December 29, 2010 marks the 120th anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre, in which the U.S. 7th Cavalry killed almost three hundred members (mostly women, children, and elderly men) of the Lakota Sioux nation- "a thing to melt the heart of a man, if it was of stone, to see those little children, with their bodies shot to pieces, thrown naked into the pit.". The Wounded Knee massacre followed decades of broken treaties, and the near extirpation of the bison on which the plains people largely subsisted. Of course, by the time of westward expansion onto the plains, the slaughter and forced relocation of the autochthonous peoples of the Americas had been well underway for centuries.
Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is probably the best introduction to the horrific treatment received by the indigenous people of the Americas. It is a read that haunts the reader long after the book is put down.
Of course, the latest ill-timed right wing screamfest results from President Obama expressing his support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. After centuries of wanton slaughter, broken treaties, and heinous mistreatment, many Native Americans are mired in poverty- making light of their plight in an effort to count coup on a political opponent is simply despicable.
Thom Hartmann devoted a goodly chunk of time to the Wounded Knee massacre on his 12/29 show, so a nod of the naked noggin is due to him.