Book Review: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

This is, as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story when it comes to our history in dealing with Native Americans in the 1800’s as we moved across this land making promises that we broke and signing treaties we had no intention of honoring.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee in front of the Wounded Knee Memorial on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee in front of the Wounded Knee Memorial on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Because I am in the area  for a few months and serving the people of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, I wanted to learn more about the history of the people who were here before the rest of us. The sad, plain truth is that our ancestors and our government took the good will that Native Americans offered us and threw it back in their faces by lying to them, cheating them and stealing their land from them. Their culture was broken and almost eradicated. A great people, at peace with themselves, their land, and their fellow man, have almost been destroyed, both figuratively and literally.

As a child I grew up on books, TV shows, and movies that pretended to tell the stories of the old west. Almost without exception, the Indians were always the bad guys. When children in the neighborhood played “Cowboys and Indians” no one ever wanted to be the Indians. They were the bad guys and they always died at the hands of the good guys, the Cowboys.

Read this book and you’ll read that nothing could be farther from the truth. Nothing is ever as black and white as we are led to believe. It is true today and it was true then.

No reflection on the book at all, for I only believe it records the truth of the day, but all I feel after reading it is shame.

About The Word Of Jeff

I'm a freelance writer and blogger who has written for, among others, Tribune Media Services, Suite101 and Athena Guides. As an intrepid traveler I have chronicled some of my travels at The Verbal Vagabond, my travel blog. And, being an avid amateur photographer, I also have a photography blog spotlighting photos I have taken of areas around my hometown at Postcards From Maggie Valley. Speaking of Maggie Valley, that is where my wife, our Golden Retriever/Border Collie mix, Bella, our Orange Tabby, Tigger and I live in a log cabin on a mountain in Western North Carolina, just at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I enjoy hiking, camping, art, travel, photography (as mentioned above), and an occasional glass of good wine while reading or writing in front of the fireplace.
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