Wounded Knee: Two Things You Do Not Know

24 Apr 2021

This morning, the CAIRNS director shared an invited presentation about the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre during the South Dakota State Historical Society’s annual conference. The conference theme was South Dakota Icons: Well-Known, Peoples, Places and Things”. The presentation was titled, “Wounded Knee: Two Things You Do Not Know”. The two things were the weather on December 29, 1890, and how long the U.S. soldiers killed Lakotans that day. The weather that day was sunny and the temperture reached a high of 66 degrees; there was no snow. As for the killing, evidence overwhelmingly supports all of the Lakotan first-person accounts that state the soldiers killed until sun down. This strongly contradicts the mainstream characterizations that the killing lasted only “minutes” or maybe an hour.  Two other items shared addressed the ongoing issue of some authors and institutions refusing or failing to call the killings that happened that day a massacre. One example is the State Historical Society’s educational kit on mining that lists the massacre as the “Battle of Wounded Knee.” The other example is a 2019 publication, “South Dakota State Plan for Archaeological Resources,” that was "funded with federal funds from the National Park Service, US Department of the Interior," that refers to the massacre as a “tragedy at Wounded Knee.”

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