Friday, 23 October 2015

Guns, Fear, a Stray Shot and Panic Leads to Tragedy for Little Lost Bird
It is believed that the Wounded Knee Massacre began when a deaf Lakota named Black Coyote refused to hand over his gun to soldiers of the U.S. Seventh Cavalry who were instructed to disarm the Lakota living on the reservation. (For more information, read the previous set of posts on this event below.)

Three Hotchkiss Rapid Fire Guns used at the Wounded Knee Massacre. Photo part of the John C.H. Grabill Collection, Library of Congress. Public Domain.

A shot was fired during the scuffle and the soldiers started firing on all men, women, and children, including the unarmed women trying desperately to save their families by running for any shelter they could find. Later, their dead children were found held tight and frozen stiff in the arms of their mothers as they lay together in the snow.

 The mass grave of Lakota Sioux victims of the Wounded Knee Massacre. Photo in public domain.

What was the mother of Little Lost Bird thinking as she crawled through the freezing air to the river bank and lay dying in the snow? Like any mother, she thought only of her child. She moved slowly through the damp cold trying not to attract attention, searching for the only shelter to be found on the frozen prairie, near the banks of the river, where she could hide from the gunfire and possibly save her child. Exhausted, and with little life left in her body, she lay on top of the child, hoping to both hide her from the soldiers and keep the baby warm. The child lay beneath her for four days, protected by the dirt wall, snow mounds, and her mother's frozen body. By the time she was rescued she was likely close to dying. No one knew her real name, so she was called the Little Lost Bird of the Wounded Knee Massacre.

 Survivors of the Wounded Knee Massacre, 1891. John C. H. Grabill Collection/public domain. 

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