Wounded Knee Massacre 124 Years Ago

The Wounded Knee Massacre is when most American history books drop American Indians from history.

By Levi Rickert

Posted on Nativenewsonline.net


One hundred and twenty-four winters ago, on December 29, 1890, some 150 Lakota men, women and children were massacred by the US 7th Calvary Regiment near Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Some estimate the actual number closer to 300.

Snowfall was heavy that December week. The Lakota ancestors killed that day were left in brutal frigid wintry plains of the reservation before a burial party came to bury them in one mass grave. The photograph of Big Foot’s frozen and contorted body is a symbol for all American Indians of what happened to our ancestors.

Some of those who survived were eventually taken to the Episcopal mission in Pine Ridge. Eventually, some of them were able to give an oral history of what happened. One poignant fact of the massacre has remained in my mind since first reading it, and every time I think about Wounded Knee, I remember this:

“It was the fourth day after Christmas in the Year of Our Lord 1890. When the first torn and bleeding bodies were carried into the candlelit church, those who were conscious could see Christmas greenery hanging from the open rafters. Across the chancel front above the pulpit was strung a crudely lettered banner: “Peace on earth, good will to men,”

writes Dee Brown in “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.”

There was no peace on earth for the Lakota four days after Christmas.

Later, as absurd as it may sound, some 20 US Calvary soldiers were given the Medal of Honor – for killing innocent Lakota men, women and children. What an insult to those who lost their lives. What an insult to humanity.

The Wounded Knee Massacre is a symbol for all American Indians of what happened to our ancestors.

History records the Wounded Knee Massacre was the last battle of the American Indian war. Unfortunately, it is when most American history books drop American Indians from history, as well. As if we no longer exist.

Fortunately, American Indians have survived – one generation after another – since Wounded Knee. It is for us who remain to remember our ancestors as we make for a better life for those we encounter today. We are also taught to prepare for the next seven generations, but as we do, we must remember our ancestors.

We remember those ancestors lost on December 29 — 124 winters ago.


6 thoughts on “Wounded Knee Massacre 124 Years Ago

  1. American Indians must NEVER forget this atrocity. I’m Black but there is so much i need to keep in my heart about my ancestry as well. …but we must all remember that it’s not solely American Indian history or Black history. It is and always will be AMERICAN history whether others like it or not…

    • Both your history and that of Native Americans intersect. The Seminoles allowed escaped slaves to live and work on their lands. one of the reasons the US government was so brutal towards Native cultures.

  2. We really need to understand WHO the enemy really is, its not your neighbor, its not blacks, Indians, white, hispanics or other race – IT IS GOVERNMENT! Look at history of the 20th century, 270+ million people murdered by their own governments.

  3. I dont know how they are, my family history is lost to me. All I do know is my great grandmothers last name ( Cody) and my grandmother’s name was “I-Own Beck” if anyone can help me out with this problem, I would be forever grateful

  4. Nothing will ever change in our country until all of the atrocities against man is recorded accurately so that the truth is there for everyone to see and then understand that the government kills and has no regret and then the masses can begin to heal and not look down on others for government created racism.

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