Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Wounded Knee Massacre 1890

A civilian burial party and U.S. Army officers pose over a mass grave trench with bodies of Native American Lakota Sioux killed at Wounded Knee, Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota. 1890

This picture was taken by North-western Photographic Co. at the end of the Battle of Wounded Knee, it shows just how catastrophic the battle was for many Native Americans as over 200 Sioux Indians were killed. The Indians were being held there by soldiers because they believed that the Native Indians were preparing for an armed rebellion. Shooting started when a Sioux Indian resisted surrendering his weapon to the army. In a struggle with several soldiers his gun fired turning a tense situation into chaotic fighting. Many out of control soldiers shot at unarmed and retreating Indians such as women and children who tried to flee the scene. The burial pit is quite deep reinforcing the view that Wounded Knee was more of a Massacre than a battle where a whole Tribe was almost wiped out. The picture shows many soldiers standing over the grave looking at the camera, posing for the picture emphasising their lack of respect towards many Natives and showing that they viewed them as savages or dogs that had to be ‘put down’. There is no remorse or guilt on their faces reinforcing the idea that many American people felt the need to get rid of the Natives as they had no place, did not belong and were only in the way of western expansion. The dead bodies are also just placed in one big dump reinforcing the fact that the army just doesn't care.

The fact that so many Natives where killed compared to the troopers suggests that the Native Americans where at a real disadvantage the picture reflects this as all the troopers have guns and weapons in their hands. Furthermore, the Natives didn’t really stand a chance against the soldiers as they were all men, whereas in the Native American tribe there were a number of innocent women and children.

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