Buffalo Gap Massacre,

Custer, South Dakota
December 10, 1890

Agencies: Unspecified

Cause of death: Shooting

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Last updated: almost 6 years ago


Several wagonloads of Sioux were killed by South Dakota Home Guard militiamen near French Creek, South Dakota, while visiting a white friend in Buffalo Gap.

The Home Guard also killed a small band of Lakota in early December near French Creek. The band had gone to Buffalo Gap to hunt at the ranch of a friendly whiteman they knew. They were greeted with a gun. They were unaware of the events that were transpiring around them. They sensed something wrong and attempted to leave. Because their horses were tired, they had to make camp between French Creek and Battle Creek. They were massacred in a surprise attack the next morning, December 10. The Lakota refer to the ambush as Buffalo Gap, which points to the origin of the hostility, not the location of the ambush. One young woman managed to escape to tell the story.

Community and Family Efforts

 Buffalo Gap National Grasslands and French Creek Massacre site.  A few weeks before the Wounded Knee Massacred in 1890, more than 50 young men and women from the Pine Ridge Reservation, on a hunting trip, were massacred at the mouth of French Creek as it enters the Cheyenne River.  The Buffalo Gap National Grasslands needs Wilderness Protection, and the French Creek Massacre Site needs cultural protection possibly through the Native American Graves Protection Act, or the Archaeological Resource Protection Act.