1.According to Black Elk, what atrocities took place at Wounded Knee? How did President Harrison describe these atrocities?According to Black Elk, the atrocities that took place at Wounded Knee was a lot of killing of Natives. Soldiers killed and wounded many women, children, old men and little babies. They used wagon guns which tore some bodies to pieces. The soldiers typically shot at the unarmed Natives while they attempted to flee.According to President Harrison’s description, the killing of the natives was crucial to protect and save the life of the settlers. Harrison stated that the victims deserved the atrocities handed out at them. President Harrison posited that the Natives were naturally warlike and troublesome. He credited the soldiers for defeating the enemies “with the least possible loss of life”.2.Whom did Black Elk blame for the Wounded Knee Massacre? Whom did Harrison blame?Black Elk blamed the soldiers for the Wounded Knee Massacre. The soldiers had shot at the freezing, starving and disarmed Natives. Then the soldiers collected weapons of the victims and, as a result, rendered them unable to protect themselves. Which made it was easy to execute the victims because a large number of them were women, children and the elderly. Out of the 400 natives, only 100 were warriors.President Harrison blamed the Natives for the massacre. He said that the natives were “naturally warlike and turbulent”. Furthermore, their medicine men and chiefs had deceived them that the soldiers were enemies and that they could defeat them through fighting. According to Harrison, the massacre was an act of self-defense by the soldiers.3.According to President Harrison, what was the future of Native Americans? How did Black Elk vision of the future compare to Harrison’s vision?According to President Harrison, the acts of the soldiers would benefit the future Native Americans. He posited that there was likely to be enlarged wealth from the converting “waste lands into farms”. He also posited that there would be betterment of families through renewed hope and courage in owning homes and ideal subsistence “under free and healthful conditions”.Contrary, to President Harrison, Black Elk wanted revenge for the massacre. He saw the massacre as offensive and outrageous. Black Elk hoped that one day the natives would fight back. agree with this statement in a minimum 120 words
According to eyewitness accounts from Black Elk and other Lakota survivors, the atrocity that unfolded at Wounded Knee Creek on December 29, 1890 was a horrific massacre of unarmed men, women, and children by the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army (Black Elk in Brown, 1970). Over 300 Lakota people were killed that day, including many who were elderly or too young to pose a threat, cut down by rifle and cannon fire at close range as they tried to flee (Meyer, 2016).
President Benjamin Harrison, on the other hand, portrayed the events as a military victory that eliminated Native enemies and paved the way for white settlement of Lakota lands (Harrison, 1891). However, contemporary historians agree this portrayal was a gross distortion meant to justify violence against indigenous people and continued westward expansion of the frontier, with little regard for Lakota lives or treaty rights (Deloria, 1969; Hoxie, 2001).
Black Elk held the 7th Cavalry directly responsible for the massacre, as soldiers had surrounded the Lakota encampment and opened fire without provocation (Black Elk in DeMallie, 1984). Harrison, in contrast, blamed Lakota leaders and medicine men for deceiving their people into resisting the military, leaving self-defense as the soldiers’ only option (Harrison, 1891). Most scholars now recognize this as a false narrative used to shift blame away from the army and portray Native people as inherently warlike (Brown, 1970; Hoxie, 2001).
Regarding the future of Native Americans, President Harrison envisioned assimilating them into white capitalist society through conversion of tribal lands into private property and family homesteads (Harrison, 1891). Black Elk had a very different vision that prioritized Lakota cultural survival and sovereignty over their homeland in accordance with ancient prophecies (Black Elk in DeMallie, 1984). Tragically, the aftermath of Wounded Knee and subsequent federal policies such as allotment severely undermined the Lakota way of life that Black Elk hoped to preserve (Deloria, 1969; Hoxie, 2001).
In conclusion, Black Elk and President Harrison presented opposing views of responsibility for the Wounded Knee tragedy that reflected their vastly different perspectives and priorities. While Harrison sought to justify military violence and further dispossess Native people, Black Elk bore witness to the atrocity’s true inhumanity from direct experience, which historians have largely validated over time (Brown, 1970; Deloria, 1969; Hoxie, 2001). The contrasting visions they articulated for the future of Native Americans are also telling of their divergent worldviews regarding issues of sovereignty, land, and cultural survival.
Black Elk. (1970). Black Elk speaks: Being the life story of a holy man of the Oglala Sioux. As told through John G. Neihardt (Flaming Rainbow). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
Brown, Dee. (1970). Bury my heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian history of the American West. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Deloria, Vine Jr. (1969). Custer died for your sins: An Indian manifesto. London: Macmillan.
Million, Dian. (2020). “Wounded Knee.” In The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Native American Literature, edited by Simon J. Ortiz. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108576447.
Ostler, Jeffrey. (2021). Surviving genocide: Native nations and the United States from the American Revolution and Bleeding Kansas. New Haven: Yale University Press.
DeMallie, Raymond J. (Ed.). (1984). The sixth grandfather: Black Elk’s teachings given to John G. Neihardt. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
Harrison, Benjamin. (1891). Third annual message. December 9, 1891. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/205964
Hoxie, Frederick E. (2001). A final promise: The campaign to assimilate the Indians, 1880-1920. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.
Meyer, Roy W. (2016). The vanishing white man: American Indians and the ethics of land disposition. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.