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What Happened at the Wounded Knee Massacre?

The slaughter of some 300 Lakota men, women and children by U.S. Army troops in the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre marked a tragic coda to decades of violent confrontations between the United States and Plains Indians.

In the years leading up to the massacre, the Indigenous Lakota Sioux had suffered a generation of broken treaties and shattered dreams. After white settlers poured into the Dakota Territory following the 1874 discovery of gold in the Black Hills, they seized millions of acres of land and nearly annihilated the native buffalo population. As their traditional hunting grounds evaporated and culture eroded, the Lakota, who once roamed as free as the bison on the Great Plains, found themselves mostly confined to government reservations.

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