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The Ghost Dance and the Wounded Knee Massacre
Digital History ID 700

Author:   Benjamin Harrison
Date:1891

Annotation: President Benjamin Harrison offered these comments about the Wounded Knee massacre.


Document: That these Indians had some complaints, especially in the matter of the reduction of the appropriation for rations and in the delays attending the enactment of laws to enable the Department to perform the engagements entered into with them, is probably true; but the Sioux tribes are naturally warlike and turbulent, and their warriors were excited by their medicine men and chiefs, who preached the coming of an Indian messiah who was to give them power to destroy their enemies. In view of the alarm that prevailed among the white settlers near the reservation and of the fatal consequences that would have resulted from an Indian incursion, I placed at the disposal of General Miles...all such forces as were thought by him to be required. He is entitled to the credit of having given thorough protection to the settlers and of bringing the hostiles into subjection with the least possible loss of life.

Source: James D. Richardson, ed., Messages and Papers of the Presidents (Washington: 1898), IX, 201-3.

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