And on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, hundreds of Lakotas and supporters arrived on horseback at the gravesite at Wounded Knee to mark the massacre’s 125th anniversary. On December 29, 1890, the U.S. Army killed as many as 300 Oglala Lakota Indians, including many women and children. The commemorative Chief Big Foot Band Memorial Ride began more than a week ago when riders set out from Bridger, South Dakota. They traveled more than 150 miles on horseback until reaching Wounded Knee. The site is remembered not only for the 1890 massacre, but also for the historic 1973 occupation, in which members of the American Indian Movement occupied Wounded Knee to demand their treaty rights. In this clip from that 71-day occupation, Oglala Lakota activist Russell Means spoke to reporters about the U.S. government’s disregard for their treaty rights.
Russell Means: “The United States government and its people have effectively isolated Indian people and filed away our treaties for over a century and more. Consequently, the United States government neither has—they haven’t any explanation if they massacre us, based on the treaty rights, and they haven’t any answers for us if they negotiated over our treaty rights. Right now, I imagine that in Washington, D.C., there’s a heck of a lot of bureaucrats and White House personnel researching Indian treaties. Now, until those treaty questions are resolved, you’re going to have much more, many more Wounded Knees.”