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Native American History. From European Contact to Wounded Knee. Native Americans in North America: A More Than 12,000 Year Legacy. Anthropologists have identified three major variations of the foraging subsistence pattern: 1.   pedestrian (diversified hunting and gathering on foot)

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Native American History

From European Contact to Wounded Knee

Native Americans in North America:

A More Than 12,000 Year Legacy

Anthropologists have identified three major variations of the foraging subsistence pattern:

1.  pedestrian (diversified hunting and gathering on foot)

2. equestrian (concentrating on hunting large mammals from horseback)

3. aquatic (concentrating on fish and/or marine mammal hunting)

Native American Culture Areas

Who Were the Indians?

  • Cultural patterns and societies were largely shaped by a specific natural environment

  • Important factors:

  • Climate and the availability/variability of animal and plant species – Deer/Polar Bear/Buffalo

  • The density and distribution of population and its impact on the forms of cooperation between individuals and groups within society – Cahokia/Plains/Woodlands

  • The political and religious features of community life – Kinship/Clan/Tribe/Nation/Shamanism/Priest Cult

CAHOKIA specific natural environment


Egalitarian societies specific natural environment are comprised of people who are considered to be equal amongst one another and choose the amount of power given to individual members of a certain group.

Inuit Hunting Seal

Laws were not written, but rather communal understandings. Punishment for breaching laws were mild, usually aimed at injuring a man's position in society (through gossip, ridicule or ostracism). Inuit punishments were not created to reprimand the criminal, but to reestablish the desired peace.

One thing the Indians had in common was the use of stone tools. All made a variety of hammers, scrapers, knives, arrowheads, and spear points from stone. They had no access to sharp metal tools until the arrival of the Europeans.

Most Europeans viewed the Indians as “primitive and savage.”

Much of the credit for European military success in the New World can be handed to the superiority of their weapons.

Humans’ ability to transform mineral ores into useful materials has shaped the course of human history. Those civilizations that have been armed with a greater range of metal technologies have always defeated their rivals.

THE EURASIAN ADVANTAGE World can be handed to the superiority of their weapons.

By geographic chance, America inherited different native grass and animal species. On such coincidences the destinies of millions of people throughout history have turned.

Cereal Grasses of

Eurasia A. Oats;

B. Barley; C. Bread Wheat; D. Rye

Domesticated Animals of Eurasia

The goat, the sheep, the pig, the horse, and – our champion – the cow. Their ability to provide meat, dairy and draft while reproducing themselves and eating nothing but grass, has made cows a source of wonder throughout human history – objects of worship, even – to which European civilization may owe its very existence.

The Spread of Ideas World can be handed to the superiority of their weapons.

Writing — and printing — acted as an additional agent of conquest for the Europeans. Printing gave Europeans access to a wealth of historical, cultural and military knowledge from previous eras, which the Indians — a non-literate society — could never have had.

EUROPEAN CONTACT World can be handed to the superiority of their weapons.

The encomienda itself was a grant of Indians within a geographic region, which were given to an encomendero, the Spaniard who received the grant of Indians.

Spain in the New World The Encomienda System

Origins of the Slave Trade

As large numbers Indians died under cruel working conditions. Landowners in New Spain began to look for alternative sources of labor.

The story of France's colonial empire began on July 27, 1605, with the foundation of Port Royal in the colony of Acadia in North America, in what is now Nova Scotia, Canada. A few years later, in 1608, Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec, which was to become the capital of the enormous, but sparsely settled, fur-trading colony of New France

The British Empire 1605, with the foundation of

A number of English colonies were established under a system of Proprietary Governors, who were appointed under mercantile charters to English joint stock companies to found and run settlements.

The period after European contact and before complete Euro-American domination may be considered a “middle ground,” a time when neither Native Americans nor Europeans were the supreme rulers of a given territory and when the ties between Indians and whites were stronger than their differences. The 1600s and 1700s.

Decline Timeline

  • East Coast: The period of decline set in before 1700

  • Great Plains: Stealing of the first horses from the Spanish ranches in New Mexico about 1600. The decline did not come until the buffalo were almost exterminated in the 1870s and 1880s.

  • West Coast: The impact of the gold rush of 1849 was so sudden that the period of prosperity failed to materialize at all and that of decline began at once.

The Euro-American domination may be considered a Treaty of Easton, signed between the Lenape and the English in 1766, removed them westward, out of present-day New York and New Jersey and into Pennsylvania, then Ohio and beyond.

