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In the Wake of Orlando How Should We Talk About Wounded Knee and Other Historical Mass Killings?

Society & Culture  (tags: Orlando, Native American, queer, gay, LGBT, shooter, mass shooting, massacre )

- 973 days ago -
Some thoughts to wander through and ponder over. When our President said, today marks the most deadly shooting in American history. The history of this Nation? This article covers many valid points of view I feel.


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Sheryl G (359)
Friday June 17, 2016, 6:12 am
Interesting article Arild found.....give it a full read. Where do you fall in on this?

Darren Woolsey (218)
Friday June 17, 2016, 7:01 am
Shared over social media.

My position is this. We NEED to remember ALL mass killings, atrocities, genocides, but this remembering NEEDS to carry with it a RESOLVE to STOP warring. Nuclear, military, arms, etc. capability NEEDS removing from the face of the planet. PERIOD. I have a zero tolerance to this, as NO ONE PERSON has ANY MORE right to exist on Planet Earth than any other.

This God Given Right that some claim, that has seen Empires and Colonialism exist is an UTTER FANTASY and DELUSION. White man has ZERO right to rule over ANY territory ANYWHERE on Planet Earth.

So, any politician or person anywhere who holds these Patriotic, "Willing To Fight For My Country" attitudes, IS NO FRIEND of mine, and deserves being pitied for dragging the rest of humanity to a level where SOME are thriving on the exploitation and enslaving of others.

Animae C (507)
Friday June 17, 2016, 7:07 am
i choose to remember ALL who have been needlessly slaughtered... OFTEN!

Donna T (0)
Friday June 17, 2016, 7:10 am
thank you

Evelyn B (63)
Friday June 17, 2016, 7:27 am
An interesting & worthwhile read, Thanks, Dandelion!
The following is an attempt to clarify my personal thoughts on the question! people may totally disagree ...

I'd already been mulling over the same question - and the comment below largely sums up where I'd got to in my own thinking:
" two distinctions between mass murders that occurred before and after the 20th century. Before 1900, most mass murders were perpetrated by the “haves” against the “have nots.” After 1900, mass murders began being perpetrated by the “have nots” against the “haves.” Another difference is that before the 20th century, few mass murders were perpetrated by a single person. A gunman opening fire on a public space is what “mass shooting” has come to mean these days, Duwe said. We don’t tend to put massacres involving military or quasi-military actors and those perpetrated by a group in that category."

From the perspective of the victims (the "mass") and their families, whether it is a government army, a militia, or an act by one (or perhaps a small group) with an axe (rather, a gun) to grind or a psychopathic personality or simply unbalanced - it makes no difference. They have no less had their lives cut short.

But our (& especially the media's & the politicians) tendency to over-simplify, come up with resounding sound bites leads us into dangerous ground. And different sensitivities get offended.

Maybe we need "finer" vocabulary?
The Australians seem to use "shooting spree" to describe occasions where one or two individuals let loose with bullets, causing multiple deaths.

In general, "massacre" seems to be used where an organised (largish) armed group kills large numbers who are less well armed or not armed.

"Mass shootings" is a term not usually used for actions of organised official armed groups. But taking it to mean "shooting of masses" leads one immediately to say "well, larger masses were shot at Tulsa, in Arkansas, at Wounded Knee". True.

But I admit to asking myself - what was the motivation of those who raised an outcry over the inaccuracy of saying "The worst mass shooting in US history"? Obama was clearly using the phrase "mass shooting" in the "usual" modern sense - not the sense of "shooting masses" within confrontations between well armed & equipped forces and largely unarmed groups in which some were armed (albeit less well).

I can well understand why groups whose ancestors were victims of shooting of masses felt that they could not let pass what could be felt to be a dismissal of such shootings of masses in the past. Even history courses often play down the reality of victims of military intervention in situations of conflict between the "authorities" and powerless minority/ disadvantaged groups.

But if these people felt the comment denigrated, ignored THEIR history, it is also understandable that the LGBT community have reacted very negatively, feeling that somehow the Native American & the Blacks are trying to climb into the spotlight on the LGBT vulnerability to hate crimes, to use Orlando as a means of redirecting attention away from their immediate anger & sorrow.

And they might not be entirely wrong.

Sloane Cornelius makes telling points:
"“As natives,” she wrote, “it is always very important that we address inaccuracies when they happen, otherwise we may not get another chance.” She added, “When I saw posts about remembering Wounded Knee, I recognized that it is an act borne out of ongoing extinction, erasure, and desperation.”

Cornelius explained that though “talking about Wounded Knee in this context is not necessarily a bad thing to do… there are important distinctions that need to be made.”"

There should be some way in which the historical inaccuracy can be corrected, without making the LGBT community feel that they are being pushed aside & marginalised by the discussion provoked.

All the communities that have suffered from mass killings should be able to recognise that nobody gains when any minority's vulnerability is set aside.

