by Jerry Green

I have spent the past few years researching the events leading up to the massacre at Wounded Knee on December 29, 1890, and it's aftermath. Some of my findings appear below.

Examinations of the Ghost Dance began almost as soon as the smoke cleared over Wounded Knee and continue to this day. The first detailed study was James Mooney, "The Ghost Dance Religion and the Sioux Outbreak of 1890," Fourteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, 1892-3, Pt. II (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1896). See also Robert M. Utley, The Last Days of the Sioux Nation. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1963); Raymond J. DeMallie, "The Lakota Ghost Dance: An Ethnohistorical Account," Pacific Historical Review. 51 (1982): 385-405; and Richard E. Jensen, R. Eli Paul, and John E. Carter, Eyewitness at Wounded Knee. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991), and finally, my book (Jerry Greens') After Wounded Knee: Correspondence of Major and Surgeon John Vance Laduerdale While Serving with the Army Occupying the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, 1890-1891. (East Lancing: Michigan State University Press,1996).

One of my ultimate goals is to have the twenty Congressional Medals of Honor described rescinded. As a student of Native American History, a veteran, and an American citizen I find the awarding of these Medals revolting. John Kennedy once said, you can tell the character of a nation by the people that nation honors. If that is true, and I believe it is, these Medals are an insult to all Americans, not just the people of the First Nations.

This article was taken from a version first published in Nebraska History in the Summer of 1994. I have added additional information and details space constraints would not allow in the published version. The research has been thorough and the conclusions are mine alone. I welcome any and all comments, and suggestions. If you believe I have made an error of fact, or omission please notify me.

This work is copyrighted, but feel free to use all or part of it in your research. All I ask is that proper credit be given.

Thank you for reading, and I sincerely hope that you enjoy it, and are at least somewhat enlightened by it...Jerry Green.

One more thing before I let you go... As mentioned above, my book, After Wounded Knee: Correspondence of Major and Surgeon John Vance Lauderdale While Serving with the Army Occupying the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, 1890-1891 (March, '96), has just been published and I'd like to tell you a little bit about it.

The Wounded Knee Massacre of December 29, 1890, known to U.S. military historians as the last battle in "the Indian Wars," was in reality another tragic event in a larger pattern of conquest, destruction, killing, and broken promises that continues to characterize U.S. policy toward Native Americans. Arriving to take up duties at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota only days after this encounter between the Seventh Cavalry and Lakota civilians, in which more than 260 Lakota men, women, and children were killed, Army Surgeon John Vance Lauderdale wrote a series of extended letters to his wife describing what happened. This body of correspondence contains details of daily life on the Pine Ridge Reservation under military occupation. He also shares his views on the Wounded Knee massacre itself and on other tragic events, such as the cold-blooded murders of Few Tails and Lt. Casey. Lauderdale treated the wounded, both Seventh Cavalry soldiers and Lakota civilians. He had little sympathy for the military command and expressed outrage at the tactics used against the Lakota, who he saw as being goaded into a situation by white ranchers, land speculators, government agents, and the U.S. Army. After Wounded Knee contains letters that are part of the John Vance Lauderdale Papers in the Western American Collection in Yale University's Beinecke Library. It is a "must read" title for anyone interested in what happened to a Lakota remnant on a cold winter's morning more than a century age. The book is available from the Michigan State University Press. Thank you for your attention... Jerry Green.

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