Where do the Indians go?

Forced Migration!

One rationale for these treaties was that Indians were migratory hunters who only followed the game and had no attachment to any particular lands.

Native American prehistoric population of about 2,500,000 in what is now the United States (excluding Alaska),

1890 numbers fell to a low of about 250,000

Smallpox Euro-American domination may be considered a

Disease was one of the leading causes of population decline, for the Indians had no immunity to many diseases brought in by settlers from Europe and slaves from Africa. Some estimates are as high as 95% of the population.

Malnutrition due to depletion of game and other food sources was also a critical factor in the decline of population.

In addition, armed conflicts with whites and enemy Indians.

These various disturbances led also to generally inadequate child care.

Indian Religious Beliefs Euro-American domination may be considered a

  • Life after death.

  • Ghosts, gods, and anthropomorphic spiritual personalities with intelligence, emotions, and freedom of will to intervene in human affairs.

  • All Indians further believed in a supernatural power, shared by spiritual personalities, human beings, and the entities of the natural world.

  • Their religiousness was an attempt to understand, enter into relations with, appease, revere, and, if possible, manipulate these sources of existence in order to promote their own lives and the lives of their relatives.

Shamanism Euro-American domination may be considered a

Shamanistic traditions have existed throughout the world since prehistoric times.

Every Native American community had its medicine men and women, shamans, or priests. These were persons who had especially close contact with the supernatural and who interceded on behalf of others thought to have less ability to communicate with the spirits.

Native American Prophet Movements Euro-American domination may be considered a

Contact with Christians proved traumatic for Native American religions, as both civil and religious authorities attempted to repress native spirituality and force conversion. Over the past three centuries, this attempt has provoked the rise of various native religious movements.

The Longhouse Religion, also known as the Handsome Lake cult, or Gai'wiio (Good Message in Seneca) is a religious movement started by the SenecaChief Handsome Lake (Ganioda'yo). Founded in 1799, it is the oldest active prophet movement in North America.

O Kee Pa Euro-American domination may be considered a

The Mandan Sun Dance

Ordinarily held by each tribe once a year in early summer, it was an occasion for purification and strengthening and an opportunity to reaffirm basic beliefs about the universe and the supernatural through rituals.

The ceremony originated with the Lakota Sioux.

THE TREATIES Euro-American domination may be considered a

1778 Treaty between United States and Delaware Indians, the first United States and Indian treaty, is negotiated in which Delaware tribe is offered the prospect of statehood.


“ ARTICLE 1. That all offences or acts of hostilities by one, or either of the contracting parties against the other, be mutually forgiven, and buried in the depth of oblivion, never more to be had in remembrance.”“ Article 6...” the United States do engage to guarantee to the aforesaid nation of Delawares, and their heirs, all their territorial rights in the fullest and most ample manner, as it hath been bounded by former treaties, as long as they the said Delaware nation shall abide by, and hold fast the chain of friendship now entered into.”

Treaties Between the U. S. and Native Americans

1778 Euro-American domination may be considered a

Iroquois Indians under Joseph Brant and British regulars attack American settlers on the western New York and Pennsylvania frontiers. In 1779, the Americans launch a counteroffensive that lays waste to Indian towns and crops, and breaks the power of the Iroquois League.

The Wyoming Valley "massacre" was a military battle in the American Revolutionary War that took place in Pennsylvania's Wyoming Valley on July 3, 1778, in which more than three hundred Americans died at the hands of Loyalist and Iroquois raiders.

1780-1800 Euro-American domination may be considered a

Smallpox and measles among Indians in Texas and New Mexico. In 1782-83, a smallpox epidemic among Sanpoils of Washington.


Under the Articles of Confederation defining federal and state relationships, it is accepted in principle that the central government should regulate Indian affairs and trade.

“Under the Protection of the United States”

In 1818, a House committee report noted, “in the present state of our country, one of two things seems to be necessary. either those sons of the great forest should be moralized or exterminated: humanity would rejoice at the former, but shrink with horror at the latter.”

In 1789 - Congress establishes a Department of War and formally grants the secretary of War authority over Indian affairs.

1787 Northwest Ordinance calls for Indian rights, the establishment of reservations, and sanctity of tribal lands, echoing the British Proclamation of 1763, but it also sets guidelines for the development of the Old Northwest, leading to increased white settlement.

Late 17th Century Commentary

“Oaks, walnuts, hickories, maples, and elms were present in abundance, as were tulip trees, Kentucky coffee trees, honey locusts, persimmons, and sumacs. Many of the larger trees were a spectacular size.

