This day in history, December 29, 1890, the U.S. Cavalry killed 146 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.
By the time the soldiers withdrew, 146 Indians were dead (including 44 women and 18 children) and 51 were wounded. The 7th Cavalry had 25 dead and 39 wounded. Although sometimes referred to as a battle, the conflict at Wounded Knee is best seen as a tragic and avoidable massacre. Surrounded by heavily armed troops, it is unlikely that Big Foot’s band would have deliberately sought a confrontation. Some historians speculate that the soldiers of Custer’s old 7th Cavalry were deliberately taking revenge for the regiment’s defeat at Little Bighorn in 1876. Whatever the motives, the army’s massacre ended the Ghost Dance movement and was the final major confrontation in America’s deadly war against the Plains Indians.