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22 November 2017

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

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown
Grover Gardner (Narrator)
Audiobook: Duration: 14:21:08
Published October 20th, 2009
by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 1970)
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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.

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.

My thoughts… 

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee should be required reading for all American young adults, it is a comprehensive history of the Native Americans. This was a heartbreaking and depressing book that shows repeatedly that there was literally nothing the Indians could have done to protect themselves from the greedy European settlers and the American Government.

The government would make a treaty with the Indian Chiefs promising land to them if they agreed to give up certain portion of their lands. These treaties would then be broken by white men, settlers or miners. The government would do nothing to remove white men from Indian territories, despite the treaty obligations. The government would tell Indians to either move further west or south and to abandon their lands.

When the Indians tried to uphold the treaties, the government would send soldiers to seize the land. There would be a battle, involving slaughtering and mutilation of Indian women and children by the soldiers, which would then force the Indians to retaliate. The Indians that survived, were captured and moved to land that wasn’t useful to them, no buffalo for hunting or good soil for growing, reservations. They would go hungry, and some starved to death by the government, the same government which had promised to protect them and supply them with provisions.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a very heavy read, it contained many names, events and dates and it was a bit difficult for me to keep track of it all. It was truly heartbreaking how the Indians were treated.  -J

“Treat all men alike.... give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. You might as well expect the rivers to run backward as that any man who is born a free man should be contented when penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases. We only ask an even chance to live as other men live. We ask to be recognized as men. Let me be a free man...free to travel... free to stop...free to work...free to choose my own teachers...free to follow the religion of my Fathers...free to think and talk and act for myself.”
Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West 


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