Need to transfer a paper w/o an A drive or e-mail, please disregard 13 replies

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Noghri Blade

A Lord Among Pandas

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15th May 2003

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#1 13 years ago

Nate Hultstrom 5/15/05 Period 5 Term Paper Rough Draft

"The struggle for the gun was short, the muzzle pointed upward toward the east and the gun discharged. In an instant a volley followed as one shot, and the people began falling (Dewey).” With this single act, the Massacre at Wounded Knee had begun. The immediate cause has been debated for years, but what long term factors caused this bloody battle? In fact, regardless of what had happened that morning to bring about a massacre, a large conflict such as this was inevitable, after years of racism, genocide, expansionism, and religious tension. On December 29, 1890, Chief Big Foot of the Lakota Sioux people was dying of pneumonia. Following a government order demanding Big Foot’s arrest members of the United States Seventh Cavalry, surrounded the Sioux village at Wounded Knee Creek, with several powerful Hotchkiss guns on a nearby hill. There are many theories as to what happened next, but two are generally the most accepted. The Sioux tell that during the process of disarming the Native Americans, one of the soldiers struggled with a deaf warrior named Black Coyote, who had trouble understanding what was going on. Yelling that “he had paid much money for the rifle and that it belonged to him”, he held it tightly, until the gun accidentally went off (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, 443). The Americans, however, had a different story. According to Phillip Wells, a medicine man rallied warriors to fight, who then opened fire on the troops (Massacre at Wounded Knee, 1890). Whatever truly happened, at the end of the day three hundred Lakota Sioux lay dead, with only twenty five American casualties. A huge factor in this conflict was religion, or rather, the religious differences between the two sides. America has always been predominantly Christian, and it was also the case in the late nineteenth century. Christianity, with its seemingly good intentions, had done irreparable damage to the Native Americans. Ever since Christopher Columbus first landed on the shores of Hispaniola in 1492, Native Americans across the continent had been forcibly converted to Christianity. Horrified by what they saw as “deplorable pagan rites”, whites felt obligated to save the souls of the poor natives from eternal damnation, because like all whites of the time, they believed that they knew best. Missions quickly spread across what is now the southwest and Florida. Here neophytes, or newly baptized Native Americans were locked away and made to accept Christianity. Those that refused were tortured until they either died or finally gave in. However, many still practiced their beliefs in private. Those that were caught doing so or attempting to flee were either beaten or executed. Once accepted as a Christian, a Native American could expect to live out the rest of their life on a ranch performing slave labor (Native American Testimony, 60-66). Centuries of religious oppression nurtured the rebellious spirit of many Native Americans, leading to war, raids, and eventually, the Ghost Dance Movement. The Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee were the followers of a short lived religion known as the Ghost Dance religion. This movement first appeared in Nevada, preached by a Paiute shaman named Wovoka. He prophesized that very soon, all whites would be gone from the earth forever, and the dead Native Americans would once again rise to stay among the living. The world would be transformed into a lush paradise, filled with bountiful game. However, the only way for this to come about was for Native Americans to take part in the Ghost Dance. This powerful movement quickly spread to the Great Plains. The religion was extremely appealing to a people that had been oppressed and abused for centuries by whites. However, fear quickly spread through the settlers on the frontier. To the Ghost Dancers, death was only temporary before the transformation of the earth came about, according to them, so was the presence of whites. Whites who saw the Ghost Dance were reminded of all too familiar war dances, precursors to attacks on settlers. The official dress of a Ghost Dancer was a ritual Ghost Shirt, which was believed to be bulletproof. A warrior who considered himself bulletproof would no doubt be a great deal braver and would be much more inclined to attack an armed opponent, such as an American soldier. After numerous Indian agents wired their concerns to Washington, D.C., the Ghost Dance religion was deemed such a threat that the government ordered the arrest of all Ghost Dance leaders. After the attempted arrest and consequential murder of Chief Sitting Bull, the government turned its attention to Big Foot. Coincidentally, this was not the first campaign in which both Chief Sitting Bull and the Seventh Cavalry took part. Fourteen years earlier, the unit faced Sioux warriors in a shocking defeat known as the Battle of Little Bighorn. Members of the Seventh Cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel George Custer, moved to attack a Sioux village. When the Sioux responded, Custer’s two hundred and ten men found themselves vastly outnumbered. Facing an overwhelming enemy presence, the unit was destroyed to the last man. Furthermore, the Sioux mutilated the corpses of the dead soldiers in anger. The Sioux believed that the soul of a mutilated corpse could never reach the afterlife, and would be doomed to walk in limbo for all of eternity. The American public was shocked at the death of a Civil War hero on the centennial of the nation. It seems as though some of that anger still lingered fourteen years later as the Seventh Cavalry stood guard over the same tribe that had killed their fellow soldiers. Some of the Sioux there in fact, had been at Little Bighorn. The actions of the Americans during the battle hinted at a hatred far greater than the mere hatred of an attacking enemy. The bodies of civilians were discovered two to three miles away from the village, showing that the soldiers pursued women and children, who were obviously no threat, over great distances for the simple purpose of murdering a defeated enemy. Eyewitnesses also claim that the men manning the Hotchkiss guns almost blindly into the fray, wounding and killing many of their own men with friendly fire. Furthermore, the officers encouraged the slaughter. After Corporal Paul H. Weinert fired his Hotchkiss gun into a group of civilians, inflicting massive casualties, he expected a court martial. Much to his surprise Captain Allyn Capron congratulated him, saying, “That's the kind of men I have in my battery.” Weinert later received the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Seventh Cavalry bitterly hated their enemy, and made it shown with the brutality they exhibited on the battlefield. White Americans, especially before the mid twentieth century, have been openly racist towards nearly every non-white group that has come into this country. The same can be said of those already living in America. Ever since whites first learned of the Native peoples living in America, numerous acts of racism against them have been committed. Considering the Native Americans to be of an inferior race, whites justified any actions taken against them, mostly in the name of expansion and conquest. When whites first landed in the Americas, their primary purpose was the acquisition of new territories for their respective countries. Time and time again, European settlers deceived Native Americans, broke treaties, and slaughtered tribes when other methods did not work. It was a common practice for settlers to make a “permanent” treaty for land, only to take the protected land away from the Native Americans. When Americans took control of eastern North America, this policy didn’t change. Most notable of these was when Americans violated “permanent” treaties with the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chicasaw and Seminole by passing the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The only reason that this was able to pass however, was because Andrew Jackson, who was blatantly racist against the Native American tribes, refused to support a Supreme Court Decision to let them keep their land. The result was the Trail of Tears, where about four thousand Native Americans died on the roughly thousand mile long march to the Indian Territory in Oklahoma. Some made the trip by sea, where many died in cramped unclean living conditions. Strangely, whites felt justified in that act of stealing land, as is shown by the article “The Last of Sitting Bull which appeared in the Saint Louis Republic on December 17, 1890, just twelve days before the events at Wounded Knee. In this article, the author shares his belief that all Native Americans, or savages as he calls them, are “obstacles to civilization.” Rather than discuss Native American conflicts with Americans, he chose to call them battles between “savagery” and “civilization.” This blatant anti-Native American propaganda goes further to describe just why the Sioux people are so savage. With no evidence to back up his claims the author states that they are “greasy [savages], who rarely bathed and [were] liable at any time to become infected with vermin.” Moving on, he justifies the breaking of Native American treaties by saying that they neither have a right to the land, nor do they possess the sophistication and education to understand a treaty written in a “highly civilized language.” Furthermore, he advocates the complete genocide and/or relocation of the Native American peoples by saying, “While one of these barbarians lives to claim an acre of unentered land in the United States he will remain as an obstacle to progress.” This article was not written for a hate mongering extremist group as one might think, but for a public newspaper, implying that these views were widely held. One needs only to look at the aftermath of the Wounded Knee Massacre to see that. After the battle, twenty Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded to the soldiers for their actions. The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest commendation awarded in the United States military, and is only given for exceptional actions. After village of Lakota Sioux was massacred, including women and children, the government heaped honors on the very men who were responsible. Several of these men had no witnesses of their “heroic actions”, and one actually committed suicide near the two year anniversary of the event (Green). In addition to the 1871 Congressional ban on all future treaties with Native Americans, it would seem as though the United States government followed an unofficial genocide policy for dealing with the Native Americans. We may never truly know who instigated the battle at Wounded Knee, or who fired that fateful first shot. Our knowledge of these events will always be marred by the personal hatreds and biases of those who witnessed them. However, we do know that both sides viciously hated and feared each other for their numerous cultural differences, as well as countless atrocities committed by both sides for nearly four hundred years. Wounded Knee was simply the last of a long line of conflicts between whites and Native Americans over control of the North American continent.