Rivers held schools of carp, catfish, perch, and sturgeon. Flocks of tens of thousands of passenger pigeons darkened the sky overhead. Bison roamed in great herds, and bears, wolves, and wildcats flourished in the woods and ravines.”

Supreme Court: Cherokee Nation v. Georgia – 1789 establishment of reservations, and sanctity of tribal lands, echoing the British Proclamation of 1763, but it also sets guidelines for the development of the Old Northwest, leading to increased white settlement.

The federal government alone is given the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the states, and with Indian tribes.

“No person shall be permitted to trade with the Indians without a license; . . . traders shall sell their goods at reasonable prices, allow them to the Indians for their skins, and take no advantage of their distress and intemperance; . . the trade to be only at posts designated by the commissioners.” THE FACTORY SYSTEM

US Constitution, Congress, Section 8, Clause 3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes...

1790-99 - Four Trade and Intercourse Acts regulate Indian commerce and create the "factory system" of government trading houses. Lasted until 1822.

  • The federal government wanted to control the Indian fur trade as a means of "civilizing” the Indians in order to acquire their hunting grounds.

  • The government believed if trade goods were provided at a fair price it would keep the Indian villages close to the factory posts, and eventually lead to the Indians assimilation into the white man culture.

"Osage Warrior"

“Hang around the Forts” commerce and create the "factory system" of government trading houses. Lasted until 1822.

Many Indians were infatuated with European culture.

Technology – Steel, Guns, Trinkets/Beads

Animals – Horses, Pigs, Cows

Religion – Christianity and its Story Of an Executed God

Alcohol – Vision/Dream Quest

“My son cannot pull back the bow of his father.”

Pigeon's Egg Head Going to and Returning from Washington

1802 - Federal law prohibits the sale of liquor to Indians. commerce and create the "factory system" of government trading houses. Lasted until 1822.

  • Roots of the epidemic of alcohol-related problems among many Native North Americans are related to:

  • European arrival.

  • The role of alcohol in frontier society, and colonial and postcolonial policies.

  • Heavily influenced by the example of White frontiersmen, who drank immoderately and engaged in otherwise unacceptable behavior while drunk.

  • Whites also deliberately pressed alcohol upon the natives because it was an immensely profitable trade good.

  • Alcohol was used as a tool of "diplomacy" in official dealings between authorities and natives.

1803 - Louisiana Purchase adds a large Indian population to the United States. In 1804, the Louisiana Territory Act shows the intent of the United States to move eastern Indians west of the Mississippi.

Mandan Rain Dance

Mandan Buffalo Dance

Captains William Clark & Meriwether Lewis

The Corps of Discovery reached the Mandan villages in the fall of 1804 and stayed the winter in Fort Mandan

The Louisiana Territory was neither an the United States. “unoccupied frontier” nor a “wilderness" when Lewis and Clark arrived. Indian societies possessed philosophy, laws, order, and religion, none of which were ever mentioned in Clark's paternalistic journals.

Impact of the Expedition on the Indians:

In addition to the impact of disease there was an erosion of both the economic and political structure of the tribes.

1808 - American Fur Company is chartered by John Astor. In 1810-12, an Astorian overland western expedition established trade relations with Indians.

The first of the Astor family dynasty and the first millionaire in the United States, making his fortune in the fur trade and real estate industries.

1809 - Treaty of Fort Wayne. General William Henry Harrison obtains 2 1/2 million acres from Indians in Ohio and Indiana.

In the treaty the United States acquired three million acres of land with a single document.

In another deal he paid the Indians one penny for each 200 acres and transferred 51 million acres to the United States. When the Shawnee chief Tecumseh tried to organize resistance Harrison led a force of 950 men against his Indian Confederacy, defeating 650 warriors at Tippecanoe Creek on November 7, 1811.

General William Henry Harrison

Andrew Jackson was a forceful proponent of Indian removal. obtains 2 1/2 million acres from Indians in Ohio and Indiana.

In 1814 he commanded the U.S. military forces that defeated a faction of the Creek nation. They lost 22 million acres of land in southern Georgia and central Alabama.

1818 - Jackson's troops invaded Spanish Florida. to punish the Seminoles for their practice of harboring fugitive slaves and gained more land.

From 1814 to 1824, Jackson was instrumental in negotiating nine out of eleven treaties which divested the southern tribes of their eastern lands.

