Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee

Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee by Dee Brown – Reviewed by Guy Portman

First published in 1970, Dee Brown’s masterpiece is a testament to the plight of the Native Americans in the years 1860-1890.  The author successfully employs a compelling and emotionally charged narrative, as he outlines the history of the various tribes during this turbulent and merciless period in American history.  As the flow of white immigration became an insatiable surge, it pushed ever westwards, encroaching onto the lands of the original inhabitants of this vast country.

This fascinating and compelling account details the noble efforts of individual Native American tribes to maintain their way of life through a multitude of broken promises, treachery, violence and greed that was to ultimately lead to the loss of their liberty and in many instances complete obliteration.

The book allows the reader the opportunity to gain an intricate understanding of these various struggles, including Sitting Bull’s efforts to retain control of The Black Hills and the Apache chief Geronimo’s highly effective guerrilla war.  The author is also equally adept at narrating the less well known yet equally captivating histories of other tribes during this period, such as the Modocs in California, the Utes of Colorado and the flight of the Nez Percés under their charismatic chief Joseph.

The book ends with the massacre of the Sioux at Wounded Knee in 1890, a tragic and avoidable incident, which was to mark the end of an era.

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