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A Century of Dishonor: A Sketch of the United States Government’s Dealings with some of the Indian Tribes

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  129 ratings  ·  19 reviews
First published in 1881 and reprinted in numerous editions since, Helen Hunt Jackson’s A Century of Dishonor is a classic account of the U.S. government’s flawed Indian policy and the unfair and cruel treatment afforded North American Indians by expansionist Americans. Jackson wrote the book as a polemic to "appeal to the hearts and conscience of the American people," who ...more
Paperback, 552 pages
Published April 15th 1995 by University of Oklahoma Press (first published 1881)
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Nov 10, 2010 rated it liked it
This book is really the "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" of the 19th century, except that the book, and the author's death, came before the Wounded Knee massacre. Therefore, even though many horrible things had happened to the Indians and their situation was dire, she was still writing with hope that something could be done, and that things could get better.

Jackson is very much an elderly lady of that time, so her focus is often on the piety of the converted Indians, and there are man
Both a product of its time and a transcendence of its time. Jackson's prose is a little difficult to read, but her message is boldly humane. She portrays the First Peoples neither as bloody savages nor as pitiable victims, but human beings struggling to adapt to a rapidly-changing world. Unlike much commentary on the subject of its day, "A Century of Dishonor" pulls no punches and uses no euphemisms in condemning the double-dealing and violence of those who wrested away the Native Americans' lan ...more
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I decided to read this book after having learned of the author from Pearson's book on the Nez Perces tribe which I read a few months ago. Jackson was known for her tireless efforts beginning in the 1880's to help Native Americans in their efforts to regain possession of their lands lost in their dealings with white settlers and the US government.

The title of this book says it all: with a thorough review of government reports, letters from various government officials and private citizens involv
Aug 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is an important book, a watershed moment in terms of consciousness-raising among white Americans in the battle for Native rights at the end of the nineteenth century. Jackson is a product of her time, and her descriptions of indigenous peoples as "poor creatures," etc. etc. certainly reveal that. Additionally, one of her main arguments for better treatment of Natives lies in her belief in chivalry, and the necessity of the government protecting those she considers weak. But while she dabble ...more
Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
A detailed account of the shameful treatment of our native people by the U.S. government and military. The worst of it is that it happened over and over to tribes across the nation. Those who look at reservations and decry the lack of initiative or rampant alcoholism can find the source of those problems in this book - relocated tribes were contractually promised payment for land that was never paid and training and tools promised so that natives could earn a living and farm on the reservation w ...more
Brian Sollors
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very good! Amazing how much Jackson cared about the well being of the Native Americans and their rights as human beings during a time most could care less. For me the best part about this book was the fact that it was written back in the 1880's. Her attitude and values were ahead of her time. She was in the minority during a time when Native American's were thought of as less than human. If you like history this book is probably on of the best I have read in a long time.
Amanda Fredlund
Am currently reading this for my Native Peoples of the Northern Plains course at the University of Manitoba and it really is such a significant text. It sets the stage for todays current aboriginal issues, giving readers a deeper understanding of the violations done towards the indigenous peoples of America. Heartbreaking and emotional, this book with leave you with more than just a little bit of anger towards the colonizers of north america..
Amron Gravett /  Wild Clover Book Services
"One must have a callous heart who can read it unmoved."

Although the author wrote this line in reference to Cheyenne prisoners’ testimony to Congress, it is illustrative of the entire book. Describing government injustices committed upon various tribes, the author considered this her most important book. The subject informed and inspired the rest of her life’s work, including her most popular book titled 'Ramona'.
Nicole Tanner
Jun 25, 2008 rated it liked it
I read this about 10 years ago and it has stayed with me ever since. It's incredibly dense and detailed (some times ad nauseam) but an excellent work portraying early US-Native American relations. It will open your eyes to the power struggle and greed between "civilized" and indigenous peoples around the world.
Robert Hays
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The fact that this book still is in print is a strong testament to its value. When it was published in 1881, Helen Hunt Jackson offered America a contemporary version of Dee Brown's "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," which by comparison is a retrospective published nearly a century later.
Jan 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
It was VERY deeply Christian. Sorry, Helen Hunt Jackson, but not everyone thinks that "Christian" is the same as "moral". Especially not us Jews - oh, you know, that other people Christians have historically slaughtered and robbed.
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is old. Its relevance has suffered because of its age. Yet it is still an important read. Supplementing this with a more modern book is essential, but ignoring this book because of its age is foolish as long as this sensitive issue remains an issue.
Jul 16, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am amazed at the generalities in which we so often speak of people groups.
Dec 14, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
B An interesting portrayal of how our country treats and treated Am. Ind.
Dec 18, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: natives
Significant because it was written early. Otherwise, not that good.
Fredrick Danysh
Jun 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
The US government has never honored a treaty that it made with Native Americans. This is the story of that dishonor.
Francine Fontana
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Think you know something about history? Not until you read this. Bone chilling truth about what our government allowed to happen to the American Indian Tribes.
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Helen Maria Hunt Jackson was an American writer best known as the author of Ramona, a novel about the ill treatment of Native Americans in Southern California, and as an activist for Native American rights