David's Reviews > The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer
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David Treuer, you had me at the leeches.

Well, not precisely, since his visit with Bobby Matthews, subsistence trapper of bait leeches and general master of getting things to be got, doesn't appear until Part 5. Bobby is just one of the Native Americans that Treuer encounters who has found his own way to Indianness in the 21st century. Treuer's nuanced reading of the Tualip nation in the Pacific Northwest, a complicated story of success and corruption, is particularly fine.

In Treuer's recapitulation of Indian history on the North American continent, we are reminded that there were "code talkers" in the first World War (Choctaw) and that Native Americans served in combat roles in World War II (among them, the Mesawaki in the Pacific theater). And that, as horribly as the Plains Indians may have been treated, the natives of California perhaps suffered even more.

When it's called for, Treuer can turn a phrase.

With each split and each move [in the late 19th century], the Little Shell lost more of their sense of themselves. At stake was not merely some kind of round self-regard: without community and without place, without land, a people becomes leprous, they lose bits and pieces of themselves and the safety net that shared language, experience, lifeway, and place can provide. (p. 261)
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Reading Progress

May 3, 2019 – Started Reading
May 3, 2019 – Shelved
May 3, 2019 – Finished Reading

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