Wounded Knee Massacre Happened 126 Years Ago

Dec 29, 2016

Credit Charles Michael Ray / SDPB

Thursday marked the 126 anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre that took place in South Dakota.
 
An estimated 300 Sioux Indians were killed by U.S. troops who were sent to disarm them. The infamous day is a constant reminder in Indian country.

Donovin Sprague is Minneconjou from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and a descendent of those who survived that day. He is also an adjunct professor of American Indian Studies at Black Hills State University.
 
Sprague says the Wounded Knee massacre is an event that’s emblematic of what Native American’s think about on a daily basis….
 
“Loss of land, loss of language and traumatic events," Sprague says. "It’s just something that will never go away. I always like Black Elk’s quote that the hoop of life landed at Wounded Knee in 1890 and that we can always rebuild a hoop. It takes mending and healing.”
 
Sprague says dialogue surrounding the Wounded Knee massacre needs to continue and be learned from…
 
“It’s not like somebody coming and saying ‘Well, they’re waiting for someone to hold them and say I’m sorry.'" Sprague says. "It’s more about honoring those that died and how can we avoid those mistakes or are we learning from those mistakes or are we still doing that around the world. Are there similar events?”
 
Each year, a commemorative journey traces the path of Chief Spotted Elk’s band of Minneconjou Lakota who fled the Standing Rock Reservation in December of 1890 following the assassination of Chief Sitting Bull. Spotted Elk, also known as Big Foot, and hundreds of Lakota were on a 190 mile journey trying to make it to Pine Ridge.