1822 - Office of Indian Trade and Indian trading houses (the "factory system") are abolished by Congress, at which time provisions were made for the licensing of independent traders, who were better able to meet the booming demand for furs.

Land Speculation and the Fur Trade – Two Major Forces in the Conflict Between Indians and the United States

Attempts to Assimilate into American Culture "factory system") are abolished by Congress, at which time

From 1809-21 Sequoyah single-handedly creates a Cherokee syllabic alphabet so that his people's language can be written.

  • Alphabet, Newspapers, Towns

  • Planters and Farmers

  • Some Owned Slaves

Ross, one of the richest men in North Georgia before 1838 had a number of

ventures including a 200 acre farm and owned a number of slaves. He was forced to move in the Trail of Tears. He lost everything.

John Ross

MANIFEST DESTINY "factory system") are abolished by Congress, at which time

1823 U.S. Supreme Court decision Johnson v. McIntosh "tribal rights to complete sovereignty were necessarily diminished by the principle that discovery gave exclusive title to those who made it."

“It is to be presumed that in this matter the United States would be governed by such considerations of justice as would control a Christian people in their treatment of an ignorant and dependent race.”

Indian Removal Act "factory system") are abolished by Congress, at which time

In 1838 and 1839, as part of Andrew Jackson's Indian removal policy, the Cherokee nation was forced to give up its lands east of the Mississippi River

and to migrate to an area in present-day Oklahoma. The Cherokee people called this journey the "Trail of Tears," because of its devastating effects. The migrants faced hunger, disease, and exhaustion on the forced march. Over 4,000 out of 15,000 of the Cherokees died.

1835 - The Texas Rangers are organized to campaign against the Comanche.

1835-42 - Second Seminole War.

1837 - Smallpox epidemic among Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara tribes of the upper Missouri. From 1837-70, at least four different smallpox epidemics ravage western tribes.

1834 - Congress reorganizes the Indian offices, creating the U.S. Department of Indian Affairs (War Department). The Trade and Intercourse Act redefines the Indian Territory and Permanent Indian Frontier, and gives the army the right to quarantine Indians.

In the United States, an the Indian reservation is land which is managed by a Native American tribe under the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs. The land is federal territory and Native Americans have limited national sovereignty.

Westward Expansion the

The Peace Commission at the Fort Laramie Treaty 1868

  • The pattern is set:

  • Treaty

  • Treaty is Broken

  • Move the Indians to Reservations

1853-56 - United States acquires 174 million acres of Indian lands through 52 treaties, all of which are subsequently broken by whites.

1845-48 - War between the United States and Mexico over the American annexation of Texas. Many Indian tribes become part of the United States.

1846 - Oregon Country becomes part of the United States as a result of a settlement with England.

1849 - Bureau of Indian Affairs transferred from the War Department to the Department of the Interior.

1850-60 - Cholera epidemic among the Indians of the Great Basin and southern plains.

1851 - Yuma and Mojave Uprising in California and Arizona.

GERONIMO American annexation of Texas. Many Indian tribes become part of the United States.

Mexican soldiers massacred his first wife and three children during a supposedly peaceful trading session in 1858, and as a result he hated all Mexicans for the rest of his life.

Geronimo (June 16, 1829–February 17, 1909) was a prominent Native American leader of the ChiricahuaApache who long warred against the encroachment of the white man on tribal lands. Geronimo died on Feb. 17, 1909, a prisoner of war, unable to return to his homeland.

Famous Chiefs

The Dawes Act and Assimilation American annexation of Texas. Many Indian tribes become part of the United States.

Indian children, seen as the key to assimilation, were forcibly taken from their homes and sent to school.

In 1887, the government instituted the Dawes Act to accelerate assimilation by dissolving the reservations and allotting land to individual Indians. Most tribes resisted, refusing to give up their culture and unique ways of life.

"...the real aim of [the Dawes Act] is to get at the Indians land and open it up for resettlement." - Senator Henry M. Teller, 1881

Congressman Henry Dawes once expressed his faith in the civilizing power of private property with the claim that to be civilized was to "wear civilized clothes...

cultivate the ground, live in houses, ride in Studebaker wagons, send children to school, drink whiskey [and] own property."

Studebaker Wagon

To get on the Dawes Rolls, Native Americans had to "anglicize" their names. This bit of "melting pot" chicanery allowed agents of the government, to slip the names of their relatives and friends onto the Dawes Rolls and thus reap millions of acres of land for their friends and cronies.

