Stephanie's Reviews > Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
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Dec 04, 13

bookshelves: history, non-fiction, 2012
Read from April 18 to 25, 2012

Fair warning, there may be some political views in this review which should not be surprising being that this book is the history of a government slaughtering a native people because they were simply in the way.

This book is a comprehensive history of the Native American from the moment when the white man showed up on this continent. It kind of goes a little like this.

White guys: “Hey y’all. Love the feathers! Wow its cold and we’re hungry; you wouldn’t be so kind as to help us out.”

Native Americans: Awe, they are just like little children. “Of course we’ll help. We’ll teach you how to hunt and fish and plant crops.”

White guys: “Thanks! By the way we would like to purchase some land from you, not much, just enough for us to live. What do you say?”

Native Americans: Purchase land? What do they mean by that? Everyone knows no one owns a part of mother earth. They are sooo adorable. “Alright you can purchase some land” snicker “How do we go about this?”

White guys: “Well, we will give you some shiny things, trinkets and bobbles and you will sign a piece of paper that says this land ours and that you will stay off of it.”

Native Americans: These guys hilarious, but just to keep the peace…….”Okay, deal. Bobbles and we shall sign this piece of paper. But what happens if we enter “your land”?

White guys: “We will kill you.”

Native Americans: Oh man! They can’t be serious after all the help we gave them; we saved their lives for cripes sake. “uh…..alright, just this once.”

White guys: “Guess what, we have more friends coming and we need a little more land. Sorry, won’t happen again, but if you don’t hand it over we will kill you.”

Native Americans: WTF? “Hey, you lied to us! You said you wouldn’t do this again yet here you are. You’re not so cute anymore white guys.” Shit. “We’ll compromise THIS once, but don’t you let it happen again!”

This happened over and over again. The white man took land, slaughter Indians and the Indians would compromise to avoid war. Many Native American leaders really liked the whites and tried hard to be friends. But some asshat white guys would blow it and more death would happen. Finally some Native American leaders said “ENOUGH!” And went to war, but by then it was too late and they had their asses handed to them.

Thoughts while I read this…..

White guys = Republicans (ironicly still white guys)
Native Americans = Democrates.

Sometimes lessons are never learned
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 82) (82 new)


message 1: by Manny (last edited Apr 25, 2012 11:53PM) (new)

Manny Despite having lived for several years in the US, I have never quite understood how Americans can celebrate Thanksgiving. It seems to be a perfect example of Orwellian doublethink: people simultaneously know just what it's celebrating, and give it the exact opposite associations. I have celebrated Thanksgiving myself more than once, and I find it's possible to make your mind perform the requisite operations, but I still find it kind of stunning.


message 2: by Mark (new)

Mark Read this book a number of years ago and as is so often the case with the history of European encroachment I found myself sickened by the horrible inevitability of the continual betrayal and disingenuous hypocrisy.

Western Governments, of all hues and sizes, still do this in so many situations though in different ways which they then seek to justify by twisting logic and bending sense; imposing 'our' understanding of democracy on certain nations we feel we can bully whilst turning a blind eye to rampant abuses elsewhere by our dubious allies or those too big or economically significant to bad mouth.

Getting all arsey cos some nation we don't like is seeking nuclear weapons whilst we sit prettily on an enormous pile of the things and tinker with them saying 'well we will get rid of one or two of ours so then we can only destroy the world fifty times instead of fifty two times but North Korea isn't allowed any, nor is Iran, nor is anyone we don't approve of cos they are bound to use them for 'bad stuff''.

Its this arrogant refusal to recognize that if we think we deserve them and can be trusted with them then it is ridiculous to dismiss another nation's seeking after the same security. Personally i do not think any group of humn beings should hold in their possession the wherewithal to blow to smithereens another group but it was this abuse of superior firepower and twisting of logic and agreements which led to the horror in Brown's book.


Stephanie Manny wrote: "Despite having lived for several years in the US, I have never quite understood how Americans can celebrate Thanksgiving. It seems to be a perfect example of Orwellian doublethink: people simultane..."

The truest and oddest Thanksgiving I spent was when I worked at Knott's Berry Farm in Orange co. California. They had a group of Native American entertainers and a retailer for whom I was friends with. I worked on Thanksgiving because I didn't have family in the area. So all the Native Americans and I went to the break room and had turkey with all the fixings. The entertainers were in there costumes......I looked around the table and I realized the gravity. I felt odd. Even though I have some N.A. blood......Cherokee, Blackfoot and Kickapoo, I am pretty darn white. They thought nothing of it.


message 4: by Manny (new)

Manny So do Native Americans generally celebrate Thanksgiving as well then and find it acceptable? That is truly startling. I don't know any Native Americans, and it had never occurred to me to think about it. I guess I'd just assumed they wouldn't.


