Was Wounded Knee a Battle for Religious Freedom?

By Clamping Down on the Indian Ghost Dance, the U.S. Government Sparked a Tragedy

The Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 appears in many history textbooks as the “end of the Indian Wars” and a signal moment in the closing of the Western frontier. The atrocity had many causes, but its immediate one was the U.S. government’s effort to ban a religion: the Ghost Dance, a new Indian faith that had swept Western reservations over the previous year.

The history of this episode—in which the U.S. Army opened fire on a mostly unarmed village of Minneconjou Lakotas, or Western Sioux, on the Pine Ridge …

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The Faux “Sioux” Sharpshooter Who Became Annie Oakley’s Rival

By Reinventing Herself as Indian, Lillian Smith Became a Wild West Sensation—and Escaped an Unhappy Past

At about 10:30 a.m. on the morning of August 3, 1901, more than 100,000 people jostled to catch a glimpse of Frederick Cummins’ Indian Congress parade at the Pan-American …

Coyote as Clown, Cowboy, and Creator

Artist Harry Fonseca Transformed the Native American Folk Figure Into a Commentary on 20th Century Culture

In 2006, during the last few months of his life, the artist Harry Fonseca often spent Sundays in his Santa Fe studio with the curator Patsy Phillips. His ability to …

The Indian “Princess” Who Said What She Thought

As a Translator for the Northern Paiute, Sarah Winnemucca Was an Outspoken Critic of Their Harsh Treatment in the American West

For the first few years of her life, Sarah Winnemucca, who was born around 1844, did not know that she was American. Born Thocmetony (Shell Flower) among the Numa (known …

Nourishing Native American Community Five Days a Week

We Teach the Fundamentals of Health by Treating Everyone Like Extended Family

How do you empower a community to care for each family’s health when the odds are stacked against them? This is a question that we think about every day in …