Tom Torlino, a Navajo who was "civilized" at an Indian Training School

Land held by Native American tribes before the Dawes Act and 100 years later.

Native children at the Carlisle Indian school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. This school forced native children removed from their home to be acculturated to white culture. Many of the children died because of bad food and conditions.

We Must Civilize and Educate the Indians Pennsylvania. This school forced native children removed from their home to be acculturated to white culture. Many of the children died because of bad food and conditions.

A conversation between Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe and one of the government commissioners who was trying to convince Chief Joseph of the advantages of having a government funded school located on the agency.

Why do you not want schools?" the commissioner asked. "They will teach us to have churches," Joseph answered. "Do you not want churches?" "No, we do not want churches." "Why do you not want churches?" "They will teach us to quarrel about God, Joseph said. "We do not want to learn that. We may quarrel with men sometimes about things on this earth, but we never quarrel about God. We do not want to learn about that."

Captain Richard Henry Pratt, 10th Cavalry, founder of the Carlisle School for Indian Students

His Motto, "Kill the Indian, save the man"

Contrary to his argument for assimilation, federal policy served to continue the segregation of Indians on the increasingly squalid reservations.

The terms of the Treaty of Fort Laramie concluded in 1868 granted the Lakota a single large reservation that covered parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, and four other states. However, about one half of this reservation was confiscated by the United States government.

Today, the reservation does not have water and sewer systems, making it difficult to live in sanitary conditions. With few jobs available many tribal members have no job and two-thirds of the population survives on much less than one-third the American average income.

The Carlisle School for Indian StudentsBlack Hills of Dakota are sacred to the Sioux Indians. Disputes continue to this day.

Custer’s Black Hills Camp

  • 1851 - Treaty of Fort Laramie Carlisle School for Indian Students

  • Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Crow, Shoshone, Assiniboine, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara nations.

  • Safe passage for settlers on the Oregon Trail

  • Annuity in the amount of fifty K annually for fifty years

  • Roads and forts to be built in Indian territories

Congress later unilaterally cut appropriations for the treaty to ten years' annuities, and several tribes never received the commodities promised as payments.

1868 - Treaty of Fort Laramie Guaranteed the ownership of the Black Hills, and further land and hunting rights in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. The Powder River Country was to be henceforth closed to all whites.

In the 1870s Gold was discovered! The area was opened to white settlement and about one half of this reservation was confiscated by the United States government.

At Sand Creek on November 29, 1864, Carlisle School for Indian Students John Chivington led the Colorado Volunteers in a dawn attack on Black Kettle and his band, who had been told they would be safe on this desolate reservation. Two hundred Cheyenne men, women and children were slaughtered, and their corpses often grotesquely mutilated, in a massacre that shocked the nation.

Black Kettle’s repeated efforts to secure a peace with honor for his people, despite broken promises and attacks on his own life, speak of

Black Kettle

John Chivington

The butcher of Sand Creek, stands out as one of the most controversial figures in the history of the American West.

him as a great leader with an almost unique vision of the possibility for coexistence between white society and the culture of the plains.

Sitting Bull (1831-1890) Carlisle School for Indian Students- He had distinguished himself from an early age as a leader, killing his first buffalo at ten and "counting coup" (touching the enemy without their knowing) at fourteen. Because of his leadership during these times he was named principle chief of the Teton Sioux Nation in 1867.

1871 - General Sheridan issues orders forbidding western Indians to leave reservations without permission of civilian agents.

1871 - White hunters begin wholesale killing of buffalo.

1871 - Indian burial grounds invaded by whites seeking bones for manufacture of buttons.

1876-77 - Sioux War for the Black Hills, involving the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahos, under Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.

1876, the Battle of Little Bighorn.

The Battle of the Little Bighorn, 1876 Indians to leave reservations without permission of civilian agents.

In late 1875, Sioux and Cheyenne Indians defiantly left their reservations, outraged over the continued intrusions of whites into their sacred lands in the Black Hills.

The Army dispatched three columns to attack in coordinated fashion. In less than an hour, Custer and his men were killed in one of the worst American military disasters ever.

Sitting Bull was given major credit for the defeat.

Within a year, the Sioux nation was defeated and broken. "Custer's Last Stand" was their last stand as well.

1877 - Flight of the Nez Perce Indians to leave reservations without permission of civilian agents.

1877 - General Oliver Otis Howard threatened a cavalry attack to force Joseph's band and other hold-outs onto the reservation. Believing military resistance futile, Joseph reluctantly led his people toward Idaho.

