Posted by: Matt | October 12, 2007

Reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

I’ve been reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. I knew it would make me angry, but I still felt I ought to read it.  It’s just incredible to me how aggressively the United States government pursued Native Americans.  Their only response with regards to westward expansion was to exterminate the Native Americans whether by murder or starvation.  It shames me to think on this part of my nation’s history.  As I read I am left to wonder if all leaders of the U.S. Army during the 19th Century were bloodthirsty despots or if it was just a coincidence that the few that existed were all sent to “make peace” with the Native Americans.

Listening to the radio the last few days there has been much discussion about whether to declare the mass killing of Armenians in Turkey as genocide.  Someone, not sure who, made a comment that we ought to look at what happened to Native Americans in the our own country before we go about addressing the sins of other nations.  In particular we might look at what happened at Sand Creek (the description at this link does not even begin to describe the horrors committed at Sand Creek by the Army, I encourage you to research it further).

I think we are all familiar with General Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn, however, I was not aware of the rest of his dealings with Native Americans until reading this book.  Now I can’t help but wish his “Last Stand” had come earlier…



  1. I’ve heard really good things about this book. Not really my thing, but I guess you never know!

    I’ve been so busy this past week, I haven’t even had time to blog. That’s kind of sad, isn’t it??

  2. This is something that makes me really angry, too.

  3. Hawaiians, Native Americans…can’t we just mind our own business?

  4. Matt, I’d like to see you do a round-up of all the war/history related books that you’ve read and maybe briefly recap your reviews and such. I’d be particularly interested to see what you liked and might pick up some of your selections when I head home for Christmas.

    Early American government policies seem really interesting and I might just have to pick this one up. I’m almost tempted to pick up a Washington state history book again just to review what we learned in junior high.

    PS: you might want to delete that first post. 🙂 I find it funny that the bot picked up on the word heart and decided to let us know about cholesterol.

  5. Stephanie – I had been hearing good things about this book for years which is why I had to read it.

    dew – I don’t understand how people can hate and destroy like that, the world’s history is full of it too.

    Matt – Never have been able to and doubt we ever will. Entitlement, we’re ridiculous.

    Kevin – Most of my history books are about World War II but I’ll see if I can get some kind of post like that worked up. Did we learn about Washington State history in junior high? I don’t even remember… And thanks for the heads up on the cholesterol ping, I couldn’t figure out why it chose that but I think you’re right about the word “heart”.

  6. My father had this book on his shelf. I always saw it there and wondered what it was about, the title seemed odd to me (I was weak in history, too). I definitely feel the need to read this book now. Thank you for the great review!

  7. It’s really disheartening to see how horrible expansion and land has been handled throughout history. Doesn’t look like it’s changed much either.

  8. I always think of history as bloodier than the present, but I guess that’s not true at all…we don’t learn do we?

  9. Jeane – You’re welcome, though it’s not quite a review, I haven’t yet finished the book.

    Carrie K – Yeah, the desire for land, or more of it, has always caused terrible trouble.

    verbivore – We don’t learn. We are supposed to be taught history so that we won’t be doomed to repeat it, yet we continue to repeat our horrible mistakes.

  10. Good to hear your response to this book. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year.

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