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Written in the 1970s, Dee Brown s Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee remains a popular, relevant history of the Plains Indians This is saying a lot Aside from vague knowledge of Custer, and perhaps a viewing or two of Dances With Wolves, I d venture that most Americans don t know or care much about this story That makes sense, since it s never fun to think about the genocide committed by your ancestors Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee is styled as an Indian history of the American west It s told from the Indian point of view, often in their own words The book is well structured and elegantly written Dee Brown is a great storyteller He is able to balance the adventure the heat and drama of battle with the tragedy The book starts with the long walk of the Navaho and moves onto the various other landmarks of the period Little Crow s uprising in Minnesota, Red Cloud s war along the Bozeman Trail, General Crook s fight against the Apache, Captain Jack and the Modocs, and the last gasp of the Lakota at the Rosebud and Little Big Horn Brown finishes his book with a powerful description of the Cheyenne breakout from captivity in Fort Robinson, where starving, freezing Indian men, women and children plunged into the snow in a desperate, suicidal bid to get back to their homeland I rank the last lines of the book among the best endings I ve ever read Brown s skills as a storyteller, however, stand in contrast to his abilities as a historian Crazy Horse and the other decoys now jumped on their ponies and began riding back and forth along the slope of the Lodge Trail Ridge, taunting the soldiers and angering them so that they fired recklessly Bullets ricocheted off the rocks, and the decoys moved back slowly When the soldiers slowed their advance or halted, Crazy Horse would dismount and pretend to adjust the bridle or examine his pony s hooves Bullets whined all around him, and then the soldiers finally moved up on the ridgetop to chase the decoys down toward the Peno Creek They were the only Indians in sight, only ten of them, and the soldiers were charging their horses to catch themThis is exciting stuff Unfortunately, it s credulous history Brown prefers the legend over the fact In this passage, for instance, we have Crazy Horse among the decoys leading Captain Fetterman s command into a trap Actually, though, it wasn t Fetterman, but his impetuous subordinate George Grummond, who chased the decoys Moreover, there is no evidence that Crazy Horse was one of the decoys This has just come down to us through repetition This happens throughout the book, where unsubstantiated stories are repeated as fact this seems to happen a lot in books on the Indian Wars, owing perhaps to the oral tradition of the Plains Tribes At this point, I will make an admission based on the loose history, I originally gave this book three stars Then I read some of the negative reviews and realized that I had to separate myself from the ethnocentric xenophobes spouting their garbage about White culture So, I will instead give four stars, and offer this defense to a couple criticisms First, that this is a biased book Indeed A book subtitled An Indian History of the American West has an Indian centric point of view What a shock Some of the reviews I ve read seem really upset about this, and complain about the lack of the white point of view Really This should go without saying, but before Dee Brown, every book, essay, short story, novel, novella, film, television show, play, and interpretative dance came from the white point of view This book is a corrective, and compared to the tide of Anglo centric views, it is a small corrective indeed White guilt, manifested in anger, laces many of the reviews I read The second charge against Dee Brown is contextual that is, he simplifies the story into one of good verses evil good Indian verses bad white This is fair, up to a point The Indians aresympathetic maybe because they re getting their asses kicked , while the whites come off fairly poorly However, the charge many critics make is that the Indians were somehow just as bad as the whites The argument is premised mostly on the Lakota, and posits that because the Lakota kicked the Crow out of their lands, the Lakota s actions were equivalent to the whites the implication of this being that the Lakota got what they deserved which, of course, is not much a philosophical argument This is specious, disingenuous, and historically unsupportable First, the movement of the Lakota onto the plains was part of the domino effect of white encroachment That is, the Ojibwe moved west with the French fur trade, forced the antecedents of the Lakota out of Minnesota s woodlands, and this eventually culminated with a Siouan split, after which the Lakota wandered onto the Great Plains Second, the wars fought by the Lakota and by all the Plains Tribes against each other occurred within a specific context Many of the wars were cyclical, and weren t fought to annihilate the enemy, but for cultural and functional reasons to get horses, mainly, and as a rite of manhood for the young warriors Thirdly, the goals of the inter tribal wars were far different than that of the white invasion Even though the Lakota forced the Crow out of their hunting grounds, after being forced out of their own, they never pursued the Crow to their utter destruction That wasn t their intent The whites, on the other hand, did intend to destroy the Indians as a people There is no evidence that the United States Government had an overarching policy of genocide I actually believe that many in government, including President Grant, wanted to deal humanely with the Indians while robbing them blind However, in the course of our tribal dealings, we did commit acts of genocide as defined by the United Nations Convention We re not talking only of massacres, of innocents killed and wounded, because this happened on both sides We re talking