AzH

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17th September 2003

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#2 13 years ago

how mean would it be to delete this?




Pethegreat VIP Member

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19th April 2004

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#3 13 years ago

its spam. I should save this then give it to my english teach to read over then give it back to you/ I bet whe would be like "WTF?" though




War Hawk

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27th January 2004

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#4 13 years ago

I dont think he'd mind...




Ashatay

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25th May 2003

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#5 13 years ago

do it do it! :P




Smitty025

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24th May 2003

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#6 13 years ago

you should date it as a few days ago, that way your teacher doesnt think you wait until the last minute.




CHAKA VIP Member

Anti-antidisestablishmentarian

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15th January 2004

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#7 13 years ago
AzHhow mean would it be to delete this?

Absolutely horrible. Do it.




knipple

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30th September 2003

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#8 13 years ago

I am very surprised AzH didn't do it.




-Ghost-

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#9 13 years ago
Smitty025you should date it as a few days ago, that way your teacher doesnt think you wait until the last minute.

That's my trick, if it's a last minute paper, I subtract a few days from the date.




War Hawk

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27th January 2004

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#10 13 years ago
Smitty025you should date it as a few days ago, that way your teacher doesnt think you wait until the last minute.

I just write the date the paper is due so they don't know when i started. for all they know i wrote the whole paper the morning of.




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