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The events that took place on December 29, 1890 became known as the Wounded Knee Massacre. The events on that day left more than two hundred people dead over an escalation of a misunderstanding.The story goes that in a argument over a gun that belonged to a deaf tribesman a shot was fired. This caused the American men to open fire at will and when the Indians fired back to defend themselves it just made matters worse. Many Americans were awarded Medal of Honors for their roles on that day, although in recent years it has been a call to rescind them.

  • Picture of the Massacre
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As with all the Indian and American conflicts it consisted of Indians wanting to maintain control of their lands and the American Government wanting to take control. The issues between the Lakotas and the Americans in this case is no different. Treaties were meant to protect the Native American lands and reservations from American settlers and gold miners. However these were not used how they were suppose to be. This caused a great deal of unrest to come upon the reservations.

Agencies were set up this time to deal with Indian issues each area had their own agency that was in charge of a group of Indians. Chief Spotted Elk  had 350 men with him on route to his local agency when he was met by the 7th Calvary under the Command of  Major Whitside. A scout that could speak English advised the men not to disarm the Indians immediately as it would led to violence. So they escorted the Indians 5 miles to an encampment, where they surrounded the Indians with machine guns. On December 29, 1890 Colonel Forsyth ordered the removal of their weapons and to move them out of the military operations zone.

What occurred next is a little confusing but the thought is that there was a problem with one of the Indians giving up his rifle. He couldn't understand the orders and was confused to what they wanted. In the scuffle that ensued over the rifle it was discharged and the sound of the shot caused more guns to be fired. The Indians didn't stand a chance with the machine gun emplacements outside of the camp they were quickly cut down. The Indians that tried to flea were tracked down by American Soldiers their officers lost control of them in the chaos that followed. This event that took place is a black eye in history but at first the soldiers were awarded for their actions some 20 soldiers received Medal of Honors for the days events. In recent years there has been a call on the Medals of Honor that were awarded that day to be rescinded.