Badlands National Park, South Dakota

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Badlands National Park protects a Martian-like landscape in South Dakota, composed of pinnacles, buttes, and prairie. The National Park Service manages the northern unit and the Oglala Lakota tribe comanages the southern unit of the park with the NPS.

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The Wounded Knee Massacre took place just outside of the park on December 29, 1890, where US Cavalry troops went into a Lakota Sioux camp in an attempt to disarm the camp. It ended with 250 Lakota Sioux killed and 51 wounded, many of which were women and children. Disgustingly, 20 soldiers of the US Cavalry were awarded the Medal of Honor. In 1990, the US Congress passed a resolution expressing “deep regret” for the massacre. To place this event in historical context, the US government had promised the Lakota Sioux territory including the Black Hills in the Treaty of 1868. When gold was discovered in the Black Hills in the 1870’s, the government forced the Lakota Sioux to give up the Black Hills portion of the reservation in one of countless immoral actions against Native Americans. Not twenty years later, the Wounded Knee Massacre took place.

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