Wounded Knee and the Ghost Dance

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					General Allotment Act of 1887
or Dawes Act

   National legislation that converted
    communally owned Native American
    reservation lands into individually owned
   Excess acreage was sold to white settlers.
   Enactment contributed to the further decline
    of tribal populations, traditions, and well
The Dawes Act: The Plan
   The new plan to rescue Native Americans
    from extinction called for an aggressive
    assault on tribalism by parceling out
    communally owned reservation land on a
    severalty (individual) basis.
   Hundreds of thousands of acres remaining
    after the individual 160-acre allotments had
    been made were then sold at bargain prices to
    land-hungry or land-speculating whites.
The Dawes Act: Consequences
   This allotment, designed to absorb the Native Americans into
    the society of the United States, turned out to be a monumental
   In addition to losing their “surplus” tribal land, many Native
    Americans families lost their allotted land as well, despite the
    government’s 25-year period of trusteeship.
   The poorest of the nation’s poor—many of them now landless
    and the majority still resisting assimilation—Native Americans
    reached their lowest population numbers shortly after the turn
    of the 20th century.
    In June 1924 the U.S. Congress granted these original
    Americans United States citizenship.
Wounded Knee and the Ghost Dance

   Late 1880s the Sioux began practicing a religion
    taught by Wovoka, a Paiute prophet who promised
    that performing the ritual ghost dance would result in
    the return of native lands, the rise of dead
    ancestors, the disappearance of the whites, and a
    future of eternal peace and prosperity.

   Nearby white settlers, frightened by the rituals,
    called for federal intervention. The U.S. Army
    believed Chief Sitting Bull to be the instigator of an
    impending rebellion, and he was arrested in December
Wounded Knee and Sitting Bull
   As Sitting Bull was being led away over the
    objections of his supporters, a gunfight

   Thirteen people, including Sitting Bull, were
    killed. His followers then fled, some to the
    camp of Chief Big Foot.

   The 7th Cavalry pursued the Sioux to an
    encampment near Wounded Knee Creek.
Wounded Knee Massacre, 1890
   On December 29, 1890, a shot was fired within the
    camp and the army began shooting.

   Accounts of the precise events and the death toll
    vary considerably but it is likely that the soldiers
    killed between 150 and 370 Sioux men, women, and
    children, the great majority of whom were unarmed

   Thirty-one U.S. soldiers were killed in action, many of
    them from fire by their own troops.
AIM: American Indian Movement

   Began 1968/69
   Part of Red Power Movement
       Coincided with Black Power Movement
   Less about passive resistance and more
    about aggressive confrontation of govt.
   Very politically active
   Cultural movement as well as political
Occupation of Alcatraz
   Young Indian activists wanted to make a statement about the treatment of
    American Indians by the U.S. government.
   “Termination and relocation” policies took people off their homelands, moved
    them to major urban areas and then cut them loose on receipt of their first
   Ancestral land was appropriated by the federal government in an attempt to
    assimilate Indians into American society. Much of the tribal land was taken over
    and sold to private citizens or corporations, angering many American Indians.
   Since Alcatraz, which was unused federal land, had been declared “abandoned,” a
    group of activists from the American-Indian Movement (AIM) claimed it as
    Indian land.
   As many as 90 people lived on the island for 19 months. Damage to the
    lighthouse gave the federal government an excuse to storm the island and
    forcible remove them.
   The most important result of the occupation was that President Nixon, after
    much lobbying by Leonard Garment, ended the termination and relocation
    policies, and established self-determination on Indian lands.
   This poster
    appeared in
    California the
    morning after the
    Alcatraz removal.

   Hoka Hay roughly
    translates into,
    “It’s over”.

   Source:
Wounded Knee, 1973
    The second incident started on February 27,
    1973, when armed supporters of the
    American Indian Movement (AIM) seized and
    held Wounded Knee, demanding a U.S. Senate
    investigation of Native American problems.

   Federal law enforcement officers were sent
    to the site, and during gunfire exchanges, two
    Native Americans were killed and several
    people on both sides were injured.
Wounded Knee: Similar Consequences

   The siege ended 70 days later, when the Native
    Americans were promised that negotiations
    concerning their grievances would be considered.

   After one meeting with White House representatives
    and a promise of a second one, the Native Americans
    were informed that their treaty grievances should be
    referred to Congress.

   No further meetings took place.
In-Class Exercise
   Using your text and lecture, create a
    timeline of Native American Minority-
    Dominant Relations noting legal, social
    and economic changes. (At least 10
    items with full descriptions of the

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