Evelyn B (63)
Friday June 17, 2016, 7:50 am
Society is (still) a very long way from being able to step back & recognise the victims' (by which I means the population group, not just those who paid with their lives) perspective when their immediate context is tied to that of the perpetrators (particularly for mass killings where it was/is an official force acting under official mandate). History books & mainstream media have a vested interest in whitewashing the narrative - or deviating attention. (For example - The events in Tulsa & Arkansas are often referred to as "riots" rather than "massacre". As for Wounded Knee - a great topic for romanticised Hollywood drama but please don't analyse carefully ...)

Financial & political interests also usually have a strong motivation to deviate attention, so that one forgets to keep them in view when analysing the roots of the problem. (Why else pass the Dickey amendment that ensures that scientific epidemiological research on modern day mass shootings is NOT made possible?) So they welcome & encourage anything that will fire up hot discussion such as whether Orlando could be described as the worst mass shooting or whether one should look at Wounded Knee as well (an event where there was no gun lobby concern at all - and even better, the poor vulnerable white settlers NEEDED arms to defend themselves against those "Red Indians" ... please, please, don't remember to point out that the Native Indians had been occupied, oppressed, displaced, dispossessed so the settlers' "self defence" was actually ensuring that they could maintain their occupation.

roxy H (350)
Friday June 17, 2016, 7:08 pm
ty, i also added my input but same ol' same ol' no one listened -.- ... keep trying and talking.. and same with those amazing moms carrying thier babies photo's too... speak up ... its all we can do... dandy one.. I am tired.. but you have been keeping me coming home .. so thank you :) watching over you and your watching over me too... sisters 4 life

Arild Gone for now (174)
Saturday June 18, 2016, 4:20 am
“As a queer, two-spirit Lakota person, I am not only being forced to put my grief aside, but I am forced to simultaneously defend the memory of Oceti people who were slaughtered at Wounded Knee,” she wrote, continuing “this is especially insulting when these conversations are started and held by straight, cis, non-Oceti people who lack the proper experience to offer insight into what it means to be queer and a member of the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation).”

I don't believe anybody is trying to diminish the mass-shoting in Orlando but when many people are using big words including President Obama I felt it right to bring up the massacre at "Wounded Knee".

"In 1890, the U.S. Cavalry shot and killed nearly 150 people who lived on the Lakota Pine Ridge Reservation. It was far from the only such massacre perpetrated by early (and not so early) Americans."

This is historical facts.

Thanks for posting Sheryl.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Saturday June 18, 2016, 5:09 am
Shared article over social media to spread awareness, Dandelion.

LaurenBackSoon Kozen (173)
Saturday June 18, 2016, 7:21 am
Noted & Shared. Thanks Dandelion.

Birgit W (160)
Sunday June 19, 2016, 12:58 pm
Darren says it all. Thanks for sharing.

margaret cochran (41)
Sunday June 19, 2016, 2:26 pm

Lois Jordan (63)
Sunday June 19, 2016, 3:04 pm
Noted. Thanks for posting, Dandelion.

What SHOULD have been stated was "this is the worst massacre by a "Lone Wolf' shooter."

We don't often hear that term "Lone Wolf" in the media because it is the ONE thing that all the alphabet soup government agencies (FBI, NSA, CIA.....) are truly worried about.
This was stated on Real Time with Bill Maher Friday night by Col. Wilkerson.
Anyone who has a chance should take a look at that episode.....specifically comments made by Wilkerson.

It seems very clear to me that Wounded Knee, as well as other mass murders by our government is genocide.

Joanne Dixon (37)
Sunday June 19, 2016, 3:22 pm
Like Lois, I'm sure the President was not thinking of government-sanctioned massacre and genocide, but of shootings performed by a single person (or maybe two people, but not a group) and not sponsored by government. I don't quite agree with the term "Lone Wolf" because it perpetuates the idea that wolves are just killers, and they are already up against enough in trying not to become extinct, and so are their defenders. I'm pretty confident the term was not Lois's choice but was quoted from Col. Wilkerson. But we need a better term.

While I don't believe the President had any intent to belittle anyone who died at Wounded Knee, and indeed no steps we might take to control who gets to play with a gun and who doesn't would have had the least effect on a Wounded Knee style massacre, certainly killing, of anyone, by anyone, anywhere, any time, in any numbers, is something we all here rightly oppose.

Colleen L (3)
Sunday June 19, 2016, 5:08 pm
Agree with AniMae's comment. Thanks Dandelion

fly bird (26)
Sunday June 19, 2016, 8:01 pm
For starters!

Julie W (33)
Sunday June 19, 2016, 8:37 pm
Excellent article, thank you Dandelion. Evelyn B makes some good points about the language used to describe these horrors. There is a world of difference between a massacre and a mass shooting by one person.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Monday June 20, 2016, 1:14 am
A group of individuals carrying out a mass execution is usually categorized as a massacre.

Evelyn B (63)
Monday June 20, 2016, 4:52 am
Lois - good comment
Here's the link to the Real Time With Bill Maher: Who Needs Guns? - June 17, 2016 (HBO)
Emily Miller is totally cornered - because Col. Lawrence Wilkerson totally shocks her when she thought she had him in her camp!

Sheryl G (359)
Monday June 20, 2016, 5:47 am
Thanks for providing the hyperlink to the video that Lois spoke upon.