about treaties made and unilaterally broken we re talking about concentration camps we re talking about uprooting people from their homes and moving them elsewhere we re talking about taking children from their homes and refusing to let them speak their language we re talking about crushing a people s culture and lifestyle into ashes and dust Today, the Pine Ridge Reservation is the worst place I ve ever seen, and I ve been to the Middle East Now, did the Lakota really do all that That s where the lame equivalence breaks down completely It s a facile, historically fraudulent comparison In response, this book earns an extra star, and hopefully convinces a few people to start exploring our checkered past Once a person is open to the idea that we weren t entirely in the right, then that person can begin exploring all the moral nuances of the incredible epic that is the American West. This was a remarkably depressing book It is the sort of book that shows over and over again that there was literally nothing the Native Americans could have done to protect themselves from the all consuming and endlessly veracious greed of the European settlers Just about every tactic imaginable was used by the Native Americans from treaties to war to abject capitulation and nothing made any difference The final result was always the same.This is a tale of genocide It is a tale in which some of the greatest American heroes including Abraham Lincoln and General Custer, are shown as being responsible by their action or inaction for this genocide This book has been much criticised, often on the basis of not being balanced , particularly in not acknowledging what else was going on in the country at the time that made certain actions of the governmentor less inevitable And, to be honest, I don t know nearly enough about American history to give an informed opinion on that question, but what is virtually impossible to ignore is the effect of US government actions and inactions throughout this period and that effect was invariably the same the genocide of the local indigenous populations I struggle to see how this could be excused by other pressing matters of state.The process was virtually always the same The government would make a treaty with the local population guaranteeing land to them if they agreed to give up certain other lands These treaties would then be broken by white settlers or miners The government would do nothing to remove white settlers from Native American lands, despite their treaty obligations but tell Indians to either move further west or south and to forsake their lands There would be a conflict generally involving atrocities almost too disgusting to restate by European settlers on the native populations which would then force the native population to retaliate This would then bring self righteous slaughter on these savages The Native Americans would be moved to land incapable of sustaining them, often with local diseases they had no immunity to, where they would be effectively starved to death by the government, a government which had promised to protect them and supply them with provisions When it became clear that those directly responsible for them were almost invariably exploiting them, the government would effectively say, Oh yes, we have given him a rather firm slap on the wrist and a very stern talking to Sorry to hear about your children dying, but things should get better now When this book was written these wars were not a hundred years old We probably like to think of these times as distant and regrettable but they are terribly recent and their effects are ever present The last massacre of Australian Aboriginals, for example, occurred in 1928 There were things that annoyed me about this book One was the constant use of in the moon when the deer loose their horns and other similar phrases, which really started to grate pretty quickly The author is also much criticised for not quoting his sources and this is unforgivable However, that said, none of this leaves much room for celebration over how the Native American population was treated This is a story of infinite shame. Now A Special Th Anniversary Edition In Both Hardcover And Paperback, The Classic Bestselling History The New York Times Called Original, Remarkable, And Finally HeartbreakingImpossible To Put Down 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 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 Edition Published In Both Hardcover And Paperback Brown Has Contributed An Incisive New PrefaceUsing 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 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee An Indian History of the American West, Dee Alexander BrownBury My Heart at Wounded Knee An Indian History of the American West is a 1970 book by American writer Dee Brown that covers the history of Native Americans in the American West in the late nineteenth century The book expresses details of the history of American expansionism from a point of view that is critical of its effects on the Native Americans Brown describes Native Americans displacement through forced relocations and years of warfare waged by the United States federal government The government s dealings are portrayed as a continuing effort to destroy the culture, religion, and way of life of Native American peoples Helen Hunt Jackson s A Century of Dishonor is often considered a nineteenth century precursor to Dee Brown s writing 1973 1351 590 20 I read this book for the Goodreads book club Diversity In All Forms If you would like to participate in the discussion here is the link also read this as a buddy read with Matt Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee was extremely heartbreaking, because it was so truthful This book is told in story form However, the author got his information from using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions.The stories range from multiple different tribes Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, andThey