New book sheds light on the reality of Wounded Knee

04/04/2014 9:00 AM

04/05/2014 8:56 PM

What has been called for more than a century The Battle of Wounded Knee didn’t fit that description, said historian Jerome Greene.

The incident, a sudden and confused exchange of gunfire that left about 200 American Indian men, women and children dead, remains “one of the worst events in American history,” said Greene, author of “American Carnage: Wounded Knee, 1890.”

Late that year several hundred Lakota headed for the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Army troops intercepted them. During an attempt to disarm the Indians, one rifle discharged, apparently by accident. What followed was so confusing that apparently some of the Army’s dead and wounded might have been the result of friendly fire.

“I try to be objective in my writing,” said Greene, a 35-year National Park Service employee, now retired.

“But it was an enormous tragedy. Even some of the 7th Cavalry officers used the ‘massacre’ to describe it; they recognized it immediately for what it was.”

The last comprehensive book on the subject appeared in 1963, Greene said, and much more archival information has become available from American Indian and white sources. He believes the shootings were not premeditated; documents make clear trains had been ordered to northwest Nebraska to move the Indians to near Omaha, he said.

Further, he said, one of Army officers brought his 16-year-old son along.

“That proves to me that some officers thought it was a kind of junket,” he said.

Greene speaks at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. For more info, go to


A reckoning in Lahore

The shopkeeper has three sons, and he and his wife worry every night about them.

Two of them have been hanging out with the wrong crowd, but the youngest wants to be a lawyer. If the parents seem like any others who want the best for their children, they do, except for the fact they live in Lahore, Pakistan.

“The parents worry whether they had done all they could to give their children a better future,” said Haroon K. Ullah, a State Department public policy specialist who grew up in Washington state and who is the author of “The Bargain From the Bazaar: A Family’s Day of Reckoning in Lahore.”

“I consider the family as sort of thin middle class; just one accident or tragedy could dip it into poverty.”

Ullah speaks at 12:15 p.m. Sunday at Saint Andrew Christian Church, 13890 W. 127th St. in Olathe. For more information, go to

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