• In 1973, a whole lot of Native American activists occupied the city of Wounded Knee to demand the US authorities fulfill its treaties with the tribes.
  • The siege accelerated the motion for indigenous rights throughout the nation.
  • The Standing Rock protest that started 7 years in the past echoes the resistance at Wounded Knee.

Fifty years in the past, about 200 Native American activists occupied the city of Wounded Knee in South Dakota. Their calls for: elimination of a tribal president whom they accused of corruption, and for the US authorities to meet treaties with Native Individuals.

The occupation, led by members of the grassroots group American Indian Motion, lasted 71 days starting on February 27, 1973, with US Marshals called “The longest civil disorder” in historical past.

The Wounded Knee protest additionally sparked a nationwide motion for indigenous rights, drawing public consideration to the authorities’s historical past of injustice in opposition to Native Individuals and their sovereignty. Sachin Littlefeather cited enterprise in his controversial Oscar speech, and a long time later, many see echoes in it Dakota Access Pipeline protests at Standing Rock in April 2016.

“I didn’t come here to die. I came here to live with this water,” Vonda Lengthy, from the Cheyenne River Tribe in South Dakota Said Minnesota Public Radio at the Standing Rock protest in 2016. “I am a descendant of Wounded Knee, I survived and I want my people to survive.”

Federal troops block road to Wounded Knee

Federal troops block the street to Wounded Knee throughout a standoff between 200 members of the American Indian Motion and the authorities, 1973.

Agence France Presse/Getty Photos

historical past of injustice

The motion for Native American rights was fueled by an extended historical past of injustice, together with poverty and police brutality.

In 1968, the American Indian Motion was based to cease police harassment of Indians in the Minneapolis space. It emerged in the wake of the Indian Resettlement Act of 1956, an effort by the US authorities to assimilate Native Individuals by encouraging them to go away Indian reservations for city areas. critics say condemned coverage, which resulted in poverty, unemployment, and homelessness for the relocated Native Individuals.

“People were in the gutter and they wanted to get up,” journalist Kevin McKiernan, who covers enterprise for NPR, recalled AIM co-founder Dennis Banks saying.

Members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) drum and play to calm those commanding the outpost during the occupation of Wounded Knee

Members of the American Indian Motion beat drums and sing songs for outpost employees throughout the Occupation of Wounded Knee.

Bateman Archive/Getty Photos

The group is understood for its extremely seen demonstrations and propaganda campaigns. It selected the Pine Ridge Reservation village at Wounded Knee – certainly one of America’s poorest areas at the time – for its historic symbolism: it was a website 1890 MassacreWhen federal troops killed anyplace from 150 to 300 Lakota males, girls, and kids.

Throughout the Nineties, the US authorities had got worried about the rising affect of the Ghost Dance religious motion, which taught The Native Individuals had been defeated and confined to reservations as a result of that they had angered the gods by abandoning their conventional customs. On December 29, 1890, US forces surrounded a band of Ghost Dancers close to Wounded Knee Bay and demanded that they give up their weapons. The following preventing resulted in the dying of a whole lot of Native Individuals.

Opening of the Massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, 29 December 1890.  US Seventh Cavalry in battle with Lakota Sioux Native Americans.

Wounded Knee Bloodbath of Lakota Sioux Native Individuals in December 1890.

Common Historical past Archive/Getty Photos

Wounded Knee Legacy

When the American Indian Motion took over Wounded Knee a long time later in 1973, federal officers descended on the city. They exchanged gunfire, killing two natives and wounding and arresting a number of others, and commenced negotiations with the protesters. The activists lastly surrendered on 8 Might after the authorities promised to analyze their complaints.

However Congress took no main steps to repair the damaged treaties, regardless that the Supreme Courtroom dominated in 1980 that the Sioux had been owed cash for taking their land a century in the past. (The tribe has not accepted the compensation, which was Important $2 billion {dollars} by 2022, as a result of accepting cost meant the Lakota individuals would hand over all claims to the Black Hills space.)

The occupation of Wounded Knee ushered in some advantages for the Native American group, together with laws that protected their youngsters from arbitrary elimination from their properties; ensures their rights to faith; and gives funding for the repatriation of Native American cultural gadgets.

Native American protesters and their supporters are confronted by security during a demonstration against work being done for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) oil pipeline near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, on September 3, 2016.

Native American protesters and their supporters throughout an indication in opposition to the Dakota Entry Pipeline.

Robin Beck/AFP through Getty Photos

Many of those protections have come beneath menace lately, most not too long ago with the proposed development of the North Dakota Pipeline. However Native Individuals resist these efforts, simply as they’ve for centuries.

“Every time a project of this magnitude takes place so the nation can benefit, it has a cost,” stated Dave Archambault, then-president of the Standing Rock Sioux. Said Los Angeles Instances in 2016. “This cost is borne by tribal nations.”


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