tell their stories in their own words about the battles, massacres, and broken treaties that they faced All these stories were so painful to listen to The pain, death and defeat emotionally and physically that the Native Americans went through and still are going through is so hard.I encourage everyone to read this book and any book that they can get their hands on about Native Americans They are a voice that we don t hear vary often and we learn misleading history about Native Americans in school I hope to read other work by this author, because this book was so fantastically written and informational. Dee Brown takes the reader on a thorough and quite disheartening journey through the military and political journey to settle the Western frontier of the United States of America There is much within this piece of non fiction that pushes the boundaries and Brown does not hold back in his delivery The central premise of the book is to explore many of the Indian and I use this term, as it is peppered throughout by Brown, though I acknowledge is a derogatory term in Canada settlements and the government s plan to push tribes off the land on which they have subsisted for generations The tribal violation continued when the displaced Indian population was forced to settle on lands newly branded the possession of the white man, who sought to develop economic strongholds throughout the westward growth of America From the Sioux to the Utes and even tackling theinfamous Sitting Bull tales, Brown offers a graphic description of what happened during these battles labelled wars and how both sides took no prisoners, each trying to fight in the way they knew best While America grew under the watch of numerous Congresses and with the direction of many presidents, Brown shows that no matter their political stripe, land acquisition and further expansion trumped all else It would seem that only Lincoln and Grant lessened the bloodshed and sought to build connections with the Indian leaders, though treaties drawn up with legalese that did not translate clearly and gun toting soldiers shot first and asked questions later The entire book is a sad depiction of the historical progression regression of American values and attempts to add to their imperial quiver, which has sadly not stopped into the 21st century, whendreamed up needs for taming the infidels emerged and left future generations full of hate and to carry the burden of being tarred and feathered Not for those whose hearts are large or skin thin, Brown tells stories of the clashes, battles, and eventual swindling of the Indian population by the white man Those with much curiosity about the subject can rely on Brown to offer raw and realistic depictions of an indelible stain on North American history.This is my first book by Dee Brown, read as a favour to a great friend in her choice to initiate me into her book club Brown s gut wrenching honesty is apparent throughout the various chapters, drawing on official documents from both sides Americans and Indians , as well as historical tomes The story, if one can divorce one s self from the narrative and pretend there could be a degree of fiction, reads easily, though is by no means quickly synthesised That there are elements of gore and ruthless violence is clear, but I feel that to hide or water it down, while perhaps the choice some readers would have sought, could only harm the book It is important not to hide behind veils in order to pretend things did not happen and for this reason, I feel it is important for many to pick up this book and at least attempt a portion of it, to better understand what generic history tomes might attempt to neutralise The depth of the research seeps through on every page, as does the premise that western expansion, while a political ideal to grow the foundation of the country, might have been sought while some in Washington were still inebriated on the victory over the Confederacy I must say that I enjoyed as each chapter opened with a historical snapshot to allow readers to see what else what going on in the world at the time, drawing parallels and dichotomies in equal measure To say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book would send the wrong sentiment to some readers, though I can appreciate much of the description and feel I am better for having taken the time to read it.Now that we have put the formal review to bed, I turn to another piece that arose in me while I tackled this book I had to ask myself throughout, what purpose Brown had for creating this book, especially with a re release on the thirtieth anniversary in 2000 Being from Canada, we have been inculcated from a young age that we the white settlers ancestors are bad and that the aboriginal population have been maligned and harmed, such that apologies are only the tip of the iceberg I have sat through public school, post secondary, government jobs, and now the daily news as well as my current position in the world of Child Protection learning that the white man is bad and that we should rectify things Alas, I will dust off my soapbox and climb atop it here, so please skip to the end of you prefer not to hear my opinions If Brown wanted only to add to the cognizance of the populace and exemplify some of the evils that were done to the Indian population, this book does a stellar job, which is why it won my praise above If there is an attempt to bash the reader over the head with how bad the American settlers were and to light a flame under them as has been force fed Canadians, at least , I cannot express how angry this book makes me History is a wily beast, though we are taught to always learn from it and build on its foundation, making ourselves better and trying to discover how we can find teachable moments We have done it with imperialism to a degree and with human rights violations to a lesser degree , but, with the plume in the hands of the victors, history is shaped with a certain flavour Yes, there are those who are