Dee Brown's Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee

4599 words - 18 pages

Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a documented account of the destruction of the American Indian in the late 1800s ending at the Battle of Wounded Knee. The author asks us to confront our past, which may make us uncomfortable. But there are two sides to every story, and Brown shows us the side that we rarely see. By forcing us to think about these issues, Dee Brown accomplished the goal he set out to achieve when he began writing this eye opening account of the American West. Brown brings to light a story of torture not well known in American history. It opens the eyes of the reader as to how early settlers treated the American Indians. This was accomplished as she effectively tells of the Indian's historical struggle against the white man's greed. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a work of non-fiction, attempts to tell the story of the American West from the perspective of the American Indian. That itself makes Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee an important work of literature as it is one of the few books supporting the Indian cause. This is done through the use of council records, autobiographies, and first-hand accounts.Using council records, autobiographies, Congressional records, U.S. Army treaties and firsthand descriptions, Brown allows those who were there to tell in their own words of the battles, massacres, and broken treaties that left the Native Americans depraved and defeated. The accurate story of an early American Indian has rarely been told. Most accounts of Indian life in the West from the eighteen hundreds were translated by a white man. Even the quality of direct statements from early Natives can be questioned. Brown wanted to produce an authentic Indian account of what really took place during this time in American history that should be read without skepticism.Each of the book's nineteen chapters deals with a certain tribe, battle, or historical event. Brown goes into deep detail throughout the book, as seen by the book's nearly 500 pages. Very little is known about this terrible genocide. Brown has written many books about the life of the American Indian, including Creek Mary's Blood and Killdeer Mountain, but Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is clearly his greatest work.The Native Americans never quite understood why these white skinned people wanted to destroy their land and their way of life. This book Brown shows example after example of the Indian's willingness to live side by side with the white man. However with the idea of manifest destiny echoing through the heads of excited settlers and the fact that in the far West most tribes were too small, too spread apart, or too weak to offer any real resistance the Indians not only lost their homelands, but thousands of lives.In Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee Dee Brown lets the reader experience what this time in history must have been like. The reader becomes emotionally involved in the condition of the Indians and will find himself/herse hoping that somehow Brown managed...

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