On a hot June morning in 1975, a desperate shoot-out between FBI agents and Indians near Wounded Knee
, South Dakota, left an Indian and two federal agents dead. Four members of AIM, the American Indian Movement, were indicted on murder charges, and one, Leonard Peltier, was convicted and is now serving consecutive life sentences in a federal penitentiary. Behind this violent chain of events lie issues of great complexity and profound historical resonance, brilliantly explicated by Peter Matthiessen in this controversial book. In a comprehensive history of the desperate Indian efforts to maintain their traditions, Matthiessen reveals the Lakota tribe's long struggle with the U.S. government, from Red Cloud
's War and Little Big Horn
in the nineteenth century to the shameful discrimination that led to the new Indian wars of the 1970s.
Multiple medals of honor were given to US Army troops who massacred at least 150 mostly unarmed men, women and children at Wounded Knee. The Battle of the Little Big Horn resulted in the annihilation of all the troops under the command of Col. George Custer by Sioux Indians.