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Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian…

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West… (original 1970; edition 1998)

by Dee Brown

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6,09579966 (4.26)269
Title:Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West (Arena Books)
Authors:Dee Brown
Info:Vintage (1998), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:American History, Genocide

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Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown (1970)


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Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
This is one of those book that is iconic to the American Indian Movement and a necessary read for anyone who wants to understand Native history and the roots of today's Indian political situations.

Although I was familiar the histories of the western tribes where I live, there were many tribes whose stories I didn't know. Lies, broken treaties, bad faith action for political reasons, starvation – all to get them onto reservations, where to paraphrase [[Sherman Alexie]] is where Indians go to die.

Same song
Different verse
Little bit loader
Little bit worse ( )
  streamsong | Aug 11, 2018 |
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee reveals a sordid little truth about human beings: they have a great capacity to be cruel, to be prejudiced against someone not like themselves, and to justify any kind of horrid behavior with a logic that defies belief. Having just read The Narrow Road to the Deep North, it would have been easy to say, “How could the Japanese be so cruel and inhuman?” And, how often have we asked that same question about the Germans toward the Jews, or Southerners against their black slaves, Hutus murdering Tutsis, or the British who watched the Irish die in the potato famines and refused to send aid? The treatment of Native Americans at the hands of Europeans and subsequent generations of Americans is no less despicable, no less harrowing, and no less shameful. In some ways other atrocities pale before it. It was genocide.

Unlike many, I am perfectly capable of placing historic events in the context of their times. I do not suffer from an inability to conceive that many modern ideas were foreign to our ancestors, that we have made progress (and, I should hope so), or that the masses were fed a steady diet of fear and propaganda that made extreme measures seem nothing less than reasonable to them. Still, I cannot imagine that any man who termed himself a Christian could have committed such acts of villainy and slept well at night or thought he would not have something beyond measure to answer for when he came before his maker. How few men protested or even attempted to intervene, and how calmly and coolly the tribes were promised a peace that was never intended, is the part of this story that most appalls me. That men such as Kit Carson, who had lived with these people, fathered children with Indian women, and spoke so highly of them as a race, could have been persuaded to join in the mass slaughter of them is incomprehensible.

I could go on, because the outrage feels very personal. The flag that Black Kettle stood under with his women and children huddled around him as the wholesale slaughter of his people began, a flag that he was promised would be his protection if he did not take arms against American troops, was my flag. It was red, white and blue. It was desecrated at that moment, and it is not too late for me to shed tears for that offence. What haunts me the most is that I think that seed of evil is still alive in mankind. It rears its ugly head all over the world today. We need to all be on guard against it. The lie that can be fashioned into truth is still a lie.
( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
I could write a much more extensive review of this book, for instance, pointing out how the author seems to take on the voice of the native American characters in his narrative style. But, quite simply, the basic phrase from our shampoo bottles kept creeping into my head as I read chapter after chapter. "Wash, rinse, repeat." Degrade and destroy, move what's left out of the way, and then repeat the process over and over again. I guess I should also emphasize how I was struck with the basic difference between how white folks treated black and red peoples. Whites went elsewhere to subjugate others to bring them to America do there bidding, while also subjugating people already in America to remove them altogether. This strikes me as terribly inefficient. Why not save the energy of bringing new peoples into the country to subjugate them when there are some folks you wish to degrade already there. If you're going to be dirty rotten bastards masquerading as human beings, at least be efficient bastards. ( )
  larryerick | Jun 14, 2018 |
Excerpts from my original GR review (Jul 2009):
- First reading was in 1990.
- First, the empty words: "No white person or persons shall be permitted to settle upon or occupy any portion of the territory, or without the consent of the Indians to pass through the same" -- Treaty of 1868
- Then, the true words: "When the prairie is on fire you see animals surrounded by fire; you see them run and try to hide themselves so that they will not burn. That is the way we are here" -- Najinyanupi (Surrounded) ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Jun 13, 2018 |
History is written by the victors, which makes you wonder how many more of the things we learn about have a completely different narrative from the other side. Like Manifest Destiny, for example. From what I recall from my K-12 history classes, this was a largely positive event, stretching the US from sea to shining sea. There's some token acknowledgment that it meant "resettling" the Native Americans, but it's not dwelled upon. Dee Brown's Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, though, tells the story of the settling of the American continent from the people who were there first.

