What Caused the Wounded Knee Massacre?

The Wounded Knee Massacre was the result of fear and miscommunication between the white settlers and the Sioux. The whites were intimidated by the Ghost Dance movement that predicted their demise, and a scuffle between the two parties lead to a shot being fired and the ensuing massacre.

Although many historians refer to Wounded Knee as a battle, the Sioux had already laid down their weapons as requested by the soldiers. They were outnumbered and unarmed for the most part, and they were forlorn and defeated, having been forced off their land. At the end of the massacre, there were 146 Sioux deaths, including dozens of women and children. A total of 25 attacking soldiers also died.