. Johnson
  4. Private Michael Regan
  5. Private James Logan

Troop B, 7th Cavalry


  1. First Sergeant Dora S. Coffey
  2. Corporal Harry R. Forrest
  3. Private John Costello
  4. Private Ralph L. Cook
  5. Private William S. Meze(?)

Troop C, 7th Cavalry


  1. Private James DeVrsods(?)

Troop D, 7th Cavalry


  1. Private Frank T. Reinecky

Troop E, 7th Cavalry


  1. Sergeant Robert H. Nettles(?)
  2. Private August Kellner

Troop I, 7th Cavalry


  1. Blacksmith Gustav Korn
  2. Private Daniel Twohig
  3. Private James E. Kelley
  4. Private Pierce Cummings

Troop K, 7th Cavalry


  1. Sergeant William T. Hodges
  2. Private John H.(?) McCue
  3. Private Joseph Murphy
  4. Private William F. McClintock
  5. Private Philip Schwenkey

Wounded:

Headquarters, 7th Cavalry

  1. Lieutenant Ernest A. Garlington
  2. Lieutenant John C. Gresham
  3. Father Kraft - was badly wounded with a knife

Troop A, 7th Cavalry


  1. Sergeant A.H. Hazelwood
  2. Private Adam Nador(?)
  3. Private Harry L. Duncan
  4. Private Daniel McMahon
  5. Private Herman Granberg

Troop B, 7th Cavalry


  1. Sergeant William H. Toohey
  2. Sergeant James Ward
  3. Corporal Charles H. Nervell - died the same night before reaching the agency
  4. Private Frank Lewis
  5. Private Harry B. Stone
  6. Private John McKenzie

Troop C, 7th Cavalry


  1. Private Ervin Schriver
  2. Private William H. Green

Troop D, 7th Cavalry


  1. Wagoner George York

Troop E, 7th Cavalry


  1. Sergeant John F. Tritle

Troop I, 7th Cavalry


  1. Sergeant George Loyd
  2. Sergeant Henry Howard
  3. Corporal Albert S. Bone - died the same night before reaching the agency
  4. Private Bernhard Zolinder(?) - died the same night before reaching the agency
  5. Private Gottleb(?) Hipp
  6. Private Harvey H. Thomas

Troop K, 7th Cavalry


  1. Corporal Harold L. Clifton
  2. Trumpeter Jas. Christienson
  3. Private William Adams
  4. Private Edward A. Sullivan
  5. Private C.F. Martin
  6. Private William J. Davis
  7. Private Samuel F. Smith
  8. Private Frederick C. Yoder
  9. Private George Elliott
  10. Private Hugh McGuiness
  11. Private Herman Granberg - died of wounds

2nd Artillery (Attached to Light Battery E, 1st Artillery)


  1. Second Lieutenant Harry L. Hawthorne

Adjutant, 2nd Infantry

  1. First Lieutenant John Kinzie(?) - who was by permission with Major Whiteside.

Resources

Notes

SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 153--RELATIVE TO THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE TRAGEDY AT WOUNDED KNEE CREEK, SD (Senate - October 15, 1990)