In 1890 on December 29th, the last major battle of the American-Indian Wars took place. It took place in the district of Wounded Knee and was sparked when the US troops entered the camp in order to disarm the men. A warrior called Black Coyote refused to disarmed and started a struggle during which time a shot was fired. The US troops then started firing in response and remaining fighters fired back. The melee soon spread and the Lakota warriors were eventually defeated when they were overwhelmed with numbers of the Seventh Cavalry. Unfortunately this was not the US Military’s finest hour and action soon ended up as a haphazard melee surrounded with the women and children of the Lakota Sioux tribe.
Over 300 Native American men, women and children lost their lives, the US Military actually decorated 20 soldiers with the Medal of Honour for their part in the massacre. The site of the battleground is obviously of great significance to the Sioux tribe their ancestors, the Oglala, who still live nearby.
The battleground is now back in the news more than a century later. The land owner James Czywczynski has decided that he would like to sell the site of the battleground to the Sioux tribe. At the same time, the Oglala tribe are about to receive their part of the Cobell Settlement which was agreed to compensate Native American Tribes for the loss and the mismanagement of their lands.
This is where the problems being, the Oglala tribe had the property appraised – the valuation reported at about $7000. The owner who has owned the property though has asked the tribe for $3.9 million. He has also stated if they do not accept his offer, then the land would be put onto the open market and may be sold to a non-Native American.
The tribal council are furious that Czywczynski is attempting to profit simply because of the cultural significance to the tribe. Effectively putting a price on the tragic loss of lives that took place there. The council also state that they are not a rich tribe and the windfall was earmarked for many important projects to help the tribe.
There are some interesting history and video reports about the protests that took place there and the history of the site. You should be able to access them from the US but visitors from other regions are likely to get – sorry this video is not available from your country message – to fix it have a look at this page.
For further information on the technical fix, mentioned above please visit the following site – iPlayer USA