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‘Cankpe Opi’ is Lakota for Wounded Knee…..the site of a massacre which occurred on December 29, 1890 on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

On that bleak winter morning, the Sioux chief Big Foot and some 350 of his followers camped on the banks of Wounded Knee creek. They were surrounded by 500 US troops who were to disarm and arrest them. Sitting Bull had been murdered just days before.

During a meeting to try and come to a truce, a shot from an unknown party was fired; this anonymous shot started the massacre. Indians ran to get their guns and defend themselves, but the surrounding army cut them all down. Over 300 Sioux were killed that day, and the massacre officially ended the Indian Wars but began the years of recrimination against the US government for their brutality toward the Indians.

In the late 90’s, we visited the Wounded Knee Monument and it was one of the most chilling experiences I have ever had. Sitting there on the grass outside the fenced area which holds many gravesites, looking out over that valley, I could feel the strong Spirits of the Ancestors. I heard them singing and the beating of the drums permeated my being…I will never forget that feeling….

Today, sitting here in my home on this most beautiful winter’s day in the Rocky Mountains where I am safe and warm, I thought of that awful day and was compelled to create some art to honor those who died there that day in the snow covered hills of South Dakota….


american, indian, native, south, massacre, knee, jan, dakota, wounded, turtledove, lakota, landers


  • Jan Landers
    Jan Landersabout 5 years ago

  • tkrosevear
    tkrosevearabout 5 years ago

    A most beautiful tribute to a Native American tragedy my sister, here’s another SONG version from Walela (Rita Coolidge) xoxoxo

  • thank you, sis…it was very sobering to be there…thanks for the link to walela…i love them….

    – Jan Landers

  • Judi Taylor
    Judi Taylorabout 5 years ago

    I cannot imagine the feeling you got when you were there. How far have we come since that day? What have we learned? These are the questions we must answer for those ancestors. I pray that we can answer them with pride and honor, if not today, then tomorrow.

  • we are coming around, dear sister…it has taken some time, but we are…..wanishi, singing moon star….

    – Jan Landers

  • lianne
    lianneabout 5 years ago

    I’ve always wanted to go there – having read the book – and also because I feel some affinity for the Lakota for some reason. This is such a magnificent work of art Jan – and a touching and beautiful tribute. You are so very special – such heart, my friend.

  • i hope you get a chance to visit there one day, lianne….it is an amazing place so full of energy that it is almost overwhelming….thank you, my friend….

    – Jan Landers

  • © Karin  Taylor
    © Karin Taylorabout 5 years ago

    ooo soo sad Jan :(

  • a dark time in our history for sure, karin….thanks….

    – Jan Landers

  • Barry Norton
    Barry Nortonabout 5 years ago

    Wonderful tribute

  • thank you so kindly, barry…

    – Jan Landers

  • shilohlin
    shilohlinabout 5 years ago

    I am so deeply touched by the image here….. your tribute to our ancestors is moving and passionate…….bless you TreeDancer for doing this

  • wanishi, my friend….we must never forget those who went on before and what they went through….thank you…..

    – Jan Landers

  • handprintz
    handprintzabout 5 years ago

    Such a sad story ,but such a lovely tribute Jan well done

  • thank you, trudi….sad ineed….

    – Jan Landers

  • Susan Bergstrom
    Susan Bergstromabout 5 years ago

    Beautiful memorial…went to see this place and when we were there they had markers where all of the white men fell and died, but no marking for the Native American lives lost…asked the park ranger why this was…he had no answer…

  • it could be because most or all of the natives were left frozen on the ground and then put into a common grave….as shown in the video i linked to….there are now gravesites of other natives within the fenced area….not sure if that common grave area is marked….

    – Jan Landers

  • WhiteDove Studio kj gordon
    WhiteDove Stud...about 5 years ago

    keeping the spirits alive………wonderful

  • yes indeed…mahalo for your suport, my amigo…

    – Jan Landers

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