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Folklore: Wounded Knee Anniversary

Related threads:
Lyr Req: Wounded Knee (Vic Abrams) (11)
BS: Film; Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee (55)

Fiolar 29 Dec 01 - 06:25 AM
GUEST,Bud 29 Dec 01 - 06:36 AM
Banjer 29 Dec 01 - 08:37 AM
katlaughing 29 Dec 01 - 08:44 AM
kendall 29 Dec 01 - 08:44 AM
katlaughing 29 Dec 01 - 08:47 AM
kendall 29 Dec 01 - 09:16 AM
Big Mick 29 Dec 01 - 10:08 AM
GUEST 29 Dec 01 - 10:19 AM
Rick Fielding 29 Dec 01 - 12:02 PM
GUEST 29 Dec 01 - 12:19 PM
kendall 29 Dec 01 - 04:22 PM
Mark Cohen 29 Dec 01 - 10:36 PM
khandu 29 Dec 01 - 10:45 PM
Kaleea 29 Dec 01 - 11:57 PM
katlaughing 30 Dec 01 - 12:34 AM
GUEST,AQ 28 Mar 02 - 06:05 AM
artbrooks 28 Mar 02 - 08:37 AM
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Subject: Wounded Knee Anniversary
From: Fiolar
Date: 29 Dec 01 - 06:25 AM

Today December 29th 2001 is the 111 anniversary of Wounded Knee. History books state that it was the last major conflict between the Indians and the United States army. That is if you can call a massacre of some three hundred men, women and children out of a total of 350 a "major conflict." The book by Dee Brown, "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" is worth reading. The final paragraph sums it all up. "It was the fourth day after Christmas in the Year of Our Lord 1890. When the first torn and bleeding bodies were carried into the candlelit church, those who were conscious could see Christmas greenery hanging from the open rafters. Across the chncel front above the pulpit was strung a crudely lettered banner:PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TO MEN."

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Subject: RE: BS: Wounded Knee Anniversary
From: GUEST,Bud
Date: 29 Dec 01 - 06:36 AM

I'm no authority on Wounded Knee, but the Dee Brown book is notoriously one-sided. I have read another account (long time ago, and I can't remember where) that stated that the Indians had concealed weapons with them and commenced firing upon their captors, whose pent-up feelings resulted not only in their returning fire, but in finishing the job and keeping no prisoners. I'm vouching for neither account, but one-sidedness is always inaccuracy.

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Subject: RE: BS: Wounded Knee Anniversary
From: Banjer
Date: 29 Dec 01 - 08:37 AM

We must keep in mind that the histories are usually written by the victors. Given other histories of atrocities against Native Americans by the United States Army and others, I tend to lean towards the Indians version of the stories. I've heard it said there were some 815 treaties signed by the US Govt. and NOT ONE was ever fulfilled!

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Subject: RE: BS: Wounded Knee Anniversary
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Dec 01 - 08:44 AM

Thanks, Fiolar, for the reminder.

Bud, this account mentions they had a "few" guns:

"Historians like to say that the Massacre of December 29, 1890, at Wounded Knee was the last major clash between federal troops and the Red Nation of this continent. This is blatantly untrue, though, and does an injustice to all those of the Red Nation who fought with or were massacred by the U.S. Army after 1890. Historians also like to say that the reason for the massacre was the desire to contain and quash the Ghost Dance religion among the Lakota people. Indian agents, who never took the time to understand the new religious movement, used it as an excuse for extermination of its adherents, and the agents sent many messages to Washington claiming that a violent outbreak was imminent. Nothing could be farther from the truth, however, because the Ghost Dance religion espoused peace, prayer, and dance.

"Chief Spotted Elk was a follower of the Ghost Dance, and, as the religion demanded, he was a man of peace, a respected leader whose people were cared for in the traditional ways of the Lakota. When Sitting Bull was murdered in cold blood on December 15, those of Sitting Bull's band feared for their lives and fled to the sanctuary and comfort of Chief Spotted Elk and his band. The arrival of these refugees and their panic added to the panic within Spotted Elk's band, who also believed that the murder of Sitting Bull heralded another wave of wanton murder by the Army of the Lakota people. The decision was made by the entire band, now including the refugees from Sitting Bull's band, that perhaps the only safe place was with Red Cloud at Pine Ridge. So, in December, when the bitter, cold winds and snows of December froze anything out and about, this band of over 300 elders, men, women, and children began their trip southward, fleeing for their lives and hoping to find refuge with Red Cloud.

