Thus, Chief Spotted Elk (Uŋpȟáŋ Glešká ; also known as Chief Big Foot) attempted to ensure the safety of those under his care by leading them to the Pine Ridge Reservation. However, they were intercepted. After stopping for the night at Wounded Knee, their encampment was surrounded by the U.S. 7th Cavalry under the command of Col. James W. Forsyth.
In contrast, Colonel Forsyth was eventually promoted to Major General and twenty soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor. The Lakota nation has protested these as ‘Medals of Dishonor’ calling the U.S. Government to rescind them, but no such action has been taken. Individuals have also sought reparations from the Federal Government for the loss of life and property at Wounded Knee, but have been blocked due to their being classified as “hostiles” and thus ineligible for compensation.
|Map of The Big Foot Band Memorial Ride|
Each year to mark the anniversary of the Massacre at Wounded Knee, indigenous peoples led by the Lakota nation set out on the Big Foot Band Memorial Ride. Participants travel on horseback and on foot through the snow on an eight-day ride, culminating in a ceremony to help heal the scars of war and death and raise awareness against genocide.