Anthropology, Department of



Andrew Amiotte

Date of this Version



Published in Nebraska Anthropologist Vol. 14 (1997-1999). Copyright © Andrew Amiotte; published by The University of Nebraska-Lincoln AnthroGroup.


Throughout history, the American Indians have experienced maltreatment by the invasion of outside cultures and by people with power. As the Indians have been forced to move westward by the U.S. government, many treaties have been drawn up as a promise that the tribes would never again be invaded. These broken promises influenced the placing of the indigenous people onto reservations. Also, the Indians were forced to abandon their native way of life.

This paper discusses why forcing the Lakota Sioux to live on reservations and to adopt an Anglo culture led to great misery. This new way of life then led to two incidents at Wounded Knee, as many indigenous people demanded improvements. The first armed conflid occurred at Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1890 and the other in 1973. Both armed confrontations occurred between the Native Americans and the military forces of the United States which became popular with the media. Contrary to most accounts of the Wounded Knee massacre of 1890, the Ghost Dance had very little to do with the violent confrontation. In 1973, the cause of the modem siege of Wounded Knee was a mixture of dirty politics and the mismanagement of reservation economics.

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