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NBC's 'The Wiz': Here's How 'Oz' Author Justified His Call for Extermination of Native Americans

Ten years prior to writing “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” Baum wrote editorials calling for the extermination of Native Americans.

Before you watch the live telecast of “The Wiz” tonight on NBC, here are a few disturbing facts you should know about the author of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” L. Frank Baum:

1.Ten years prior to writing his celebrated tale about Dorothy, Toto, and the yellow brick road, Baum wrote several editorials for the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer in Aberdeen, South Dakota, calling for the extermination of Native Americans:

L. Frank Baum. Photo courtesy

“’The Pioneer’ has before declared that our only safety depends on the total extermination of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries, we had better in order to protect our civilization followed up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth,” Baum wrote.

2. Within days of one of Baum’s hateful editorials published in 1890, more than 300 Lakota were indiscriminately murdered by the U.S. 7th Cavalry on December 29. The day is remembered as the Wounded Knee Massacre.

3. Baum’s editorials are thought to have inspired the massacre.

4. During the massacre, more than 450 U.S. troops chased down women and children and shot them dead as they fled the volley of bullets.

5. Four days after the massacre, a group of white men buried the frozen bodies of the victims in a trench. The men were paid $2 for each corpse buried.

6. Soon after the massacre, 20 U.S. troops were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their part in the campaign.

7. The “Medals of Dishonor,” as they are commonly referred to, have not been rescinded despite calls from the Lakota, other Native American nations and allies, and celebrities such as award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone.

8. In 2006, Baum’s descedants visited the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota to apologize for their relative's racism and his calls for genocide.

9. December 29, 2015 will mark 125 years since the Wounded Knee Massacre.

10. To date, the Obama Administration has not agreed to repeal the 20 Medals of Honor.

Simon Moya-Smith

Simon Moya-Smith, Oglala Lakota, is the Culture Editor at Indian Country Today. Follow him at @Simonmoyasmith