oppressed, perhaps without rhyme or reason, but for as long as the world has existed, the winners of the battles dictate the terms, however unfair as it may be We can whine and bitch about it, going so far as to cry foul, but it is one of the bittersweet aspects to winning that you can decide how the future will go I think that the Canadian example has shown that governments are too worried about pussyfooting around and want to coddle those who make a stink You lost it was unfair, but you lost We could assimilate you entirely and take the Indian out of you and yes, Canada tried that , but you lost, so you should expect no less We watched it happen in Africa and Asia for centuries, but no one thought to toss off the shackles when South Africa s white minority assumed power We complained and tossed financial penalties, but by and large, we let it happen And, I must say here, by WE, I mean ancestors and governments around the world We watched tribes scrubbed out and their language replaced with English, French, Portuguese, and others that still seem to find their way into the daily forms of communication And yet, do we go in and remove those imperial stains No, we accept them and hope that the community can, through their own desire, foster strong ancestral ties Laying down and saying we won, you keep whatever you want and taketo punish us for toppling your applecart is not only asinine, but completely defeats the way history has run for centuries And yet we sit here and twiddle our thumbs, hoping that the defeated will only take enough pie to satiate themselves and leave us, the victors, not to starve There, rant done Thank you Dee Brown for giving me a vessel to express them in a quasi academic format.Kudos, Mr Brown, for bringing renewed attention to this subject in a rooted fashion I hope that this book and review begin a discussion and keep the high brow conversation developing.This book completes my first project in the Diversity in All Forms Book Club, under November Bonus Reads.Love hate the review An ever growing collection of others appears at Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge I thought God intended us to live, Standing Bear told Crook, but I was mistaken God intends to give the country to the white people, and we are to die It may be well it may be wellStanding Bear, quoted in Dee Brown s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee One of the great histories of the United States Published in 1970, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a people s history a history of those who lost, ultimately everything From the beginning, Brown declares his intentions He wants to tell the story of the settlement of America specifically the West from the point of view of the Indians Americans who have always looked westward when reading about this period should read this book facing eastward Is it a perfect history No But did it change some of the historical narratives a generation ago Hopefully Did it cause some to look at our myths of the West with a bitskepticism Hopefully.It was a hard book to read I d get through a couple chapters and have to digest it, put it down for a couple days I live in Arizona Several reservations are minutes from my house Many of the spots in this book are places I ve been I was born an hour or two from where Chief Joseph s tribe ran from General Howard My great, great grandfather was killed by remnants of Butch Cassidy s gang in North East Arizona, not far from where Geronimo and his fellow Apaches roamed Another great, great father helped convince some Piutes in Southern Utah to murder and ultimately for awhile, take the blame an Arkansas wagon train My roomate my freshman year in college was from the Navajo reservation he is now an Air Force doctor , going to school on the Manuelito AND ROTC scholarship I understand the history is complex, but reading Brown opens ones eyes to the theme s that happened when an expanding America ran into America s native people It doesn t matter if the native people were Navajo, Sioux, Cheyenne, Apache, Modoc, Kiowa, Commanche, Nez Perc , Ponca, or Ute The same theme was played again and again because it worked for white Americans 1 White Americans would start invading native territorial land2 A treaty would be signed allowing those from a certain tribe to keep a certain amount of land, in exchange for food or provisions3 Some of the tribe would sign because of greed or threats.4 Food wouldn t be given, or would be stolen, and the land boundaries would not be respected.5 Gold, minerals, farmable land, etc., would be coveted by miners, farmers, or the US Government and treaties wouldn t be respected.6 The treaty would again me disrespected.7 The tribe would be provoked, often slaughtered.8 Indians would respond.9 The Army would come in and slaughter .10 Tribes would be moved from their land, to disagreeable land somewhere distant.11 Members of the tribe would die from illness.12 Leaders of the tribe would become disgruntaled because of mistreatment, lies, and poor conditions.13 Leaders would be imprissioned or assassinated.Rinse and repeat Again and again.Again, history is complex Many of the actors I respected from Civil War history had a horrible relationship with Native Americans There were a few men in this book that indeed were heroic White men occasionally acted with dignity towards Native Americans But the exceptions were VERY exceptional Often, we treated the American Indian as something to be removed, destroyed, cheated, profited off, and mostly ignored.I think some things have changed, but then I see how we treated the Navajo Nation, Hopi, Ute Mountain Ute, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, and the Pueblo of Zuni in regards to Bears Ears earlier late last year motivation mining I think of how we treated the Hunkpapa Lakota, Sihasapa Lakota and Yanktonai Dakota in regards to Standing Rock early in 2017 motivation oil I think not much has changed We now don t destroy Native Americans with guns We either