1890, Wounded Knee
In February of 1890 the rations had been cut in half for the Native Americans by the US government, leading to renewed resentment as well as desperation as the food became increasingly more and more scarce. As a response to near starvation from rations reductons, trying to adjust to agricultural lifestyles on the arid South Dakota plains, as well as the virtual erradication of the American Bison years earlier, the years since the loss of the majority of the Black Hills had seen the emergence of the Ghost Dance.
The Ghost Dance was a spiritual practice of honor and ecstatic supplication to the Sioux Great Spirit for a return of their dead ancestors, a return of the bison, and (according to the Lakota interpretation) a removal of the white settlers when the Native American Messianic figure would appear. It also alarmed the Bureau of Indian Affairs agency workers who were responsible for trying to oversee the assimilation of Sioux culture into the American way of life. They requested thousands of troops be sent for security purposes to deal with the Ghost Dance threat.