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  • Writer's picturejstanion1890

Wounded Knee - December 1890

From my book, My Place Among Them....


" As the pinks and purples of the morning surrendered to the brilliant blues of full day, John wandered through snow-covered mounds scattered among blackened and leaning lodge poles. Wagons lay in broken heaps across what he recognized as his family's campsite. The soldiers had returned for their dead, but across the open field, a bent knee here or an outstretched hand there struck frozen poses from beneath the snow - bodies of the men, women and children of his people. Grief settled into his soul, joining his body's pain from the gunshot and the frostbite on his feet. He could go no further and collapsed into the mire of snow, grass, and soil. He would find peace in the gift of Grandmother Earth, the land that was the lifeblood of his people. He accepted that this was the time and place to seek the peace of the Great Spirit. He would join the others, the mothers and children, the old warriors sent to their long sleep by the white man's greed for this land.


As his spirit faded, his eyes focused on the dull white of a blanket tossed across the tangled poles of an abandoned tipi frame. He stumbled to the spot, pulling the threadbare fabric around his aching body. Sheltered from the wind in the drooping remnants of the tipi's cover, he knelt to curl up in the snow and prayed for sleep to come.

He didn't see that Spotted Elk, the one the white man called Big Foot, lay frozen where he'd fallen, on the edge of the field. Neither could he know that later that day, white men would come for his chief, gathering almost two hundred of his people to be buried in a single hole dug deep in the frozen soil on the hill where the Hotchkiss guns had stood."





Read more about how one survivor of the Wounded Knee massacre went on to survive the government's Indian Education program whose very motto was "Kill the Indian, Save the Man."


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