Stephanie Mark wrote: "Read this book a number of years ago and as is so often the case with the history of European encroachment I found myself sickened by the horrible inevitability of the continual betrayal and dising..."

Well said.

One story in the book I found to be heartbreaking (like all of the stories) was when a white general was talking to an Indian Chief when the chief started to cry over his murdered family. The white guy was shocked because he didn't realize the Native Americans could cry.

Unbelievable, yet I'm not shocked. Black people weren't considered human, gay people were less than human. And both are still treated less than. Makes my blood boil.


Stephanie Manny wrote: "So do Native Americans generally celebrate Thanksgiving as well then and find it acceptable? That is truly startling. I don't know any Native Americans, and it had never occurred to me to think abo..."

I think it was just food to them, not a celebration. At least that is what I gathered.


message 7: by Manny (new)

Manny Was there a period when Christian theologians thought Native Americans lacked souls? I understand they had determined that black Africans didn't have souls, which was part of the justification for the slave trade. It would be interesting to see the reasoning. I should look it up.


Stephanie Manny wrote: "Was there a period when Christian theologians thought Native Americans lacked souls? I understand they had determined that black Africans didn't have souls, which was part of the justification for ..."

I guess that is what they mean by determining they were not human. As far as the slaves were concerned, they determined that they were 3/5s of a human being. Not sure how the math works there. I say those old Christian theologists had no soles.


message 9: by Manny (last edited Apr 26, 2012 09:05AM) (new)

Manny I had to go and look it up, and it's both horrible and fascinating. From http://www.gci.org/bible/africans:
The pre-Adamite view argues that blacks, particularly so-called "Negroes," are not descended from Adam. This view appears to have its origin in the works of such authors as Paracelsus in 1520, Bruno in 1591, Vanini in 1619 and one of the most prolific writers, Peyrère, in 1655. It reached a high level of development with the 19th-century scholar Alexander Winchell in his book, Preadamites; or a Demonstration of the Existence of Men Before Adam, published in 1880.

These writers (all of them white), argued that blacks belong to a race created before Adam and from among whom the biblical villain Cain found his wife. Cain, by marrying one of these pre-Adamic peoples, the reasoning goes, became the progenitor of all black people. Therefore, it was rationalized, black people, especially "Negroes," are not actually human, because they did not descend from Adam but from some pre-Adamic creation, having entered the human race only by intermarriage, and that with a notorious sinner. As non-humans, therefore, they did not have souls, but were merely beasts like any other beast of the field. And since the Bible says God gave humans dominion over the beasts, it was concluded that these soulless creatures exist to do work for the humans.



Stephanie Manny wrote: "I had to go and look it up, and it's both horrible and fascinating. From http://www.gci.org/bible/africans:The pre-Adamite view argues that blacks, particularly so-called "Negroes," are not descend..."

That is as fascinating as it is disgusting. Thanks for looking it up......wow.

Just goes to prove once again that the bible has caused more problems than it has helped people. Jesus would just shake his head in disbelief.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Religion is the root of all evil.

Reviews like this are, on the other hand, the root of all understanding.


message 12: by Kaethe (new) - added it

Kaethe White Guys: We refuse to acknowledge the humanity of anyone until forced to do so by law, as it interferes with our raping, pillaging, plundering, and murdering.

Everyone Else: Weird.

White Guys: You can't be expected to understand, you're not even human.


Stephanie Richard wrote: "Religion is the root of all evil.

Reviews like this are, on the other hand, the root of all understanding."


Thanks.


Stephanie Kaethe wrote: "White Guys: We refuse to acknowledge the humanity of anyone until forced to do so by law, as it interferes with our raping, pillaging, plundering, and murdering.

Everyone Else: Weird.

White Guys:..."


So true Kaethe.


message 15: by Manny (new)

Manny Just goes to prove once again that the bible has caused more problems than it has helped people.

I don't think it proves the Bible has done more harm than good (though that may be true of course). I would definitely say it proves the Devil can quote Scripture for his own purposes.


Stephanie Manny wrote: "Just goes to prove once again that the bible has caused more problems than it has helped people.

I don't think it proves the Bible has done more harm than good (though that may be true of course)...."


the book itself being inanimate is harmless and has many good things in it.It's the interpretations of it and actions conducted in its name that's the problem. I miss spoke.


message 17: by Kaethe (last edited Apr 26, 2012 11:33AM) (new) - added it

Kaethe I don't think religion is the root of all evil, I think it's the handy tool-of-all-evil®.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Kaethe wrote: "I don't think religion is the root of all evil, I think it's the handy tool-of-all-evil®."

