Guns taken from site of 1890 Wounded Knee massacre up for sale

Ella "Nellie" Woodard operated a general store in Chadron, Nebraska, near the Pine Ridge Reservation and the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. Photo from Rathbun Collection / Heritage Auctions

Three guns that were taken from the site of the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee in South Dakota are among hundreds of items up for sale at an auction this week.

According to Heritage Auctions, the guns were found by a non-Indian woman, Ella "Nellie" Woodard, and her son, Raymond, who heard about the December 29, 1890, massacre and went to the site to see "if they could help any of their Indian friends who had survived."

"Nellie and Raymond picked up this and two other Indian rifles from the battlefield, which have been passed down directly through the family along with the story of that traumatic trip," the description for the Wonderful Indian Gun reads.

"When the pair arrived the soldiers were collecting the 200+ bodies, and Nellie did her best to help minister to the survivors," the description for a second gun states. The third is also said to have come from the massacre site.

Woodard ran a general store in Nebraska, near the Pine Ridge Reservation, home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and the Rosebud Sioux Reservation, home to the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. The items up for sale come from the collection of Paul Rathbun, a descendant of the Woodards.

“I’m just a regular person; I don’t have a vault or really I guess I don’t have the means to care for it the way it should be,” Rathbun told the Associated Press. “And there’s, of course, a bit of an economic factor.”

According to Heritage Auctions, Raymond Woodard became a close friend of Chief Red Cloud. A ceremonial pipe that is said to have belonged to leader is also up for sale. Raymond Woodard reporte

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