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Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Literature Research Papers

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The book “bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” is a historical account of the annihilation of the American Indian and the events leading up to the battle at Wounded Knee written by author Dee Brown.  Brown brings attention to the torture and atrocities encountered by the American Indians in the attempt of the Europeans to form this new country.  Taken from actual tribal council records and first hand accounts, the lengths that the ‘white man’ went to fulfill their Christian manifest is nothing short of genocide toward the American Indian population.  This book is an important piece of literature in that it is one of the few works of literature to take up the American Indian cause.

Some facts about the book include:

  • Historical Non-Fiction
  • Author: Dee Brown
  • Written in 1970
  • First published in New York City by Rinehart & Winston
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Brown opens his story with background of a new nation dependent on the American natives to teach them how to survive in this new land.  Squanto and others from the Pemaquid tribe thought of the Plymouth colonists as helpless children. For several years the Indians and the new settlers lived peaceably together. According to libcom.org, the onslaught of European settlers started to crowd the new settlements and the first land agreement was signed by Samoset with an X relinquishing the American Indian’s land.

Brown reviews several other historical incidents of early settlers taking native land from the American Indian.  When the Indians would not hand it over peacefully, the Europeans would use force as in the instance of the Dutch taking over Staten Island.  When the Indians resisted arrest for unjust accusations, the Dutch soldiers massacred two entire villages, men, women and children, while they slept.  The author goes into shocking detail to explain the ways the American Indians were treated and killed.  For example “The Dutch soldiers ran their bayonets through men, women, and children, hacked their bodies to pieces, and then leveled the villages with fire.”

Peace at Wounded Knee

The Iroquois wanted nothing more than to have peace with the white man. The tribe of The Five Nations was the strongest of the eastern tribes but after fighting for years to keep their land and freedom, they were defeated and any survivors fled to Canada, went west or resigned themselves to life on a reservation.

In 1829 Andrew Jackson became president.  He was called Sharp Knife by the Indians because he had slain many Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles while a General in the American army.  When He became president, he recommended to Congress that all Indians be moved to an Indian Territory west of the Mississippi.


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