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After Wounded Knee by John Vance Lauderdale, Jerry Green

By John Vance Lauderdale, Jerry Green

The Wounded Knee bloodbath of December 29, 1890, recognized to U.S. army historians because the final conflict in "the Indian Wars," used to be in fact one other tragic occasion in a bigger development of conquest, destruction, killing, and damaged provides that proceed to this present day.      On a chilly winter's morning greater than a century in the past, the U.S. 7th Cavalry attacked and killed greater than 260 Lakota males, girls, and youngsters at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota. within the aftermath, the damaged, twisted our bodies of the Lakota humans have been quickly lined by way of a blanket of snow, as a snow fall swept in the course of the geographical region. a number of days later, veteran military health professional John Vance Lauderdale arrived for accountability on the close by Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. surprised by way of what he encountered, he wrote a number of letters to his closest kin detailing the occasions, aftermath, and everyday life at the Reservation lower than army profession. He additionally taken care of the wounded, either Cavalry squaddies and Lakota civilians. What distinguishes After Wounded Knee from the massive physique of literature already on hand at the bloodbath is Lauderdale's frank value determinations of army existence and a private statement of the tragedy, untainted via self-serving memory or decorated newspaper and political experiences. His experience of frustration and outrage towards the army command, specially about the strategies used opposed to the Lakota, is vividly obvious during this intimate view of Lauderdale's existence. His correspondence offers new perception right into a universal topic and used to be written on the peak of the cultural fight among the U.S. and Lakota humans. Jerry Green's cautious enhancing of this monstrous assortment, a part of the loo Vance Lauderdale Papers within the Western Americana assortment in Yale University's Beinecke Library, clarifies Lauderdale's studies on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

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In addition, it was virtually impossible to form efficient and cohesive medical Page 16 teams within the medical units with soldiers temporarily on loan from the regiments stationed at that particular post. 17 The formation of the Hospital Corps was authorized by several acts of Congress, which set the total number of men, their qualifications, and their rate of pay. In 1882 the 47th Congress set down the qualifications for hospital stewards. Men appointed as stewards must be . . experienced druggists or apothecaries, with a practical knowledge of pharmacy and minor surgery, such as the application of bandages, the dressing of wounds, the extraction of teeth, the application of leeches, as well as a good working knowledge of nursing and the preparation of food for the sick; also, in view of the responsible duties devolving on hospital stewards, often being left in charge of the medical department and in the care of the sick at a military post for days and sometimes weeks, during the temporary absence or sickness of the post-surgeon.

34 Another source of discontent among the Lakota was the annuity goods due them under the treaty, which were issued late if at all. The issues of winter clothing and equipment due on 1 August were not issued until mid-or late winter. As late as 12 December 1890, the annuity goods were issued to the Lakota at the Cheyenne River Reservation. 35 This would allow more profit for the civilian contractors, but caused great suffering among the Lakotas. The removal of their children to attend school in far-off Carlisle, Pennsylvania, instead of providing day schools or boarding schools on the reservations also caused dissatisfaction among many Lakotas.

Later encounters with native people confined to reservations and at the mercy of corrupt Indian agents profoundly altered Lauderdale's attitude. His attitude was typical of many whites on the frontier. They surmised that European Americans were advancing civilization by bringing their culture westward and that their philosophy, technology, and religion would civilize Native Americans. Whites could not accept the fact that Indians had their own religion, culture, and civilization. As time passed, however, Lauderdale's basic attitude toward Indian people changed, even though his ethnocentric or at times racist notions would persist.

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