FEBRUARY 27, 1973


Native Americans, led by the American Indian Movement (AIM), occupied Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, site of the 1890 massacre of Sioux by the U.S. Seventh Cavalry.  AIM members took 11 residents hostage as authorities descended on the reservation.  The next day, AIM members traded gunfire with the federal marshals.  Russell Means, negotiating for the release of the hostages, demanded the U.S. Senate investigate the Bureau of Indian Affairs and that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hold hearings on the scores of Indian treaties broken by the U.S. government.  The occupation lasted 71 days.  Two Sioux men were killed by federal agents; several more were wounded.  On May 8, occupiers surrendered after officials promised to investigate their complaints.  AIM leaders Russell Means and Dennis Banks were arrested, but in September 1973, charges against them were dropped due to the government’s unlawful handling of witnesses and evidence.   

Source: “1973:  AIM occupation of Wounded Knee begins,” This Day In History, 2/9/2010.  Retrieved 6/9/2019, 
Image:  Native Voices, National Library of Medicine, courtesy of Library of Congress.  Public domain.  The Federal government does not hold copyrights. POC: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/nativevoices/timeline/535.html

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