Evelyn B (63)
Monday June 20, 2016, 6:25 am
I've posted a slightly longer extract - hoping more will see it!
Bill Maher: This Tragedy Was Brought By Guns & Religion (WELL Worth Watching!)

Lenore K (0)
Tuesday June 21, 2016, 12:14 pm

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Wednesday June 22, 2016, 5:09 am

Even if "A gunman opening fire on a public space is what “mass shooting” has come to mean these days," as Evelyn points out from Grant Duwe's long quote, it's also true, as Evelyn points out per Sloane Cornelius, that "remembering Wounded Knee ... is an act borne out of ongoing extinction, erasure, and desperation,” and that "History books & mainstream media have a vested interest in whitewashing the narrative."
It's a shame that some LGBTQ folks & their loved ones feel that attempts at historical accuracy & historical memory seek to pull the spotlight away from the Orlando tragedy and 'steal' or 'hijack' "their [the LGBTQ community's] moment to mourn in public."

Yes, "the mainstream narrative is dictated by the privileged, and "the phrasing [Orlando named "the most Deadly/the Deadliest Mass Shooting" in history"]" it can be argued, "shows bias against the histories of marginalized Americans." Yes, "marginalized voices can wind up being shut out," but the marginalized, the discriminated against, the victimes of violence & hate crimes shouldn't be fighting against each other for space and a place in our memories and our history.

As someone said, "Slaughter is not a competition."

Here"s another blogger's post along the same lines, the 'whitewashing' of history:

"Orlando Was Not “The Worst Mass Shooting in U.S. History” "

"I mean no disrespect to the victims in the horrific massacre in Orlando and their friends and family members now left behind to grieve. We must all show solidarity with them. .../...


"Consider these ten events, in chronological order, with the number of victims in parentheses:

1. The Gnadenhutten massacre of 1782 (100 Native Americans).

2. The murders of African Americans in NYC in 1863 during the "NYC Draft Riots" (>120 African Americans)

3. The Fort Pillow Massacre of 1864 (100-300, most African Americans).

4. The Colfax Massacre of 1873 (150 African Americans).

5. Rock Springs, Wyoming (78? Chinese Americans)

6. The Massacre at Wounded Knee, 1890 (300 Native Americans).

7. The East St. Louis race riot [by whites, against blacks] of 1919 (40-200 African Americans).

8. The Elaine [AR] massacre of 1919 (>100 African Americans).

9. The murders of black residents in the Tulsa race riot in 1921 (100? African Americans).

10. The Rosewood [FL] massacre of 1923 (150 African Americans).

"In this context, any historian or other commentator who claims Orlando was the "deadliest mass shooting" in American history is also saying no to BLM -- black lives (and Native American lives and Chinese American lives) do NOT matter. For if they mattered, then we would know we as a people have a long history, beginning long before 1782, actually, of mass shootings and mass murders of nonwhites.* .../... "

I agree, though, that there are "important distinctions" that have to be made, as 'Wounded Knee' was 'just' the 'greatest' massacre, the one that symbolizes the deliberate government policy to eliminate Native Americans.


Sheryl G (359)
Wednesday June 22, 2016, 1:32 pm
And I realize the writer of the blog just pulled out a few examples but one that quickly comes to mind is the Sand Creek Massacre.

November 29, 1864, when a 700-man force of Colorado Territory militia attacked and destroyed a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho in southeastern Colorado Territory, killing and mutilating an estimated 70–163 Native Americans, about two-thirds of whom were women and children.

Trish K (29)
Friday June 24, 2016, 1:10 pm
I can never forget our history, but at this time it is necessary for me to focus on how to get the NRA out of our lives forever.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Friday June 24, 2016, 2:57 pm
A friend of mine in New Hampshire has stated that there are 33,000+ gun related shootings/killings every year. . . this equates to approximately 80+ per day.

Have you any statistical breakdown of the actual numbers?

Would be useful to share over social media.

Sheryl G (359)
Friday June 24, 2016, 5:48 pm
Here is a good article Darren put out by the BBC The statistics behind the violence

Darren Woolsey (218)
Saturday June 25, 2016, 4:39 am
The statistics make for sobering reading, and should be created into posters and plastered all over the National Rifle Association's headquarters

Sheryl G (359)
Saturday June 25, 2016, 7:00 am
Agree Darren.....but if at the end it makes $$$ I doubt they'd care.

Dawnie W (250)
Tuesday July 12, 2016, 10:27 am
This is a very good article with lots of food fop thought. The treatment of Native Americans was shameful but where ever white settlement took place the native peoples lost out and were captive and restricted to where the powers that were at the time deemed they should be...Usually out of site out of mind and in the hope they may die out. This is not new it has been going on since Adam was a boy. That certainly doesn't make it right but it does say that human beings never learn and are still doing it to this day with peoples floating on a wing and a pray to all four corners of the globe in the hope of a safe haven and peace. And for what we are all the same, created the same way, born the same way, with a few differences in looks and skin colour. I have no idea how we can dampen the urge to waste billions of dollars blowing other human beings to bits.
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❤️ Thanking you kindly for sharing this information❤️
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