"They were intercepted on December 28, 1890, by the U.S. Army and forced into a selected spot on Wounded Knee Creek a few miles away. Chief Spotted Elk, deathly ill from pneumonia, made it clear to the soldiers that they were peaceful and wanted no trouble. He and the other leaders of the band were assured that they and the band would spend the night on Wounded Knee Creek and then would be escorted by the Army to the agency at Pine Ridge. The next morning dawned clear and mild. Orders were given to "disarm the hostiles". This activity proceeded under the watchful eyes of several different units of the U.S. Army, deployed on the hillsides surrounding the camp. Within their ranks were the men of the 7th Cavalry, Custer's unit. Only a handful of men present that day on December 29, 1890, had been in the Battle of the Little Bighorn where Custer and so many men under his command fell in battle, but the unit knew its history, and wanted to "set things right" for Custer. Gatling guns and cannon were already dug into the hillsides amidst the Army units, all pointing downward into the valley of Wounded Knee Creek and Chief Spotted Elk's camp.

"Very few guns were found by those searching the Lakota people in camp, and the officers in charge were convinced that the band must have more and had hidden them in the camp somewhere. Things escalated as the disarmament turned into a search of the camp. The men grew restless. A medicine man began singing to calm the Lakota and to remind them that the Creator would take care of them. It is said by the survivors of that day that a young Lakota man, unable to hear, did not understand what was happening and that as the soldiers attempted to take his rifle away, the struggle between him and the soldiers resulted in the rifle firing a shot straight up into the air. Journalists on the scene stated that as the disarmament turned into a search, they could hear the clicks of safeties being taken off weapons and rifles being readied to fire and that the first shot actually came from among the soldiers on the hillside. Whatever is true, what all the survivors report is that the soldiers began wantonly firing into the camp. Women and children and the elderly began fleeing for their lives among the ravines that feed into Wounded Knee Creek. The soldiers hunted them down and shot them whereever they were found, up to several miles away. Survivors also report that at one point, all firing ceased and a call was made by the soldiers via translators among the scouts for all the kids to come out from hiding and they would be kept safe. When the kids did so, soldiers rode up and shot them.

"When it was presumed that all were dead, the Army marched away and left the bodies lying where they were. A storm blew in that evening and the temperatures plummeted. Snow began to fall. The bodies froze into grotesque shapes, and when the Army detail of civilians came back to bury them, they stacked the bodies like cordwood in wagons and dumped them, men, women, and children, together into mass graves. Later on still, the 7th Cavalry made up songs about how they had taken revenge for their unit and how they had murdered all the savages.

"The United States Army touted the massacre to the American public as "a fierce battle." The Army said they had been fired upon by the Lakota after attempting to peacefully disarm them. Historical investigation has revealed that it was a soldier that fired the first shot. The other soldiers heard the shot and began to kill without mercy. Twenty Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded to the butchers of those helpless men, women, and children."

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Subject: RE: BS: Wounded Knee Anniversary
From: kendall
Date: 29 Dec 01 - 08:44 AM

There was another "incident" at Wounded Knee in which someone shot an FBI agent. Leonard Pelltier is still in prison for that and it is widely believed that he did not do it.

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Subject: RE: BS: Wounded Knee Anniversary
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 Dec 01 - 08:47 AM

Here is Chapter 24 from "Black Elk Speaks" who was a survivor of the original Wounded Knee.

That's right, Kendall, and there are still many of us who work to free him. Clinton caved into pressure from the FBI when he'd said he would pardon him and set him free and then didn't.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wounded Knee Anniversary
From: kendall
Date: 29 Dec 01 - 09:16 AM

...the cannons roared and the Mitis died, and their blood flowed like a river,
Into the coolis they ran to hide
Their dreams were washed away
And their spirit died....

When I was much younger, I said the pledge of alliegence with a feeling of pride and goose flesh up my back. Now, when I hear..with liberty and justice for all, I think "Yeah, right."

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Subject: RE: BS: Wounded Knee Anniversary
From: Big Mick
Date: 29 Dec 01 - 10:08 AM

I am always troubled with the tendency of citizens of the U.S.A to conveniently forget the atrocities in our own country's history.We are so fond of touting that we are the greatest country in the world, that we fail to remember those things that were shameful. I am ofttimes attacked when I bring these things up as somehow being unpatriotic. The facts are that it is more patriotic to bring up these chapters. As great as my homeland is, its true greatness lies in being able to pick open these wounds and examine where we went wrong. The treatment of the aboriginal peoples of this great land is one such chapter. And no atrocity stands more stark against the sky than Wounded Knee. Thanks for starting this thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wounded Knee Anniversary
Date: 29 Dec 01 - 10:19 AM

To this day, the major daily newspaper for western South Dakota, the Rapid City Journal (or "The Urinal" as we like to call it) still refers to the 1890 massacre as a "battle" between the troops and civilians. Largely because of the propaganda attempts by a handful of second-rate historians who keep trying to perpetuate the myth that the civilians had it coming.

