Wounded Knee Massacre

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  • Topic: Wounded Knee Massacre, Sitting Bull, Ghost Dance
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  • Published : May 20, 2013
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US History Mid-Term Essay

1a. Describe at least four important factors that led up to the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. In addition, explain the significance of Wounded Knee in the larger context of the Indian Wars.

The Wounded Knee massacre occurred in 1890 between white American settlers and the Sioux people. The Sioux refused to follow US military orders to give up their weapons and instead engaged in battle. Over 300 people, including women and children, were massacred during the battle. This effectively ended the Plains Indians resistance to white settlement. 

The Plains Indians way of life was threatened by white settlement. There were fundamental cultural differences between the two that made coexistence difficult. One of the major differences was that the Indians were nomads and the Americans liked to make big settlements. Also, the Indians were used to living off the buffalo but they now had to learn how to farm. To add to the tension, the Indians culture was being stripped away as they had to learn to speak English, stay in one place, live without the Buffalo, and farm. Plus, The US government's change in policy forced them to move into smaller and smaller reservations, as American seized their land.

The plains Indians had prohibitions against land ownership. They thought the land was sacred and couldn't be owned. They also thought the buffalo were sacred. So, when the whites came in and their sacred land and buffalo like nothing more than resources, it caused further discontent. Sitting bull, the leader of the Sioux, claimed to have prophesies and encouraged resistance against white settlers. Then, Wovoka came up with the ghost dance which would supposedly make the Messiah come in and kill all the whites. This gave them the confidence they needed to resist the white settlers.

General Custer and his seventh Calvary try to disbanded group of armed see you and were completely wiped out. This victory gave the seeing a lot of confidence. US...
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