Since he focuses on the era of Manifest Destiny (there's some information about how European arrival in the Americas played out, but it's a small portion of the book), Brown confines his focus to the West. It's heartwrenching to read about from the perspective of now, because you know that each chief that tries to negotiate in good faith with the white people will eventually be cheated and that each warrior who tries to fight back against the people who were eroding their way of life will eventually lose. Brown uses as many Native American sources as possible to show how the westward march of white settlers progressed from the point of view of the people who were pushed away from the land and lifestyle they'd always known in order to make room. With each passing year, restrictions on their territory become tighter and tighter, but their inability to safeguard even the small promises that they were able to extract is just relentlessly sad to read about.

I think it's important to wrestle with all parts of American history, and remember that many of what we think of as gains come from losses by someone else. As such, I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who's interested in how this country has treated its original residents. ( )
1 vote 500books | May 22, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (67 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dee Brownprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gardner, GroverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardner, GroverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knipscheer, JosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sides, HamptonForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I shall not be there. I shall rise and pass.

Bury my heart at Wounded Knee.

- (Stephen Vincent Benét)
Ik zal daar niet zijn. Ik zal mij oprichten en heengaan. Begraaf mijn hart bij de bocht van de rivier. (Stephen Vincent Benet)
For Nicolas Brave Wolf
First words
It began with Christopher Columbus, who gave the people the name Indios.
Americans who have always looked westward when reading about this period should read this book facing eastward.
Now they were all good Indians.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
There is also an adaptation of this book "for young people" by Amy Erhlich with the same title and Dee's name listed as author. ISBNs for the adaptation have been identified as 0006713416, 0030915597, 0440957680, 0606029982, 0701122366, 0785712712, 0805027009, 9780006713418, 9780030915598, 9780440957683, 9780606029988, 9780701122362, 9780785712718, 9780805027006. Please do not combine the adaptation with the original full-length book.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0805066691, Paperback)

First published in 1970, this extraordinary book changed the way Americans think about the original inhabitants of their country. Beginning with the Long Walk of the Navajos in 1860 and ending 30 years later with the massacre of Sioux men, women, and children at Wounded Knee in South Dakota, it tells how the American Indians lost their land and lives to a dynamically expanding white society. During these three decades, America's population doubled from 31 million to 62 million. Again and again, promises made to the Indians fell victim to the ruthlessness and greed of settlers pushing westward to make new lives. The Indians were herded off their ancestral lands into ever-shrinking reservations, and were starved and killed if they resisted. It is a truism that "history is written by the victors"; for the first time, this book described the opening of the West from the Indians' viewpoint. Accustomed to stereotypes of Indians as red savages, white Americans were shocked to read the reasoned eloquence of Indian leaders and learn of the bravery with which they and their peoples endured suffering. With meticulous research and in measured language overlaying brutal narrative, Dee Brown focused attention on a national disgrace. Still controversial but with many of its premises now accepted, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee has sold 5 million copies around the world. Thirty years after it first broke onto the national conscience, it has lost none of its importance or emotional impact. --John Stevenson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:21 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is Dee Brown's eloquent, fully documented account of the systematic destruction of the American Indian during the second half of the nineteenth century. A national bestseller in hardcover for more than a year after its initial publication, it has sold almost four million copies and has been translated into seventeen languages. For this elegant thirtieth anniversary hardcover edition, Brown has contributed an incisive new preface. Using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions, Brown allows the great chiefs and warriors of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes to tell us in their own words of the battles, massacres, and broken treaties that finally left them demoralized and defeated. A unique and disturbing narrative told with force and clarity, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee changed forever our vision of how the West was really won.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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