How was Wounded Knee different than other protests during the Civil Rights era?


How was Wounded Knee different than other protests during the Civil Rights era?
Were the Native American protesters justified in their actions?
Think about where we started, the first video discussion over Geronimo. Compare the issues facing Native Americans in each video and the response of the federal governement.

The Wounded Knee protests were different to other Civil Rights protests for a multitude of reasons. One of the most obvious being the size and the purpose. The people were protesting the unfair treatment of the tribal president Richard Wilson on top of the neglect on treaty and policy that the US government and the White House willfully ignored. I think this was fundamentally different from the other protests on Civil Rights for African Americans who sought for fair and equal treatment for African Americans. The Oglala were prepared for the media coverage as well, hoping to use the popular and progressive opinion on Indian rights to their advantage. As far as whether the Oglala were justified in their actions, of course there can be no right or wrong answer. But I think it is important to acknowledge what the Oglala people were up against. A poor and impoverished society of indians who were continuously being oppressed by their Native President who was corrupted and treated them unfairly. On top of this, the US government who was supposed to protect these people abandoned them. It was a recipe for disaster, one of which could easily of been prevented if the US government took them seriously from the beginning. I think there is no denying no matter if they were justified or not in their actions that this was a tragedy for everyone involved. Comparing this incident to that of Geronimo, I think we can highlight a few key differences. For starters, Geronimo’s whole existence was a violent one, and from the very beginning his answer to injustice was violence. This of course led to the unnecessary loss of many of his followers lifes. When I look at the Wounded Knee protests, I see a group of people that were not so hasty to insight violence. It was only when the system failed them was when they made the decision to be violent. In stark contrast to Geronimo who wanted to cause as much of a recus as possible and kill as many US soldiers as he could. Ironically, Geronimo never was the one to pay the ultimate price despite leading these suicide missions. For me, Wounded Knee was a much nobler fight, one that was merely out of desperation for a voice. While it would be easy to categorize them both under the same web of violence, i think that would be a grave mistake.

Civil rights movement was more about Americans standing up for justice, social rights, equality to their citizens, and government. They spoke up for things that needed to be fixed in a right, moral way. On the other hand, Wounded Knee was more intense because it was a fight, conflict between Native Indians and American government. it was more serious because their land and language was taken. It was not easy, like they could not just say “no”, it ended up killing more Native Americans. another massacre, another sad history of Native Americans. and comparing Wounded Knee with Geronimo, the way Geronimo was portrayed as a violent Indian who is killing innocent Americans. In the video we watched about Geronimo for the first discussion, portrayed him as a murderer. but the protesters at Wounded Knee, were more calm, they actually wanted to negotiate, figure out the solution. Their solution was not about killing those people who stand against them. at the end, hundreds of Native Indians were dead, but i don’t think their intention was to make it violent, like what Geronimo would do if he was there. and the Native Americans were not treated right. they were not justified in their actions. It was cruel for US Government to shut of the water and electricity in the town, just to show who has more power, and those Native Americans cannot do anything about it. and also, it was wrong to let the reporters go because the media, journalists are there to write down and record what event is happening. it’s their duty to show the rest of the world know what is going on in the small town. We know about Civil War, World War 1 and 2 with the help of the reporters. but the government did not want the others to endorse and encourage the Native Americans

After listening to the documentary, Wounded Knee was different than other protests during the Civil Rights Era because they were actively being abused by the leadership they were under and they truly did try to be peaceful until it was no longer a suitable option. I think that it was also different strongly from a government stand point. They had treaty and policy that were ignored by the US government and cruel behavior of tribal president, Richard Wilson. So, they faced different circumstances for sure than other protests had to during the Civil Rights movement. Something else that did stand out to me is how the Native Americans used the media to their benefit in their protest. I think that is a contrast to other protests as it is a resource they had that others did not. This helped them I believe in the long run. Overall, the way of the Natives is to stick together and they definitely did that through their protest to fight for their freedoms and rights they believed were being violated. I think it is hard to say if they were truly “justified” in their actions. It is certainly terrible how they were being treated and ultimately, I think it is human nature to want to fight back for not only yourself but those you care about. In this situation, you must put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself if you would have responded like they did. I think that it is understandable how they did respond as a lot of anger was built up being treated very unfairly and wanting to make a change for your people. The Native Americans have certainly been through a lot of adversity amongst the Americans/United States and they wanted to fight for what they believed in. There are always going to be people who do not agree with the methods of fighting back like if it is through violence or vandalism but some will. It is a slippery slope but from listening the documentary, it sounded like they were just really tired of being treated badly and wanted to stand up against the Americans. In Geronimo, I felt that the response by the US government was much more about getting rid of Native Americans physically but in Wounded Knee, we see them being more assimilated into the American culture and trying to be changed that way. Ultimately in both situations there were casualties and more so on the Native American side than they wanted. However, I think that overall, Geronimo’s approach was much more violent even though he was jaded from the killing of his children and wife. It felt like to me that Wounded Knee was meant to be a much more peaceful movement/protest but the Natives found it not possible to stay quiet in what was going on to their people. They truly did try to negotiate with the US government who decided to not take them seriously. Based on what we saw in the Geronimo documentary and reading, he did not try to negotiate and just attacked people. I think the use of media was another big difference in Wounded Knee as the US government responded in trying to shut this down with little reason as to why they did this. However, the natives knew how to use it to their advantage.

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