Pine Ridge Indian Reservation Sites
Wounded Knee Massacre Site
The massacre at this site on December 29, 1890, the last significant engagement between Native Americans and soldiers on the North American Continent, ended nearly four centuries of conflict between westward-wending Americans and the indigenous peoples. For 21st-century America, it serves as an example of national guilt for the mistreatment of Indians, particularly since the Congressional Medals of Honor awarded to members of the US Army who participated in the slaughter of mostly unarmed men, women, and children have never been rescinded. The site itself, though scarred by modern intrusions and fragmented by a road system, remains an impressive reminder of the ghastly events that took place there.
On-site is an interpretive center and museum, that pays homage both to the events of late December 1890, and the 1973 occupation of the site by the American Indian Movement. The Sacred Heart Church, a simple brown log structure, stands atop a low hill on the approximate site of the Hotchkiss battery. In front of the church, in the cemetery, is the mass grave of the Lakota who were killed in the slaughter, and the Big Foot Massacre Memorial, erected by the local people in 1903. Below, on the site of the Indian camp, where the main fighting took place, the State Historical Society has erected a large interpretive marker. Practically all the sites, as well as the surrounding lands embracing Wounded Knee Creek and the ravines that figured in the pursuit, are in private or tribal ownership.
Oglala Lakota Nation Powwow and Rodeo
A mixture of vibrancy and energy and color, the annual Oglala Lakota Nation Powwow is held each August and features dancing and singing during the weekend-long celebration. It is a parade of culture and tradition as young Lakota boys and girls and generations before them dress and dance in honor of their rich heritage.