Heh. Your registration duly observed.


message 19: by David (new)

David Cerruti You might like Geronimo: My Life, by Geronimo.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12...


message 20: by Manny (new)

Manny Oh, a brief postscript. I just read yesterday in Carroll Quigley's Tragedy and Hope that Britain's standard excuse, when it was fighting colonial wars in Africa during the second half of the 19th century and trying to grab as much of the continent as possible, was that "it was opposing the Arab slave trade".

I just don't know what to say, except that I'm surprised I can still be shocked by the depths of most governments' cynicism and hypocrisy.


message 21: by Mark (last edited Nov 09, 2012 02:23AM) (new)

Mark Manny wrote: "I just don't know what to say, except that I'm surprised I can still be shocked by the depths of most governments' cynicism and hypocrisy."

Its a good sign that you still have a heart.

I find it amazing the number of times colonial defenders will wheel out the rather dubious argument that 'at least we weren't as bad as king Leopold in the Congo' as if you can have a 'Go-compare' type imperial oppression website where being just fairly vicious and repressive gets a gold star when compared to total inhumanity and slaughter


message 22: by Manny (new)

Manny As Pope put it:
But where th' extreme of vice, was ne'er agreed:
Ask where's the North? at York, 'tis on the Tweed;
In Scotland, at the Orcades; and there,
At Greenland, Zembla, or the Lord knows where.
No creature owns it in the first degree,
But thinks his neighbour farther gone than he.



message 23: by Mark (new)

Mark I couldn't have put it better myself !!


message 24: by Kaethe (new) - added it

Kaethe I'm expecting to begin reaping the royalties any day now.


Stephanie Manny wrote: "As Pope put it:But where th' extreme of vice, was ne'er agreed:
Ask where's the North? at York, 'tis on the Tweed;
In Scotland, at the Orcades; and there,
At Greenland, Zembla, or the Lord knows wh..."


Oh I like that.


Stephanie David wrote: "You might like Geronimo: My Life, by Geronimo.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12..."


Added it.....Thanks


message 27: by Phoenix (new)

Phoenix Lafemme This was the most lucid review of book that I have ever read. Hell, I didn't even bother to read the other reviews.


Stephanie Phoenix wrote: "This was the most lucid review of book that I have ever read. Hell, I didn't even bother to read the other reviews."

That's high praise. Thank you!


message 29: by David (new)

David Cerruti Stephanie wrote: “Added it.....Thanks”

You might also like Black Hawk: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, by Black Hawk.
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58...


Stephanie David wrote: "Stephanie wrote: “Added it.....Thanks”

You might also like Black Hawk: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, by Black Hawk.
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58..."


Thanks...added!


message 31: by Greg (new) - added it

Greg Most of the European powers agreed to carved up Africa in 1887 at a meeting in Berlin 'scramble for Africa' at the congress of Berlin,slavery continued up to the 1860 and had nothing to do with the carve up, you are right.


Melissa Snyder That's funny not just Republicans stole land from Indians so did democrats. The general allotment act passed in 1887 under democrat president Grover Cleaveland resulted in 60 million acres either outright taken or sold to the government for non Indian homesteaders.


Stephanie Melissa wrote: "That's funny not just Republicans stole land from Indians so did democrats. The general allotment act passed in 1887 under democrat president Grover Cleaveland resulted in 60 million acres either o..."

Jerks the lot of'em!


Melissa Snyder Agreed


Stephanie Amazing what humans will do to each other.


Howard You had me until the very end where I don't understand the analogy, unless you mean D's compromise on issues with R's who are never satisfied so they demand more. I guess that's true if you believe D's sincerely represent the interest of the people who elect them. My own feeling is that the parties have established a working relationship by dividing 50/50 and conquering the electorate. Third parties have been reduced to a joke. But the point I really wanted to make is that all Americans today benefit in some way from our shameful policies and practices of the 18th and 19th centuries. It's sobering to think of the Union army carrying out a self-righteous humanitarian crusade to "free the slaves" and then turning around to lie, cheat, steal, slaughter, etc. in their dealings with the Native peoples.


