Buried in the mass grave site are our ancestors and relatives comprised of Chief Spotted Elk (aka Chief Big Foot) and Sitting Bull's band of Lakota. At the invitation of Chief Red Cloud, while traveling under a white flag of truce from the Cheyenne River Agency to the Pine Ridge Agency, they were massacred by the US Army at Wounded Knee, South Dakota on December 29, 1890.
The were a small number of survivors. Some returned to the Cheyenne River or Standing Rock Agency. Those few who remained at the Pine Ridge Agency were adopted by the Oglala Lakota Tribe. However, all of the survivors had to rebuild their lives from absolute destitution. In the aftermath of the massacre, all of the victims', personal property was looted and stolen by the soldiers, agency agents and the surrounding community.
For 127 years, the Oglala Lakota Tribe has been the host for our relatives who occupy the mass grave in Wounded Knee, South Dakota.
The community of Wounded Knee itself is located 18 miles from the town of Pine Ridge and is made up of both Descendants and non Descendants.
The soldiers hunted, chased down, and slaughtered Lakota women and children for miles beyond the camp site, the entire massacre site is several miles in width and length. On the website of the National Park Service, Wounded Knee is officially listed as a National Historic Landmark with a 870 acre boundary marker. In the late 1990's, the site came relatively close to being developed into a National Park but due to divergent politics of tribal and community organizations, this development did not transpire.
Currently, the land on which the mass grave is located and the immediate surrounding land is in the trust of the Oglala Lakota Tribe. The is a 40 acre lot section that is owned by a non-Native which has a ridiculous price tag of 3 million dollars.
The tribe has allowed for the issuance of vendor permits and shade structures to be built below the hill where the mass grave is located. The vendors sell their handmade arts and crafts.
The 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre Descendant Society is an ardent supporter and strongly encourages entrepreneurship and positive economic development.
However, exploiting the sanctity of our relatives to make any sort of profit is not only disrespectful but a shameful act against our Lakota virtues.
We can not support nor condone the disrespectful manner in which some of on-site vendors and panhandlers conduct themselves.
Visitors/tourists have been harassed, offered entrance onto the mass grave site for money and told erroneous narratives of the what occurred on that horrific day of December 29, 1890.
We would like to express our sincerest apologies to those visitors/tourists who have experienced this and any type of behavior in which you were made to feel uncomfortable.
We respectfully commit to remedy this.
The 1890 W.K.M.D.S. is an independent association which is member funded. We do not receive monetary donations.
We are not associated nor have any partnerships with other nonprofits or business entities that privately and publicly advertise the raising of monetary funds or donations for:
To date, none of these nonprofits or business entities have contributed any assistance to the maintenance or restoration of the mass grave site in Wounded Knee, South Dakota.