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Author Topic: PzLdr History Facts  (Read 18891 times)
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« Reply #360 on: January 08, 2018, 01:29:57 pm »

It has been called a battle. It has been called a massacre. It has been blamed on the Army, particularly the 7th Cavalry. It has, occasionally, been blamed, in part on the Indians involved. But it has never been blamed on the proximate causes that brought the two sides together a t wounded Knee, militant Lakota who perverted the teachings of a Paiute mystic, and Indian Agents with a lack of spine worthy of serving in the congress.

By 1886, the Indian Wars were largely over, insofar as actual hostilities taking place. Geronimo, Naiche and the last of the Chiricahua Apaches had been sent to Florida. Peace reigned over the western part of America. but peace didn't mean happiness. The Indians were undergoing a traumatic change to their culture, their way of life, and their very existence. Once free roaming, they were confined to reservations. The buffalo were, for all extent and purposes, gone. The cultural marks for advancement for the men, hunting, horse staling and war were denied them. Their children were taken to "Indian Schools", like Carlisle, and shorn of their hair, their tribal identification, and their languages. In short, it was not a happy time for the tribes.

Enter Wovoka. Wovoka was a Paiute medicine man/mystic, like many before him [see Tecumseh's borther, the 'Prophet', and Neolin]. And like many of his predecessors, Wovoka had a vision, or series of visions, predicting the disappearance of the Whites, and the return of the old ways, via ceremonies involving what became known as the "Ghost Dance" [according to Wovoka, not only the buffalo, but all the dead ancestors would return]. But Wovoka's teachings, which included a jumbled version of Christianity were basically pacifistic. There was no call to violence against the whites.

Enter two Lakota 'envoys', Kicking Bear and Short Bull. The two carried Wovoka's teachings, and how to do the Ghost Dance back to the Lakota reservations. But they threw in one added fillip: According to them, wearing Ghost Shirts made the wearer impervious to bullets. and their version of Wovoka's theology was a sight more militant than it had been when they learned it from Wovoka.

The new religion swept the Sioux reservations. The Indians began almost unending dances. And large numbers of them traveled to the Badlands to spend all their time dancing and praying for the white man's disappearance. And the Indian Agent on the Pine hills reservation panicked. He first sent Indian Police to arrest Sitting bull, who he [wrongly] believed supported the Ghost Dance [Sitting Bull hadn't committed himself]. the result was the death of both Sitting bull, several of his followers and several Indian Police. But as Caesar would say,'the die was cast'. The Army took the field.

On December 28th, 1890, a mixed band of Minneconjou and Hunkpapa Sioux [the latter having fled after Sitting Bull's death], under Spotted Elk, a/k/a Big Foot, met a detachment of the7th Cavalry while traveling to the Pine Ridge reservation. the next day the rset of the 7th arrived.

The Indians were camped in a valley, with the cavalry around them, and a number of Hotchkiss guns surrounding them on the heights.
  As per agreement, the Indians were supposed to surrender their weapons. During that process, several troopers entered Tee Pees searching for weapons. At about the same time, one of the Lakota, allegedly deaf, was found with a rifle on his person. Either through miscommunication, his deafness, the cavalry's conduct, the Ghost Dance preaching, or a combination of all four, a shot was fired, although the perpetrator is, to this day unknown.

In any case, a fire fight erupted, and the Hotchkiss guns began to shell the village [several of the 7th's casualties may have been the result of 'friendly' fire], and groups of Indians fleeing it. By the time order was restored, almost 50 troopers were dead or wounded. But the Lakota had at least 150 dead and 50 wounded [some authors put the death toll higher]. among the dead was Spotted Elk. the survivors were taken to Pine Ridge. The deceased were buried on site in a mass grave. The Indian Wars were over.   

Once again, thank you PzLdr another historic event I always wondered about the whole truth. I think they have done movies about this...but I always take those with a grain of salt.
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