message 37: by Rachel (new) - added it

Rachel Mae Andrew Jackson was a democrat who took part in the slaughtering of American Indians how could you say that the Indians were democrats? I'm the fourth great grand daughter of Cheif John Ross and most of my family is still full blood Cherokee. Yes, American Indians do celebrate thanksgiving and all of the other stupid holidays on our calendars. Yes, Americans Indians were also forced to accept Christianity, cut off all of their hair like "modern men" and we're beaten with sticks if they spoke to each other in their own native language. It's surprising to me how Americans don't understand the history of how we got here, what for, and the genocide that they created on my ancestors to basically trick them into obtaining their own land and then slaughtering them. PLEASE look this part of History up it will shock you how fascist our government is and are while covering all of it up for the public to not see what really went down. It's called propaganda and yellow journalism hmm, which they also used during the expansion. Don't trust the freakin government people what is so hard to understand, they take your money and run while violating our constitutinal rights wether we like it or not. They will and ultimely succeed in their stupid psychological warfare. The government is TOO big and they abuse their powers.


message 38: by Rachel (new) - added it

Rachel Mae What's also amazing to me is some people still use the word savage to describe American Indians as well as using red skins for football teams and the like. It doesn't seem fair considering I can't call a black man a n***** the racism towards American Indians has become completely unnoticed like its a joke. American Indians would have done a better job with this country in my opinion.


Stephanie Rachel wrote: "What's also amazing to me is some people still use the word savage to describe American Indians as well as using red skins for football teams and the like. It doesn't seem fair considering I can't..."

Maybe they would have...we'll never know. Dems used to be the bad guys....Republicans freed the slaves remember? Things change over time. Currently the Democrates are the ones that care about the American people.


message 40: by Stephanie (last edited Jun 06, 2013 03:25PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Stephanie Howard wrote: "You had me until the very end where I don't understand the analogy, unless you mean D's compromise on issues with R's who are never satisfied so they demand more. I guess that's true if you believe..."

People. Generally. Suck.


message 41: by Rachel (new) - added it

Rachel Mae That's a misguided statement. Democrats do not care about people in the way that most Americans think they do. Like I said, don't be fooled by media. Have you even been paying attetion to politics and all of the scandals that are out right now? Do you even know what Obama care is? Like ACTUALLY know what is in that bill? Most Americans don't and it's pretty scary.a


message 42: by Rachel (last edited Jun 09, 2013 01:42AM) (new) - added it

Rachel Mae Abraham Lincoln did free the slaves but, if you look through out his presidency he violated our constitution as well such as unlawfully suspending habius corpus and sussecion of the states was completely legal in that period of time. He also ordered a military blockade of southern ports which is an act of war that never went through Congress. He violated freedom of press by arresting journalists that spoke out against him. I mean the list goes on and on. No president should have that power. We need checks and balances, a balance of the branches and when the executive side gets too big obviously, shit starts going down. Just like the oval office now. Anyone in power will ultimately abuse it. The civil war was NOT just about freeing slaves. I know school teaches everyone that crap, but you'd be surprised what really happened through enough research outside of those high school text books. I know I did.


message 43: by Austin (new)

Austin Mccrory you're racist, it goes both ways dumbass. Being racist towards white people is just as bad as white people being racist towards others.


Stephanie Austin wrote: "you're racist, it goes both ways dumbass. Being racist towards white people is just as bad as white people being racist towards others."

Are You calling me a racist Mr. Lynchburg Virginia? I've spent time there and I know how that place is. I was handed a lot of backwards thinking, anti-science flyers by backwards thinking, anti-science "college" students for whom a few I made cry. So, by my own personal experience, I would bet a shit ton of dollars that someone is racist here and it's NOT me!

Good day sir!


message 45: by Austin (new)

Austin Mccrory Haha once again you are classifying someone negatively you don't know. That's cool, you're just as bad as those negative people in Lynchburg.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Austin wrote: "you're racist, it goes both ways dumbass. Being racist towards white people is just as bad as white people being racist towards others."

There's only one race, human; otherwise we couldn't interbreed, and we can. Stephanie's noting facts, not giving opinions. Facts can't be biased, only their telling can be.

Facts ain't on your side. They're on hers.

BTW Stephanie, I didn't know you had a shit-ton of dollars! Can I have a half-shit ton?


Stephanie Austin wrote: "Haha once again you are classifying someone negatively you don't know. That's cool, you're just as bad as those negative people in Lynchburg."

I do 'know' you're a dick because you called me a dumb-ass and a racist on my review and you don't know me at all.....that seems pretty damn negative to me.

So leave troll ......now.


Stephanie Richard wrote: "Austin wrote: "you're racist, it goes both ways dumbass. Being racist towards white people is just as bad as white people being racist towards others."

There's only one race, human; otherwise we c..."


Hey! I don't, but I'm not worried about losing this bet


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Stephanie wrote: "Hey! I don't, but I'm not worried about losing this bet"

Nope, not a lot to worry about there.


message 50: by Frances (new)

Frances Darling, it's okay to be a racist as long as you hate everyone equally.


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