Tragedy at Wounded Knee Response Essay

Indians in America from the beginning of the new world have always been mistreated. Our American government has run them off their lands massacred thousands and taken their means of life. We killed off all their buffalo made them migrate to camps or reservations were the ground was unable to grow the Indians crops. So the Indians no longer had buffalo to live off or land that was sufficient enough to grow food they were not able to survive the way they were able to for hundreds of years.

We also tried to in a way brainwash them and make them accustomed to our culture and they were unable to speak their native tongues or practice their old ways and were expected to survive. The Indians were left no choice but to take the white mans offer or treaties because they had nothing left. The Indians were deprived of their game buffalo and their land in order to survive the Indians had to agree to the white mans bargains. Red Cloud helps in displaying how his people were cornered into agreeing to treaties where they were given no benefits at all.

Red cloud states “When we first mad the treaties with the Government, our old life and our old customs were about to end; the game on which we lived was disappearing; the whites were closing around us, and nothing remained for us but to adopt their ways” Red Cloud is saying that they had no choice. The Indians culture as they knew it was beginning to diminish the land no longer simply be land but will be someone’s property. For years the Indians will be tricked and forced into having to obey the white man and be moved and secluded from society.

The recollection of Wounded Knee by Flying Hawk is very gruesome and savage; the white men surrounded these poor weak Indians consisting of men women and children. The white men had machine guns surrounding the village and were going tepee to tepee searching for any weapons. Flying Hawk recalls “a shot from a tepee blamed on a Indian”. After the shot was heard the white men open fire into the crowd of huddled Indian families. It is simply barbaric these poor innocent Indians who have done nothing being fired upon by machine guns with no protection or shelter.

The Indians had no means to fight back and the white man had no reason to feel threatened but out of pure hate of these Indians the white men killed innocent men, women and children. After the attack Flying Hawk recalls there was a terrible blizzard that came through freezing the dead corpses and after two days as they began to dump the corpses into a trench many were women some even bearing children in their arms who were still alive. This is astonishing and very gruesome, these men and woman have been ill treated by the white man their whole lives and now are being massacred for no apparent reason.

According to Benjamin Harrison the people of the Sioux are naturally aggressive and warlike people that even though they may have had just complaints they were still a threat to the government officials and the settlers there. The Indians had preached of a coming messiah who would help them defeat their enemies, Harrison gave permission to General Miles to “all such forces as we thought by him to be required” were at his disposal but with the “least possible loss of lives”.

This is horrible justification, they were to subdue any rebellious outburst by the Sioux in order to protect the white settlers that were there, yet in order to do so they felt necessary to kill innocent unprotected women and children who were merely trying to survive the chaos. After saying this Harrison goes on to say “this work has proceeded upon lines of justice toward the Indian” the white man is taking all of the Indians land, has taken many of the Indians lives and is saying this is justice.

The Indians land is being taken for Americans seeking free land due to American laws such as squatters. The white man is going to be able to turn the Indians wasteland into farmlands and make them useful. This is hardly benefiting anyone but the squatters, the injustice the Indians had to suffer through was terrible and the hardship the government made them deal with is unbelievable. Indians have been mistreated by the government for many years and the massacre at Wounded Knee may have been the last straw as Indians started to stand up for themselves.

They had been standing up for themselves before hand but the only way they knew how, by physically fighting back. They had no chance against Americans guns and eventually machine guns, they had to adapt to Americas way and become educated in law. They start to fight back intellectually and through law in order to get their justice but the damage had been done. It is amazing the hardships the Indians had to go through and how they had to adapt to a completely foreign concept. I can only imagine the horror of being chased out of my own home and basically left for dead on a land I knew nothing about.