BRULÉ SIOUX PLENTY HORSES IS EXONERATED BECAUSE ARMY DEEMED WOUNDED KNEE “STATE OF WAR”
The U.S. Army designated the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre a “battle” and awarded 21 Medals of Honor. Plenty Horses, a 22-year-old Brulé Sioux graduate of the Carlisle Indian School, was present. On January 7, 1891, 1st Lt. Edward W. Casey & 2 scouts sought a parley with Chief Red Cloud, Plenty Horses was sent to escort them. When a messenger told Casey they would not be welcomed, Plenty Horses shot and killed Casey. Arrested and indicted for murder, his trial began on April 23, 1891. Plenty Horses never denied killing Casey, but claimed Casey was spying on their camp and that, after the Wounded Knee massacre, “we were at war with the whites.” After the jury could not reach a verdict, a new trial was set for May 25, 1891. On May 28, the judge directed a verdict of not guilty concluding that a state of war indeed existed. If not so, the Army could not justify the medals it awarded. After the trial, Plenty Horses returned to the Rosebud Reservation, married, raised children, and died in 1933.
Sources: G. Sam Carr, “Plenty Horses’ Vengeance,” Wild West, 12/2007. Retrieved 4/15/2020, https://www.historynet.com/plenty-horses-vengeance.htm Photo: John C. H. Grabill (1849-1903), 1891. Public Domain. .