"Lost Bird" ~ Grave Of Baby Who Survived The Wounded Knee Massacre

Lost Bird, Baby Who Survived The Wounded Knee Massacre

08/09/2008 15:45

Survivors of The Wounded Knee Massacre

The twelve-year-old son of Red Fish escaped The Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890, seeking refuge with relatives to hide from the Seventh Cavalry. The boy took his relatives name until he was grown, for he had witnessed soldiers riding down and brutally killing fleeing women and children. Upon reaching adulthood he became a Christian minister, taking back his father's name, thereafter known as Rev. James Red Fish. Some seventy years later Darrell New Plenty Stars was born to his daughter. Among the other survivors of that cold December day were several infants, the most memorable known as “Lost Bird”. Shortly after Chief Big Foot and his people were mercilessly slaughtered there beside Wounded Knee Creek, a blizzard rolled in, covering the grotesquely frozen bodies. Three days later the wind and snow subsided and civilian burial parties began collecting the frozen remains for interment in the long trench-grave being prepared on the hilltop overlooking the killing field.

Lost Bird, Baby Who Survived The Wounded Knee Massacre

08/11/2008 17:41

Who Was Lost Bird?

Bodies were found a full three miles from where the massacre took place. There searchers heard a soft muted cry and discovered a frozen huddle of lifeless women. The cry seemed to be coming from under one of the bodies. Ice was chipped away and the woman turned over. There was a baby girl of about eight months of age, weak but still alive, covered with her mother’s blood.  Having survived three days of sub-freezing cold the baby was first given to an Indian woman to nurse, then handed from one person to another until a Native woman spirited her away to an Indian encampment. It was there that General Leonard W. Colby went looking for the child he had heard about, taking her as his own personal trophy of war. The baby was sent away to his wife, Clara Bewich Colby, to raise, completely cutting the Indian child off from her people, her culture, and her heritage.

Lost Bird, Baby Who Survived The Wounded Knee Massacre

09/01/2008 11:37

What Became of Lost Bird

As the little girl grew she was paraded before whites as a special attraction, later appearing in the 1915 Panama Pacific Exhibition in San Francisco. (It should be noted that General Colby, who later became Assistant Attorney General of the U.S., arrived after the massacre to claim his “war trophy”.) The story is a long tragic tale of a child who never quite fit in; too white for her own people and too Indian for whites. She ended up on the streets of San Francisco where she died at the age of twenty-nine. In 1991 Lost Bird’s grave was located and her bones carefully dug up to be transported back to Wounded Knee Cemetery where she was reburied during a tribal ceremony beside the fence that today surrounds the trench-grave where her mother had lain waiting for 101 years.      

To Read the Full Account of the Massacre and Lost Bird....

08/11/2008 17:46

Suggested Reading

  For a full detailed account of Lost Bird and the massacre read: "Lost Bird of Wounded Knee", by Renee Sansom Flood, Scribner,...

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The town of Pine Ridge is located near the state boundary of South Dakota and Nebraska. on the Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota Indian Reservation.

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