The conflict at Wounded Knee was originally referred to as a battle, but in reality it was a tragic and avoidable massacre. Surrounded by heavily armed troops, it's unlikely that Big Foot's band would have intentionally started a fight. Some historians speculate that the soldiers of the 7th Cavalry were deliberately taking revenge for the regiment's defeat at Little Bighorn in 1876. Whatever the motives, the massacre ended the Ghost Dance movement and was the last major confrontation in America's deadly war against the Plains Indians.
Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded to many of the cavalrymen who fought at Wounded Knee. Despite the current view that the battle was a massacre of innocents, the Medals still stand. Some native American and other groups and individuals continue to lobby Congress to rescind these "Medals of dis-Honor."