It took them a few days to tell people this.
Things were further muddled by KOTA TV reporting on May 3 that the helicopters were not from the South Dakota National Guard.
The people on the ground, defending Wounded Knee, calling in what they saw as it was happening, had every reason to assume the worst. The people at large had not been given adequate information or notice, let alone been asked for their consent. People calling in live from underneath the choppers thought they were Seventh Cavalry, which made perfect sense given what little information had been leaked.
As Debra White Plume reported: "A few people present said they heard President Two Bulls on KILI Radio the previous day, asking people to go to Wounded Knee to hear the presentation, but not much information was provided other than that there would be members of the 7th Calvary and National Guardsmen arriving in military air transport."
No matter who sent the choppers, sending American miltary choppers to Wounded Knee is grossly insensitive. They're lucky the protesters were peaceful. As the Lakota are a sovereign nation, this invasion could be seen as an act of war, and some would have chosen to meet it with fire. Thankfully there is now a resolution that the Military will not be allowed to trespass on this sacred site.
People who are unaware of the history here may not understand what it's like to be invaded by a hostile force, or to grow up with the stories of your family members who were murdered by invading military. Try growing up in Wounded Knee, or Belfast, or Palestine. I'm pretty sure you'll see it differently.
When I heard the choppers were coming, I did not think, "Peaceful Visit for a Cup of Tea and Chitchat." I thought, Apocalypse Now. And I know I'm not alone in this.