Wild West Discussion – December 2010

Historians have called the clash at Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890, the last major battle of the Indian wars and also a massacre. Who is most to blame for the disaster—Ghost-Dancing Indians, trigger-happy soldiers, unskilled and corrupt Indian agents, a lax Congress, racist newspapermen or U.S. Indian policy in general?

4 Responses

  1. Bill Blazer

    Interesting question. I feel that there is guilt in all except the Indians. There danceing was what they were led to believe was a religious ceremony.
    The 7th Caverly wanted revenge for what happened at the Little Big Horn, corrupt Indian agents who withheld the rations and all the other things that were due ubder the treaties that were made. Which of course we broke and never honorred. A Congress that never ratified the treaties and a press that was racist at best.So take your pick they all carrie some of the blame for the murders at Wounded Knee.
    Also note that Dee Browns book, “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” was just posted as a book baned, due to it’s contraversial nature… :-( Bill.

    Reply
  2. John Koster

    The catalyst of the Wounded Knee Massacre was the rivalry between Indian Agent James McLaughlin and Sitting Bull. When Sitting Bull was assassinated “resisting arrest,” Big Foot’s band fled and was intercepted. Daniel F. Royer, another Indiam Agent, contributed to the powder keg by making the Ghost Danmce sound far more dangerous than it was, The scuffle that touched off the fighting was between a nervous soldier and an Indian who was deaf and didn’t understand why he had to give up his rifle. The gunfight that followed was mutual fault and understandable, but the murder of women and children fleeing the gunfight was utterly gratutious and what we would call a “war crime” if somebody else did it.

    Reply
    • Larry C.

      Yes it was a crime! War crime or crime by military? It matters not how one labels it. This was the most famous but there were similar incidencwe in eastern Colorado and eastern Idaho.

      We have many phoney accusations of racisim for political gain these days but there was rampant racism then. Nearly every “Indian War” was caused by abuse, lies, greed and fraud by the Americans.

      Just look north into Canada. There were only a handfull of relatively minor incidences there. No massacres! The North-West Mounted Police treated the Indians with respect!

      Reply

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