ignore them, dilute them, or just continue to takeandHaving come from a military family of helicopter pilots and calvary officers, I ve always found it ironic how the Army now mythologizes the American Indian From slogans like Hoka hey usually misattributed to Crazy Horse, but actually uttered by Low Dog It s a good day to fight It s a good day to die Just counting the helicopters my brother and father in law flew, there are Apaches, Blackhawks, Kiowas, etc Many live and train on bases that were formerly used to fight or house captured Native Americans It is a weird reverence respect for an enemy the US Army nearly exterminated in the late 1800s It is odd The easiest expanation for me is we reverence in certain areas the American Indian, so we don t have to feel guilt for our Nation s treatment of and our Nation s responsibilty for what we did to the various tribes of Native Americans. This book is devastating, relentless, and depressing It should be required reading for all U.S citizens High school history classes really should teach kids just exactly how our country expanded west As an American of European descent, I am thoroughly disgusted Invasion and destroying other people s cultures is bad enough, but we did even worse than take the Indians land and systematically destroy so many of their cultures Read on.And yes, it is cultures , plural Most white people never bothered to understand how many different tribes and languages there were.To be fair, the book does mention a few white people who tried to do the right thing, including President Ulysses Grant, who hired the first Indian to workas Commissioner of Indian Affairs It s similar to the way some white people were active in the Underground Railroad and in the Civil Rights movement.Too little, too late, but at least there were instances of compassion and respect.In the 21st century, we have certainly come a long way in terms of cultural sensitivity But still, in my opinion the worst of it is that we acquired the land from its original inhabitants by lying and cheating and killing women, children, old people and even their horses Horses meant freedom and mobility and we just couldn t allow the tribes to have that, so the soldiers would shoot all the ponies We made treaties and then broke them as soon as it became inconvenient There is nothing honorable about that I m proud to be American, but this aspect of our history is truly shameful Isn t it wonderful that as Americans we have the right to speak out when something is wrong People need to read this book, educate themselves, and not let this kind of atrocity happen again. Fair warning, there may be some political views in this review which should not be surprising being that this book is the history of a government slaughtering a native people because they were simply in the way.This book is a comprehensive history of the Native American from the moment when the white man showed up on this continent It kind of goes a little like this.White guys Hey y all Love the feathers Wow its cold and we re hungry you wouldn t be so kind as to help us out Native Americans Awe, they are just like little children Of course we ll help We ll teach you how to hunt and fish and plant crops White guys Thanks By the way we would like to purchase some land from you, not much, just enough for us to live What do you say Native Americans Purchase land What do they mean by that Everyone knows no one owns a part of mother earth They are sooo adorable Alright you can purchase some land snicker How do we go about this White guys Well, we will give you some shiny things, trinkets and bobbles and you will sign a piece of paper that says this land ours and that you will stay off of it Native Americans These guys hilarious, but just to keep the peace Okay, deal Bobbles and we shall sign this piece of paper But what happens if we enter your land White guys We will kill you Native Americans Oh man They can t be serious after all the help we gave them we saved their lives for cripes sake uh..alright, just this once White guys Guess what, we havefriends coming and we need a littleland Sorry, won t happen again, but if you don t hand it over we will kill you Native Americans WTF Hey, you lied to us You said you wouldn t do this again yet here you are You re not so cute any white guys Shit We ll compromise THIS once, but don t you let it happen again This happened over and over again The white man took land, slaughter Indians and the Indians would compromise to avoid war Many Native American leaders really liked the whites and tried hard to be friends But some asshat white guys would blow it anddeath would happen Finally some Native American leaders said ENOUGH And went to war, but by then it was too late and they had their asses handed to them.Thoughts while I read this..White guys Republicans ironicly still white guys Native Americans Democrates.Sometimes lessons are never learned I am FINALLY done with this book It took me forever to read, largely due to the fact that it is absolutely heartbreaking Most days I couldn t take reading it forthan 15 minutes That said, I believe it is one of the most important books I have read in my life I find it absolutely unbelievable that I grew in Wyoming of all places, where many parts of Bury My Heart take place I was surrounded by Native American culture, I learned about them in school, we took field trips to see places they d lived, and yet, I NEVER learned about what really happened I love America, I m thankful I live here, but this book made me angry with the government, past and present The massacre of the American Indian was nothing short of a holocaust The reservations they were forced to live on were little better than concentration camps Mostly this book gave me great respect for the beautiful culture and people that was nearly snuffed out As a horrendously fast paced and all consuming America, we could certainly learn a lot from the Indians traditional way of life Every American should read this book.