Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee

Dee Brown

Summary

The natives used to roam tribal lands peacefully and simply, with respect for the country and its inhabitants. Then the white settlers come, in a great wave and hurry to reach the gold of California or the rich farmland of the plains. The Indians begin to be seen as an irritation, or a barrier that needed to be moved to one side so that manifest destiny could be achieved. One of the most powerful lines in the book thus far is when Thomas tells them as his people are being forced to move onto a reservation and buy land, that there is not a single word in any of the native languages that means to own a piece of the earth. Once on the reservation the Indians were usually forced to move again, after gold was discovered or a road to the West Coast is planned. On the reservations they are also forced to only speak english, attend churches, plant crops and not hunt. As I read this portion of the book it makes me sad for a culture that had lasted hundreds of years before our arrival, yet we annihilated for convenience.