Mass grave at the site of the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre. [Wikipedia link. Wikipedia has another photo of the frozen Lakota bodies being shoveled into the mass grave, if you want to see it.]
Today in my Native American Literature course we reviewed Charles Eastman’s reportage of the massacre from his post as doctor at the nearby Pine Ridge Reservation. I’ve taught this course several times at this college in suburban Long Island, and most of the negative attitudes I’ve encountered from students have been related to their FOX-news informed notions that Indians don’t pay enough taxes. (This argument always amazes me because, hello - Indians already lost almost the entire continent, but whatever.)
Today, in a new low, students defended the Wounded Knee Massacre as a justifiable military operation. They felt that the Ghost Dance was a lot of creepy chanting and that during a time of war, free speech (Ghost Dancing) is not allowed. They felt that it was very wrong to blame the Seventh Cavalry because the soldiers must have been traumatized by their service throughout the Indian Wars. Most of all they found it wrong to question the actions of the United States in any wartime situation, past or present.
The conversation made me feel sad for this country.