29 December 2015

On This Day: Army kills Sioux

It was On This Day in 1890 that the US Army slaughtered over 100 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in South Dakota. Tensions had been high for some time at the Pine Ridge Reservation. The US had been gathering up Native Americans throughout the Plains and relocating them to reservations, robbing them of their land.

Colonel James Forsyth led the 7th Calvary in the massacre. Forsyth’s men surrounded Sioux Chief Big Foot and his followers and were in the process of stripping them of their weapons. A fight broke out. A shot was fired. The Sioux had no weapons. They were soon gunned down and slaughtered.

In the end, the 7th Calvary had murdered 146 Native Americans and left another 51 wounded. Of the 146 dead, 44 were women and 18 were just children. The Army lost 25 and suffered 39 wounded.

The following day the headline of The Topeka State Journal, in Topeka, Kansas, screamed “Bloodshed.” Subheadlines read “Redskins Treacherously Fire on Col. Forsythe’s Command,” and “Three Hundred Indians Sent to Their Death,” among others. Written clearly with a slant against the Native Americans, the Topeka State Journal went on to announce that while the soldiers were disarming Big Foot and his men, who surrendered according to the report, a fight occurred resulting in about 300 Indians being killed and several soldiers, including Captain Wallace.

While Big Foot and his men are not named specifically, the Topeka State Journal lists the killed and wounded soldiers.


Topeka State Journal. (Topeka, KS), 30 December 1880. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress.

US Army massacres Sioux at Wounded Knee. This Day In History 1890. History.com

On This Day is a prompt to further explore historical events.


© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015

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