Eyewitness at Wounded Knee

Overview

On a wintry day in December 1890, near a creek named Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the Seventh Cavalry of the U.S. Army opened fire on an encampment of Sioux Indians. This assault claimed more than 250 lives, including those of many Indian women and children. The tragedy at Wounded Knee has often been written about, but the existing photographs have received little attention until now.

Eyewitness at Wounded Knee brings together and assesses for the ...

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Overview

On a wintry day in December 1890, near a creek named Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the Seventh Cavalry of the U.S. Army opened fire on an encampment of Sioux Indians. This assault claimed more than 250 lives, including those of many Indian women and children. The tragedy at Wounded Knee has often been written about, but the existing photographs have received little attention until now.

Eyewitness at Wounded Knee brings together and assesses for the first time some 150 photographs that were made before and immediately after the massacre. Present at the scene were two itinerant photographers, George Trager and Clarence Grant Morelodge, whose work has never before been published. Accompanying commentaries focus on both the Indian and the military sides of the story. Richard E. Jensen analyzes the political and economic quagmire in which the Sioux found themselves after 1877. R. Eli Paul considers the army’s role at Wounded Knee. John E. Carter discusses the photographers and also the reporters and relic hunters who were looking to profit from the misfortune of others.

For this Bison Books edition each image has been digitally enhanced and restored, making the photographs as compelling as the event itself. Heather Cox Richardson tells the story behind the endeavor to present a meaningful account of this significant historical event.

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Editorial Reviews

Omaha World-Herald
"Although the subject is somber, the vivid photos and well-written text present a full and useful history."—Omaha World-Herald
Library Journal
Myriad injustices have been perpre trated against Native Americans, but none is so well known as the Wounded Knee Massacre which occurred on December 29, 1890. In this book, three scholars Jensen, R. Eli Paul, John E. Carter attempt to create a visual history of the events both leading up to the debacle and those after it. The hook is an in-depth study of relatively unknown pictures from the collection of the Nebraska State Historical Society. Especially important is the author's clear explanation of the history the pictures represent. Furthermore, they clear up any fallacious use of some of the images in order to explain why some Native American practices were so misunderstood and a massacre was made possible. There are extensive notes and references sections, and indexing is adequate. The pictures, of course, and the impartial interpretations of events make this an excellent addition to any public library and essential for Native American collections.-- Patricia Clark, Los Angeles P.L.
Great Plains Quarterly - Dawn G. Marsh
"This is not only a valuable record and account of Wounded Knee, but also a penetrating look at the role photographers played in how the public came to know and understand the tragic events."—Dawn G. Marsh, Great Plains Quarterly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803236097
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2011
  • Series: Great Plains Photography Series
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 694,014
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Richard E. Jensen is the editor of The Pawnee Mission Letters, 1834–1851 (Nebraska 2010) and two volumes of Voices of the American West (Nebraska 2005). R. Eli Paul is the editor of The Nebraska Indian Wars Reader, 1865–1877 (Nebraska 1998). John E. Carter is a senior research folklorist at the Nebraska State Historical Society and the author of Solomon D. Butcher: Photographing the American Dream (Nebraska 1985). James A. Hanson is the editor of Museum of the Fur Trade’s publications and the author of When Skins Were Money: A History of the Fur Trade. Heather Cox Richardson is a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts and the author of Wounded Knee: Party Politics and the Road to an American Massacre.
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