Wounded Knee

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownBury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I saw the film (Soldier Blue) many years ago (remember the song by Buffy St.Marie?), but it has taken a long time to get round to reading the book on which it was based.

Anger and great sadness were my prime emotions, alternating regularly. Based as it is on contemporaneous testimony to various government commissions and on some actual Indian records (in the later 19th century), one cannot but help get a deep sense of the duplicity and greed of the invaders.

The violent destruction of a civilization of proud, cultured and freedom loving peoples and the rape of natural resources by an invader with ‘God on their side’ and driven by political expediency is a disgusting testimony to the baseness of man.

In many ways it is another example of how religion can be misinterpreted and applied in the most base of ways. It has happened through the ages and we still see it today being turned back on the nation which was being shaped in this book.

As I was approaching the end of the book, there was a re-run of ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’ on TV (Clint Eastwood directed and starred). I viewed the meeting he had with the Comanche chief through new eyes and could see that Eastwood had presented a fair and respectful picture of what I had come to understand of American Indians through my reading of the book.

For me it was compulsive reading. 4* plus – and I don’t usually read history!

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