In the early 1970s, older traditional Lakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota were being harassed by the reservation’s police force.
To bring attention to their plight, a group of young activists (calling themselves the American Indian Movement) joined with the elders in 1973 to take over the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre. Living in a trading post and church, hundreds of protesters occupied Wounded Knee for 71 days, as the police and FBI armed with rifles and machine guns swarmed nearby.
The bravery and determination of the Wounded Knee activists impressed people throughout the world. For non-Indians, the protest was a lesson in the injustices Indians have suffered throughout history.
For Indians, it was an inspiration to fight for Indian rights and work to improve the lives of their people.