conflict (Lakota). These words came from the mouth of a Native American who witnessed the event, and while it has never been confirmed that the first shot was fired by the Sioux, it would appear this is the common consensus. Despite the Native Americans appearing to be the aggressor, hell would rain down upon the small, usually peaceful tribe of Lakota Sioux. The approach to the battle was very systematic. The Army first made it their priority to kill the men, then came the women and children (Lakota). Before the massacre truly picked up, a few of the men attempted to be heroes. After being reluctant to surrender their weapons (Wounded Knee Massacre), the shot is fired, and those men drew their knives albeit too late (Lakota). By the time the battle was underway, the Army had already disarmed many Native Americans of their guns and bullets, leaving them with only knives to fight back. The Cavalry made short work of these brave Sioux men, in the process only loosing 25 to the knife-wielding Indians (Native American History). There were many men killed because they thought that their Ghost Shirts were going to protect them from all of the bullets being fired upon them (Massacre Wounded Knee). All it took was the pull of a trigger to prove just how ineffective these shirts truly were. A truce flag was set up, to which the Cavalrymen choose to disregard (Hoxie). This truce flag is a very curious piece of the story as many deaths took place right below it. Not even mothers made it out alive. Mothers fleeing with their babies were shot just as they made a desperate attempt to leave their homes (Lakota). Here is where the most heinous of the soldier’s actions seem to come in. The babies shared their mother’s fate; they are executed mercilessly alongside the grown men and women. There is a ravine that is close to the Wounded Knee Creek,
Speck 5 this was an opportune place for the soldiers to line up and shoot the fleeing men and women as they stumbled through it (Lakota). Nearly half of all the innocent people killed were women and children (Native American History). The official count of how many people died in the battle is debated to this day. Many sources list the number around 150 or so, that is because the Army buried 146 Native Americans before the blizzard settled in and halted progress (Hoxie). Because the burying of the bodies was done in two parts, no one knows the exact number of Sioux that are killed. The numbers fluctuate from the said 150 to slightly over 300 (Massacre Wounded Knee). This encounter between the Native Americans and the government would prove to be the last major fight between the two parties (Wounded Knee Massacre). Just after the fight the 1890 census was released and announced the frontier officially closed (Wounded Knee Massacre). The government found this massacre to be unavoidable and that it was entirely the fault of the Native Americans. This only led people to look at what appeared as the main cause, the Ghost Dance, which turned Wovoka into a pariah, unwanted by all of the Native American tribes across the United States (Weiser).
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- US History, Native Americans in the United States, Wounded Knee