CANHPI CANKPE OPI: The War Club of Wounded Knee

  • 2013

CANHPI CANKPE OPI: The War Club of Wounded Knee

Author:
Edward Blauvelt
Abstract:

The paper discusses the background and circumstances leading to the Wounded Knee Massacre on December 29, 1890, and explains that the real reason for the massacre resulted from an Army officer's attempt to take a Lakota war club as a war trophy. Current historiography of the massacre offers two main reasons for the deaths: either the medicine man, Yellow Bird, instigated the Lakota breakout or a deaf Lakota named Black Coyote discharged his Winchester rifle as the army was disarming the Lakota. The established narratives argue that the Lakota were all dressed in Ghost Shirts, believing they were immune to the soldier's bullets, and when the instigator made his move, the rest of the Lakota engaged the Seventh Cavalry en masse. This paper argues that an officer's want of war trophy precipitated the massacre and that the Lakota were not wearing Ghost Shirts but instead wore their ceremonial Scalp shirts, and it offers other arguments to disprove the current narratives.