Ration Day at Pine Ridge.
Allotments of cornmeal, bacon, flour, coffee, and sugar were handed out to nearly six hundred Lakota women on Ration Day. The rations were intended to assist the Lakotas while they made the transition from an economy based on buffalo hunting to one of subsistence farming. In 1890 the rations were reduced about 20 percent. When this reduction combined with a crop failure, the Lakotas undoubtedly suffered. The lack of food was often citied as a major cause of the Ghost Dance popularity, although a more fundamental cause lay in the Lakota's desire to reclaim control of their own destiny. Richard E. Jensen, R. Eli Paul, and John E. Carter, Eyewitness at Wounded Knee (University of Nebraska Press, 1991), 64.
Looking southeast from the hill where the Indian dead were interred.
The tipi poles at the right mark the location of the Indian camp. The army camp was at the extreme left. At the center, where men are loading the frozen bodies into a wagon, was the council circle where Colonel Forsyth ordered the Indians to surrender their arms. A second photographer stands to the left, with his camera. Richard E. Jensen, R. Eli Paul, and John E. Carter, Eyewitness at Wounded Knee (University of Nebraska Press, 1991), 103.
"Birds-eye-view of 7th Cav. Camp at the late Indian War of Pine Ridge Ag, (Agency) S.D. Nov 27th."
The Seventh Cavalry arrived at Pine Ridge after a twenty-five mile ride from Rushville, Nebraska. No other cavalry regiment in the entire army evoked the images of the old Indian-fighting army more than it did. Several of its officers and men had fought at the Little Big Horn, and, because of this and romantic notions of date and destiny, the myth of a revenge motive for its actions at Wounded Knee gained undue credibility. Evening the score for Custer was probably far removed from the minds of the dozens of raw recruits who peppered the ranks. The fame of the Seventh Cavalry, however, ensured the marketability of this photograph. This scene reappeared in later printings with an updated but vague label, "7th Cav. camp before the fight, Dec. 29," doubtless to make it more timely and hence salable. The man in the foreground is not a sentry but rather the photographer, Moreledge. Richard E. Jensen, R. Eli Paul, and John E. Carter, Eyewitness at Wounded Knee (University of Nebraska Press, 1991), 84.
"Birds-eye view of Indian Camp of Pine Ridge Ag. (Agency) S.D., Nov 28th."
After the army occupied the Pine Ridge Reservation, General Brooke ordered the Indians to abandon their homes and Ghost Dance camps and move to the agency. Richard E. Jensen, R. Eli Paul, and John E. Carter, Eyewitness at Wounded Knee (University of Nebraska Press, 1991), 85.
View of Wounded Knee Creek and the battlefield.
This photograph, taken by George Trager, looks west across Wounded Knee Creek. Private August Hettinger, who arrived a few days after the fight describes the scene best: "We crossed the brow of a small hill and beheld a small valley, about one-half mile wide, spread out in front of us, a small creek fringed with brush and cottonwoods meandered down through the center and finally disappeared to the northwest in some pine covered rough hills. This was our first sight of Wounded Knee Creek.We could see on the other side of the creek the ground strewn with the bodies of horses and even wagons, and the remnants of a burned camp and what looked like the bodies of human beings could be seen over an area of 200 or 300 acres." (August Hettinger, "Personal Recollections of the 'Messiah Craze Campaign.'") Richard E. Jensen, R. Eli Paul, and John E. Carter, Eyewitness at Wounded Knee (University of Nebraska Press, 1991), 102.
The Wounded Knee Photograph Collection contains graphic images of violence. Those images are not available online. If you need information regarding this collection or specific images, contact the Curator of Visual and Audio Collections.
See a photograph you like, Order a Copy
Help Us Digitize the photograph collections and make them available to you on this website
Donate Photographs to the Nebraska State Historical Society