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Wounded Knee Massacre: Topics in Chronicling America

In 1890, anxiety about the Ghost Dance prompts US Army troops to shoot Native Americans at Wounded Knee. This guide provides access to material related to the "Wounded Knee Massacre" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.

Introduction

Photograph of the monument at Wounded Knee. June 1, 1916. The Oglala Light (Pine Ridge, SD), Image 46. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

In the late 1880s, US government anxiety about the Native American Ghost Dance Movement prompted many crackdowns on large Native American gatherings. On December 29, 1890, tragedy occurred as US Army troops fired upon Native Americans at Wounded Knee creek on the Pine Ridge Reservation, leaving an estimated 200 people dead. The incident was controversially referred to initially as a “battle” and inspired conflict and backlash that would fuel later Native American movements. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.

Timeline

November 1890 US Troops move into Pine Ridge Reservation area due to concerns about the Ghost Dance movement.
December 29, 1890 While disarming Native Americans, a skirmish breaks out. The US Army fires on the Native Americans, killing an estimated 200 Native Americans and wounding many more.
January 1891 General Forsythe is removed from command over the incident, but is acquitted of wrongdoing and restored to command.
June 1903 Native Americans build a monument at Wounded Knee to honor the dead.
1912 The previously accepted term “Battle of Wounded Knee” is changed to the “Wounded Knee Massacre” by some newspapers.
1914 A historical reenactment of Wounded Knee is filmed for a movie.