Saturday, June 02, 2007

Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

So how proud are you of your heritage? Being a descendent of Irish, Scottish and Native American I can say it is a very shakey descendency and it's a wonder I even came to be. I have always been curious about my Native American ancestors, but that part of the family tree seems to only be passed down through family stories and not written anywhere. I have some cousins that easily pass as full blooded Indians. I have a cousin who was the Chief Prosecutor for the Navajo Nation, I'm not sure what he's doing now. For a while he wanted to open an Indian Motorcycle dealership on the reservation, so he could be an Indian selling Indians to Indians in Indian country. I thought it would be a worthy venture.

Anyway, back to my original question. It seems as though being a white person is really starting to be tough. It's amazing what evils the white race has done under the guise of religion or even worse "Manifest Destiny." Manifest Destiny was a phrase that expressed the belief that the United States was destined to expand from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Ocean by the white race. It's amazing how many humans were wiped out for land. Most of these humans were here first. How would you feel if today, Middle Easterners came to our land and said we would like to buy your land, if you don't sell it we will kill you. Then after we give them some they form concentration camps and force all white folks to live there. These camps also provide no food or shelter and the dark-skinned folks would supply scarce foods, in hopes of starving us out. That is exactly what white settlers/pioneers and explorers did to the Indegeneous Natives on the North American continent. And it is all documented and researched in the book "My Heart at Wounded Knee" by Dee Brown.

Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee was first published in the United States in 1970. Dee Brown incorporates a number of eyewitness accounts and official records offering a scathing indictment of the U.S. politicians, soldiers, and citizens who colonized the American West. Focusing mainly on the thirty-year span from 1860 to 1890, the book was the first account of the time period told from the Native-American point of view. It demonstrated that whites instigated the great majority of the conflicts between Native Americans and themselves. Brown began searching for the facts about Native Americans after he met several as a child and had a hard time believing the myths about their savagery that were popular among white people. Brown published his book a century after the events took place, but it was a timely publication, since many U.S. citizens were already feeling guilty about their country's involvement in the Vietnam War. Brown's book depicted, in detail, the U.S. government's attempt to acquire Native Americans' land by using a mix of threats, deception, and murder. In addition, the book showed the attempts to crush Native-American beliefs and practices. These acts were justified by the theory of Manifest Destiny, which stated that European descendents acting for the U.S. government had a God-given right to take land from the Native Americans.

One of the many aspects that was the destruction of the Indian Nations was the fact that the U.S. would create these treaties in order to gain land that had some value, move the Indians to land of no value, and when the "other land" was found to have value, break the treaty and start the cycle over. There are many great quotes in this book that can help summarize the rest of this review.

From Chief Joseph of the Nez Perces. Keep in mind it was the Nez Perces that saved the Lewis and Clark Expedition from starving and provided fresh horses.
"It is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food; no one knows where they are - perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired; my heart is sic and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever."

To show the arrogance of the politicians of the time this is from Governor Pitkin, governor of Colorado:
"My idea is that unless removed by the government they [the Indians] must be necessarily exterminated."

And this response by Senator John Logan to Sitting Bull's apology for not trusting the white man:
"The government feeds and clothes and educates your children now, and desires to teach you to become farmers, and to civilize you, and make you as white men"

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