Native American Chief. Big Foot and his people lived on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota and were among the strongest believers in the Ghost Dance ceremony when it arrived among the Lakota in the spring of 1890. The hunger and misery that had followed the final break-up of the reservation in 1889 made the Lakota keenly receptive to the Ghost Dance message of messianic renewal, and the movement swept rapidly through their encampments, causing local Indian Agents to react with alarm. Some effectively suppressed the dancers, others called for troops to restore order. At the Standing Rock reservation, where Sitting Bull was suspected of encouraging the Ghost Dance in order to provoke an uprising, the crisis led to bloodshed when Indian police sent to arrest the aging holy man killed him in a confrontation with his followers. Fearful of reprisals, many from Sitting Bull's band fled south, where they found haven with Big Foot. Big Foot decided to lead his people away from the possibility of further violence and headed farther south toward the reservation at Pine Ridge, hoping to find safety there. Increasingly ill with pneumonia, he had no intention of fighting and was flying a white flag when soldiers patrolling for roving bands caught up with him on December 28, 1890. That night Big Foot and his people camped near Wounded Knee Creek, surrounded on all sides by soldiers. The next morning, the soldiers set up several large Hotchkiss guns on a hill overlooking the camp and began confiscating the Indians' weapons. When a gun accidentally went off, they opened fire, and within a few minutes, some 370 Lakota lay dead. The soldiers even pursued fleeing women and children, shooting some as far as two miles from the site of the original confrontation. Big Foot himself was among the first to die. His frozen body, half raised as though trying to warn his people of their imminent disaster, lay untouched for three days until it was unceremoniously dumped into a mass grave.
Bio by: Mongoose