Skip to Main Content

Book Displays: Equal Justice Initiative 2021: Mar

Virtual displays based on the 2021 A History of Racial Injustice calendar.

March's Topic - Wars against Indigenous People

Native Americans outside the cemetery at Wounded Knee, SD some are standing and others are on horses on the snow covered ground.

Calendar photo caption: In December 2007, Native leaders and activists gathered in South Dakota to remember the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre. (AP Photo/Carson Walker)

Calendar Text

When European colonists arrived in North America, the ancestral lands, culture, and sovereignty of indigenous people were threatened by settler colonialism.

Tribes that asserted their humanity and independence were met with violent suppression by the U.S. government. During the Creek War from 1813 to 1814, troops eld by General Andrew Jackson killed more than 800 warriors at Horseshoe Bend and the Creek people were forced to cede more than 21 million acres to the U.S. This "victory" for American settlers catapulted Andrew Jackson's popularity and helped him win the presidency in 1828. 

In the late 19th century, the federal government sought to suppress the Ghost Dance, an intertribal spiritual movement that resisted forced removal and assimilation by revitalizing Native religious liberation practices. White Americans feared this resistance and the possibility of a revolutionary uprising of indigenous people. In response, U.S. government officials arrested and detained Ghost Dance participants and murdered beloved tribal leaders to suppress Native unrest. Indigenous communities continued to assert their humanity and sovereignty. When tribes in South Dakota erupted in protest, federal troops killed an estimated 300 Sioux men, women, and children in the Wounded Knee Massacre on December 29, 1890.

Millions of indigenous people were living in North America when Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492. After years of targeted warfare by the U.S., fewer than 300,000 remained by the end of the 19th century.

--This text is taken directly from A History of Racial Injustice 2021