Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where is Wounded Knee?

Wounded Knee is a narrow creek in north-western South Dakota in the United States. One night in 1890 some 400 Sioux Indians, led by Big Foot, camped in a hollow near the creek. The Sioux were on their way back to the reservation after a "ghost dance" ceremony, farther south in the Badlands.

In the morning the Seventh Cavalry lined up their Hotchkiss guns on the hill and the troopers took up positions round the Indian camp.

The Indians were ordered to hand over their weapons. Suspicious and fearful, they refused. In the subsequent search a shot was fired. At once the machine guns opened up, and in a short time, most of the Indians were dead. Survivors, including women and children, were pursued up the creek and gunned down. Heavy snow began to fall, and the bodies were left to freeze grotesquely where they lay. Several days later the dead were heaped on wagons and thrown into a mass grave.

The Seventh Cavalry were awarded 26 Congressional Medals of Honour for their part in the action. The Battle of Wounded Knee, or more accurately, the Massacre of the Big Foot Band, was the last battle to be fought in America's longest undeclared war.

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