What followed was one of the most brilliant military retreats in American history. General Sherman could not help but be impressed with the 1,400 mile march, stating that "the Indians throughout displayed a courage and skill that elicited universal praise... [they] fought with almost scientific skill, using advance and rear guards, skirmish lines, and field fortifications." In over three months, the band of about 700, fewer than 200 of whom were warriors, fought 2,000 U.S. soldiers and Indian auxiliaries in four major battles and numerous skirmishes.

"Chief Joseph" (1840-1904)

He died in 1904, still in exile from his homeland

“It is cold, and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are -- perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.”

Although he had surrendered with the understanding that he would be allowed to return home, Joseph and his people were instead taken first to eastern Kansas and then to a reservation in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) where many of them died of epidemic diseases.

By the 1880's the U.S. government had managed to confine almost all of the Indians on reservations, usually on land so poor that the white man could conceive of no use for it themselves. The rations and supplies that had been guaranteed them by the treaties were of poor quality, if they arrived at all. Graft and corruption were rampant in the Indian Bureau.

For several years following their subjugation in 1877, 1878, and 1879 the most dangerous element of the Cheyenne and the Sioux were under military control. Many of them were disarmed and dismounted; their war ponies were sold and the proceeds returned to them in domestic stock, farming utensils, wagons, etc.

The Ghost Dance

Wovoka, the almost all of the Indians on reservations, usually on land so poor that the white man could conceive of no use for it themselves. Paiute medicine man and mystic whose visions of a world without white men, renewed by the spirits of the dead, inspired the late 1880's Ghost Dance movement among western tribes.

Representatives from tribes all over the nation came to Nevada to meet with Wovoka and learn to dance the Ghost Dance and to sing Ghost Dance songs.

“When you get home you must make a dance to continue five days. Dance four successive nights, and the last night keep up the dance until the morning of the fifth day, when all must bathe in the river and then disperse to their homes.”

According to the prophecy, the recent times of suffering for Indians had been brought about by their sins, but now they had withstood enough under the whites.

Arapaho Ghost Dance

Indians had to live harmoniously and honestly, cleanse themselves often, and shun the ways of the whites, especially alcohol, the destroyer.

The Ghost Dance religion promised an apocalypse in the coming years. The earth would be destroyed, only to be recreated with the Indians as the inheritors of the new earth.

White officials became alarmed at the religious fervor and activism and in December 1890 banned the Ghost Dance on Lakota reservations.

Wounded Knee Officers

The Indians were rounded up and ordered to set up camp at Wounded Knee.

The soldiers now numbered around 500; the Indians 350, all but 120 of these women and children.

An Army Officer Looking at the Dead

"Indians are dancing in the snow and are wild and crazy....We need protection and we need it now. The leaders should be arrested and confined at some military post until the matter is quieted, and this should be done now."

Colonel James Forsyth arrived to take command and ordered his guards to place four Hotchkiss cannons in position around the camp. He was ordered to arrest Bigfoot and Sitting Bull.

Miniconjou Chief Big Foot lies dead in the snow. He was among the first to die on December 29, 1890

The soldiers tried to disarm the Indians. A scuffle ensued and the shooting began.

When the Indians ran to take cover, the Hotchkiss artillery opened up on them, cutting down men, women, children alike, the sick Big Foot among them.

"The terrible effect may be judged from the fact that one woman survivor, Blue Whirlwind...received fourteen wounds, while each of her two little boys was also wounded by her side..." (James Mooney, 1896, The Ghost Dance Religion)

Nelson A. Miles who was the ranking officer had this to say: and the shooting began.

"Wholesale massacre occurred and I have never heard of a more brutal, cold-blooded massacre than that at Wounded Knee. About two hundred women and children were killed and wounded; women with little children on their backs, and small children powder burned by the men who killed them being so near as to burn the flesh and clothing with the powder of their guns, and nursing babes with five bullet holes through them....

Col. Forsyth is responsible… allowing his troops to be in such a position that the line of fire of every troop was in direct line of their own comrades or their camp"

By the end of this brutal, unnecessary violence, which lasted less than an hour, at least 150 Indians had been killed and 50 wounded. Forsyth was later charged with killing the innocents, but exonerated.

It has been called both a battle and a massacre, but what Wounded Knee has come to symbolize is a clash of cultures and a failed government Indian policy. It was the last Indian resistance until the siege of 1973.