Wounded Knee, Battle of, December 29, 1890, the last important fight between American Indians and United States troops. It is often called a massacre; the band of Sioux involved in it was almost wiped out.
After being restricted to reservations in the Dakotas, the Sioux had turned to a mystic movement known as the Ghost Dance that would, they believed, cause whites to disappear from Indian lands. The federal authorities, fearing an uprising, brought in army units. On December 15, Sitting Bull, the most famous Sioux chief, was killed in a skirmish following an attempt to arrest him. Some of Sitting Bull's followers fled with Chief Big Foot and his band. The U.S. Seventh Cavalry overtook them at Wounded Knee Creek (in what is now South Dakota). As the troopers attempted to disarm the Indians, a shot was fired. (Which side fired the shot is uncertain.) The soldiers then attacked. In the fighting that followed, nearly 300 Sioux, including women and children, were killed; 29 troopers died.