By: H.R. Doc. 1, 52nd Congress, 1st Session
Date: 1891 (published) Washington D.C.
A significant set of historical maps that were part of a congressional report on the movements of the United States military and a group of Miniconjou, Lakota Sioux led by Spotted Elk detail the conflicts between the two groups up to the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre, in which nearly three hundred Lakota people were slaughtered on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The maps are described individually below.
1. Map of the Country embraced in the recent Campaign against the Hostile Sioux Indians of Dakota showing the different positions of Troops from the beginning to the surrender in January 1891
Dimensions: 15 x 23 in (38 x 58.5 cm)
The largest of the three maps, the Map of the Country embraced in the recent Campaign against the Hostile Sioux… shows the Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Lower Brule, Cheyenne River, and Standing Rock reservations of western South Dakota. It is a map of great historical importance, as it shows the location of the Battle of Wounded Knee, labeled “Affair at Wounded Knee, Dec 29, 1890.” In an attempt to suppress the Ghost Dance Movement, the U.S. military surrounded and slaughtered almost 300 Lakota Sioux.
The Ghost Dance Movement was a religious movement spawned by Northern Paiute prophets in western Nevada who announced the “imminent return of the dead (hence ‘ghost’), the ousting of the whites, and the restoration of Native American lands, food supplies, and way of life” (Encyclopedia Britannica). These ends would, according to the prophets, be hastened by dances and songs revealed to them in their vision-visits to the spirit world and by a strict moral and ethical code of conduct which forbade war between Native Americans and whites.
The spark that ignited the massacre was the assassination of Sitting Bull by an Indian officer as he was being escorted out of his home on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The location of his camp is noted on this map. In exceptional detail, the map shows wagon roads and trails; military positions overlaid with red, yellow, and blue markers that are keyed to the map’s legend. The markers map the first, second, and third positions of the U.S. troops, as well as those of the Native Americans, here referred to as “Hostile Indians.”
2. Sketch of the Scene of the Mission Fight December 30th 1890
Dimensions: 17 x 13 in (43 x 33 cm)
This is an uncolored map on a scale of 1 inch = 150 yards showing the various positions of the 7th and 9th Cavalry as well as the Indigenous warrior positions. Drawn under the direction of Lieutenant S.A. Cloman, Acting Engineer Officer of the Division of the Missouri, this map depicts the events of the Drexel Mission Fight, which took place a day after Wounded Knee on December 30th, 1890, 15 miles north of Pine Ridge where Lakota were purported to have burned the Drexel Mission.
This map also shows the wagon routes from Pine Ridge Agency to White River. The map names the (Drexel) Mission and garden and White Clay Creek, and shows the topography in great detail.
3. Scene of the Fight with Big Foots Band, Dec 29th, 1890
Dimensions: 9 x 9 in (23 x 23 cm)
Also drawn on a scale of 1 inch = 150 yards, this map is a detailed account of the Fight with Big Foot’s Band. It is a highly detailed map that indicates the positions of mounted and unmounted troops, the Cavalry Camp, Wounded Knee Road, and Fast Horse Road, among others. There is a 2.5” split along the top left border that has been closed with archival tissue.
Condition: These maps are in B+ condition. There are a few tears that just pass the edge line which have been repaired on the verso using archival tape.
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