The Battle (or massacre) of Wounded Knee took place on the morning of December 29, 1890, and is known as the event that ended the last of the Indian wars in America. As the year came to a close, the Seventh Cavalry of the United States Army brought a horrific end to the century-long U.S. government-Indian armed conflicts. Was the battle of Wounded Knee Creek a cruel massacre amongst the Indian race or was this yet another triumph for our brave soldiers? .
On the bone-chilling morning of December 29, devotees of the newly created Ghost Dance religion made a lengthy trek to the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation in South Dakota to seek protection from military apprehension after hearing news of Chief Sitting Bull's death. Most of the frightened followers of Sitting Bull surrendered at Sitting Rock Agency however others attempted to escape arrest by heading south through the rugged terrain of the Badlands. Those fleeing gained forces with the aging Chief Big Foot who was ordered by Major Samuel M. Whitside of the 7th Cavalry to bring the Indians to Wounded Knee Creek. The intent of this meeting was to disarm the Indians and send them to a reservation; however, the Indians believed that soon they would regain their power.
The Ghost Dance chants, their "bulletproof" white ghost shirts and Yellow Bird's speech was not enough to protect the hundreds of Indian men, women and children that were injured or killed that night. There, on the snowy banks of Wounded Knee Creek, one hundred forty-six Indians were massacred in a highly charged, violent encounter with U.S. soldiers. As the remaining troopers began the grim chore of getting rid of the corpses, a blizzard swept in from the North. A few days later they returned to complete the job. Scattered fighting continued, but the massacre at Wounded Knee effectively stifled the Ghost Dance movement and ended the Indian Wars. .
The Wounded Knee Massacre was not only a culmination of a clash of cultures but also represented a failure of governmental Indian policies.