"The only thing worse than poor communication is no communication. That's what happened on the Pine Ridge Reservation this weekend at Wounded Knee - where, perhaps, the greatest miscommunication and, unquestionably, one of the greatest tragedies in American history occurred.
As Saturday's noon hour approached, so did three Colorado Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopters. Their destination - Wounded Knee.
Most local residents had heard about their arrival via the moccasin trail - which now includes the Internet and social networking sites like Facebook. Due to the history behind the massacre, as well as the military occupation of the area by federal forces in 1973, the Wounded Knee community was livid.
I fully understand the seriousness of the history involved. Twenty-five years ago, I sent a medal I'd received in the Marine Corps to the White House in protest of the Medals of Honor awarded to the 7th Cavalry after the massacre.
Lakota tribal members intercepted the Black Hawk helicopters as they attempted to land near the Wounded Knee mass grave and forced the aircraft to vacate the area -a victory for the Lakota people at the site of their greatest defeat.
Of course, the question remained: What would prompt the U.S. military to send helicopters to Wounded Knee? Rumors ran the gamut from the arrival of weapons of mass destruction to uranium exploration. It took a couple of days to learn the truth. During that time, tempers flared from halfway around the world to the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Apparently, Oglala Sioux tribal president Teresa Two Bulls had known about the helicopters. She announced it on the reservation's KILI radio station the day before and advised local council representatives. It seems no one was listening."
Get the Story:
Jim Kent: Hearts torn again at site of massacre
(The Rapid City Journal 5/6)
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