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“Wounded Knee”: Friends Roger Dunsmore and Josh Slotnick talk about a surprising injury

Friends Roger Dunsmore (left) and Josh Slotnick (right).

As a part of the 2022 StoryCorps mobile tour, friends Roger Dunsmore and Josh Slotnick talk about the wild, unlikely circumstances through which Roger ended up shot-in-the-leg.

Roger Dunsmore: ...And I went back to my camp and made a fire, to make tea for myself. Well, one of the guys the year before had poured a bunch of leftover Wounded Knee ammunition into that fire pit.

Josh Slotnick: Oh, no.

Roger Dunsmore: And so when I built my fire, this ammo started going off.

Josh Slotnick: [Laughs] Oh, my god!

Roger Dunsmore: And I’ve been up all night on peyote—

Josh Slotnick: All night on peyote.

Roger Dunsmore: Yeah.

Josh Slotnick: And then you made a fire on top of some ammo.

Roger Dunsmore: Yeah. [Laughs] I made a fire on ammo. And one of the slugs hit me in the—

Josh Slotnick: It went off. Boom.

Roger Dunsmore: Yeah. And hit me in the right thigh.

Josh Slotnick: Wow.

Roger Dunsmore: And it didn’t go deep; it was kind of a flesh wound. But I could—I remember just watching the blood grow out to silver-dollar-size. And some of the guys came over—some Lakota guys came over—and the guy who had run the peyote meeting the night before said, “Oh, God.” He said, “I think we’re gonna have to dig that out of there.” [Laughs] And I said to him, “No, I’m gonna wait. You know, I mean, I’m not afraid of lead poisoning. I don’t think I’m gonna have you guys dig that out of there.” And it was okay, because it didn’t lodge in there—

Josh Slotnick: It went through.

Roger Dunsmore: It went through, you know. It wasn’t a deep wound or anything. It was a surface wound. It went through. But when I got back to the Flathead, north of Missoula there, the sweat leader there—sweet guy. He started calling me “Wounded Knee,” because I’d gotten shot.

The 2022 StoryCorps mobile tour recorded at the Missoula Public Library from May through June 2022, giving Missoulians the opportunity to preserve their conversations and stories for future generations. StoryCorps Missoula is brought to you in part by Clearwater Credit Union, Partners Creative, and Montana State Fund.