South Dakota is one of the most racist states in the Union, and it's governor, William Janklow, was involved in the rape of young American Indian woman who babysat for his children when he worked as a federal attorney on one of the reservations in the area. Leonard's story, and Janklow's complicity in it, is told in the excellent book "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse" by Peter Mathiessen.

And IMO, "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" ought to be required reading for every US history class in the nation.

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Subject: RE: BS: Wounded Knee Anniversary
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 29 Dec 01 - 12:02 PM

Just wanted to credit the quote that Kendall used. The song about the METIS rebellion and it's leader Louis Riel "The Last Battle", was written by my friend Bill Gallaher. Very powerful song. Bill and his buddy Jake Galbraith recorded it a few years ago. He's a friend of Gordon Bok's so maybe Gordon has also recorded it...not sure.


P.S. Bill Clinton's pardoning of absolutely despicable criminals at the end of his term (and not having the guts to address the Leonard Pelltier issue) hit me hard. It was his opportunity to exit with some semblance of class, but he simply once again proved most of his critics right. He had SUCH promise.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wounded Knee Anniversary
Date: 29 Dec 01 - 12:19 PM

Actually, I'd disagree vociferously of your depiction of Clinton Rick. I was never fooled by his "promise" or his liberal Republican in southern conservative Democrat clothing PR. I didn't vote for him, and I wasn't the least bit surprised to see him succumb to the unprecendented full court press by the FBI to prevent the pardon of Peltier at any cost.

Clinton's pardons went to the highest bidders. That *is* the kind of human being Clinton has always been.

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Subject: RE: BS: Wounded Knee Anniversary
From: kendall
Date: 29 Dec 01 - 04:22 PM

Rick, Gordon did record that song. It is very powerful. Mick, I know what you mean, we saw some of that right here not too long ago. Who was it who said "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel"??

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Subject: Lyr Add: THE LAST BATTLE (Bill Gallaher)
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 29 Dec 01 - 10:36 PM

Bill Gallaher's song "The Last Battle" was recorded by Gordon on In the Kind Land, as well as by Bill and Jake Galbraith on "The Grand Illusion". Here are the words, as transcribed from Bill and Jake's tape; I don't think they're in the DT.


(Bill Gallaher)

An east wind blew in the storms of time
Where the Métis lived by the winding river
For on a steel rail the settlers came
To the south Saskatchewan and the land they claimed

Oh come, Riel, we'll make a stand
Here at Batoche beside the river
Oh never mind their Gatling guns
If we lose this time, we've lost forever

Then three Métis and Gabriel
Rode like the wind to wild Montana
And on the sweet grass in a church of stone
They found their savior and they took him home

[CHORUS] Saying, "Come, Riel..."

Then the bullets flew and the cannons roared
And the Métis blood flowed like a river
Into the coulis where they ran to hide
It washed their dreams away and their spirits died


Then a silence stole across the land
The drums of war were gone forever
But in the starlight on the barren plains
The cry of Gabriel flies on the wind


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Subject: RE: BS: Wounded Knee Anniversary
From: khandu
Date: 29 Dec 01 - 10:45 PM

As Long As The Grass Grows, The Wind Blows and The Sky is Blue...

A sad day.


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Subject: RE: BS: Wounded Knee Anniversary
From: Kaleea
Date: 29 Dec 01 - 11:57 PM

Fiolar, I suspect that there are many who did not learn about Wounded Knee from History in public school or even in college. I learned from family & friends of Wounded Knee , as well as many other tragedies not taught in our public schools. I recall not too many years ago, Tom Brokaw did a TV special about Wounded Knee, filmed at that locale. It was extraordinary to see a major network news anchor giving prime time to that subject. The book "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" was given to me by my mother, and the other book mentioned above "Black Elk Speaks" was given to me by a family friend who decided that he would do one more project before his bum heart gave out completely, and that project was to produce "Black Elk Speaks." If these lessons are going to be learned, we who know of these truths, must teach them. We must educate our chidlren, our family, our friends, and we must take it upon ourselves to use our rights & privileges as Americans to do all we can to preserve the freedom of all Americans, so that these such tragedies do not occur again. For while we cannot erase the past, we can have an impact on the future. There are many in the arts who use their celebrity to make films, or music which can be beneficial to educate & further these causes. If you have never been around any Navite Americans, find an opportunity to take your family to cultural activities sponsored by local navite Americans in your community, as well as cultural activities in your community which might expose you or your children to Asian, Swedish, ect., you get the picture, I think. Yes, we should remember the past mistakes and learn from them, and propel our fellow travelers on planet earth into more peaceful times. We can set an example by practicing the "golden rule," someting which is often forgotten.

