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Wounded Knee Creek is located in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
As 1890 came to a close, Lakota Sioux tribal members who followed Wovoka, a Paiute leader and prophet, were gathered at Pine Ridge to share in the Ghost Dance, a pow wow or gathering based on the belief that a time was coming when non-Indians would be expelled from the area, hunting would return to former levels, and Indian ancestors would come back to life.
Big Foot, a Miniconjou Sioux chief, and many of his followers, along with some members of the recently killed Sitting Bull's group, were on their way to join the Lakota at Pine Ridge. The Lakota had offered their assistance in trying to negotiate a conclusion to the killing by the white troops attempting to drive the Indians onto the reservation and/or out of the territory.
The Seventh Cavalry leadership became increasingly frustrated as they were unable to locate Big Foot and the others as they traveled through the Badlands on their way to Pine Ridge. Orders were eventually issued to locate the Indians and "If he fights, destroy him."
On December 29, 1890, these orders were obeyed. Historians don't know which side fired the actual first shot, but the heavily armed military forces shot and killed Big Foot and 270-300 of his people, mostly women and children. The massacre, and Wounded Knee, became powerful symbols of the attitude of the United States military (and government that ordered the military) toward the Indians in the Great Plains.
Wounded Knee is a place. Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee is a book by Dee Brown. According to the Enotes summary it "depicted, in detail, the U.S. government's attempt to acquire Native Americans' land by using a mix of threats, deception, and murder.
That might be correct, but I would add "by the use of lawyers."
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