Giving Back to Wounded Knee Foundation


In the late 1880's, the Pauite Shaman Woboka (Wovoka) gave the American Indians of the Great Plains some much needed hope.

He taught that the traditional ways of the Native Americans could return, after many of them had been "herded" into military corrals (Reservations) where they would be forced to depend on the government handouts and live the "White" life. The Shaman taught that the spirits of their dead would return, the buffalo would come back in abundance, and a tidal wave of soil and prairie grasses would feed the main food source, the buffalo, bury the Whites, and restore once again the original prairies which had been their homes and freedom for 10,000 years or more.

In order to bring these events to pass, dancers needed to dance what was referred to as the "Ghost Dance". The dancers would wear brightly colored shirts decorated with eagles and buffalos. The ghost shirts would protect the wearer from the bullets of the soldiers. The Great Chief, Sitting Bull encouraged the Ghost Dance.

By 1890 (my own grandmother was already eleven years old, having been born in 1879), White settlers and the Indian Agents in charge of overseeing the Reservation(s) were fearful of the optimistic and encouraged Native Americans. General Nelson A. Miles assembled an army of over 5,000 soldiers to contain the Native Indians in the area. The government ordered that the chiefs of the "offending" tribes were to be arrested and brought to the fort. While attempting to arrest the Great Sitting Bull, the famous Chief was killed by a Native Police Officer employed by the U.S. Troops.

Upon hearing about the death of Sitting Bull, Chief Big Foot, and approximately 300 of his band headed south through the deep winter snow, seeking protection they felt the Pine Ridge Reservation could offer them. Col. James W. Forsyth and his troops intercepted them and surrounded them in the dead of night on Wounded Knee Creek where they were all sleeping in their camps.


Wounded Knee Massacre Site

On December 29, 1890 Big Foot and his band of Indians, including women and children, camped in the deep snow in the ravine, seeking protection at the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Wolf Pack