What Happened at Wounded Knee?

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There were two main events that took place in or near Wounded Knee, the last one in 1973. This event occurred as members of the Oglala Lakota and American Indian Movement seized Wounded Knee, a town in South Dakota. The Wounded Knee Massacre, the more historic of the two events, took place on December 29, 1890.

In 1973, protests came about after the organization called Oglala Civil Rights tried to impeach Richard Wilson for corruption. Their failure led to the activists controlling the entire town for more than 70 days. The United States Marshal Service and the FBI were in place to ensure peaceful protests, but things got out of hand. One of the people who died was a U.S. Marshal. The damage that occurred in the town was so significant that it remained empty for nearly 20 years.

In 1890, a large group of Sioux Indians camped out at Wounded Knee Creek on their way to the Pine Ridge Reservation where they intended to seek safety. U.S. troops had intercepted the tribe on their way to the reservation and forced them to camp at the creek. The troops surrounded the camp in hopes of arresting the chief and disarming the rest of the tribe. A shot was fired in the early morning, which led to mayhem and violence. More than 300 women, children and men died during the uprising.