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Subject: RE: BS: Wounded Knee Anniversary
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Dec 01 - 12:34 AM

I went to Indian COuntry Today to see if they had any articles on this anniversary. Instead, I found this rather uplifting article about some of their grassroots leaders. I hope you enjoy reading it. It is from Dec. 8th, this year.

ITHACA, N.Y. — Leaders from across Indian country gathered at Cornell University to leave advice for their descendants in the new millennium. By the time they finished, they had told a remarkable story of their own generation.

More than 30 speakers at the late November weekend forum told their own life stories, often with great emotion, presenting a collective biography of 30 years of enormous change and revitalization.

Their stories illuminated the grass-roots movement that preceded the occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1970. They showed the deep influence of figures like Tom Porter, the Mohawk spiritual leader, and John Mohawk, the Seneca intellectual — names little known outside the Indian community — and how they inspired celebrities like former Cherokee Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller.

Although speakers dispensed hours of advice, many in the audience concluded their most important message was the example of their own lives.

The forum "American Indian Millennium: Renewing our Ways of Life for Future Generations" was sponsored by Cornell's Akwe:kon Press, publisher of Native Americas Journal, the Life Way foundation and Indian Country Today.

"We need to make fundamental changes in the way we view, process and present our culture to the next generation," explained Mohawk, a professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo. "We want to see our traditions made coherent in the world."

The conference featured a series of panels paired with responses from Indian youth, but one of its most revealing moments came in a program to honor Mankiller and Porter. Speakers traced the activism which erupted in the '70s with the occupation of Alcatraz and the siege of Wounded Knee back to a grass-roots movement called the White Roots of Peace, in which Porter and a group of elders traveled across the country to revive traditional ways.

"I can't tell you how much influence that group had in doing that kind of work," Mohawk said. "Groups in cars went from community to community. At each stop they would hold several days of meetings. People would tell about traditional knowledge.

"In 1968, '69, '70, it was not all that popular to identify yourself as a traditional Indian."

Mankiller became nationally famous serving as leader of the Cherokees from 1985 to 1995, but she told the audience she began her path of public service when she heard Porter speak at one of the meetings in the San Francisco area. "I was very young when I met him, but it shows what a difference one person can make.

"I will never forget when he got up on a chair and spoke. He said many things I felt but never articulated.

"It was as a result of Tom that I was drawn into public speaking and writing to share my experience with other people."

"Tom Porter made a generation of us," Mohawk said. His message came not only in his words, but in his personal example. "He actually represented traditional values. Without values, we don't really have a nation."

At another session Mohawk traced his own turning point to meeting with Porter 30 years earlier. He was a graduate student in business management when the traditional group came to campus "in a bluish-green bus. A lot of people piled out and one was Tom Porter.

"He told us, what are you doing here? You should be serving your own people."

After some ups and downs, Mohawk said he found himself in the late '70s running another seminal Indian institution, the newspaper Akwesasne Notes. The paper inspired a generation of Indian journalism, but in Mohawk's description, it was produced by a commune living off the land on top of a mountain in remote Owl's Head, N.Y. "We spent a lot of time chopping wood.

"It is absolutely remarkable we did as well as we did when we didn't have a business plan or a marketing strategy."

These grass-roots efforts were going on all over the country in a generation of tremendous change, Mohawk said, and speaker after speaker added examples.

"We started at zero and we're not at zero any more," Mohawk said. "In a way, 30 odd years is not so long. But, God, we shared a lot of adventures."

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Subject: RE: BS: Wounded Knee Anniversary
Date: 28 Mar 02 - 06:05 AM

A "must read book" Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

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Subject: RE: BS: Wounded Knee Anniversary
From: artbrooks
Date: 28 Mar 02 - 08:37 AM

The Wounded Knee tragedy was only one example in American history in which an unaimed and unintended shot had major consequences for both the participants and for society at large. Other occasions when this happened were the Boston Massacre, the Battle of Lexington and the shootings at Kent State.

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