Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Essay by wasubiiUniversity, Bachelor'sA, October 2002

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Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a documented account of the destruction of the American Indian in the late 1800s ending at the Battle of Wounded Knee. The author asks us to confront our past, which may make us uncomfortable. But there are two sides to every story, and Brown shows us the side that we rarely see. By forcing us to think about these issues, Dee Brown accomplished the goal he set out to achieve when he began writing this eye opening account of the American West. Brown brings to light a story of torture not well known in American history. It opens the eyes of the reader as to how early settlers treated the American Indians. This was accomplished as she effectively tells of the Indian's historical struggle against the white man's greed. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a work of non-fiction, attempts to tell the story of the American West from the perspective of the American Indian.

That itself makes Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee an important work of literature as it is one of the few books supporting the Indian cause. This is done through the use of council records, autobiographies, and first-hand accounts.

Using council records, autobiographies, Congressional records, U.S. Army treaties and firsthand descriptions, Brown allows those who were there to tell in their own words of the battles, massacres, and broken treaties that left the Native Americans depraved and defeated. The accurate story of an early American Indian has rarely been told. Most accounts of Indian life in the West from the eighteen hundreds were translated by a white man. Even the quality of direct statements from early Natives can be questioned. Brown wanted to produce an authentic Indian account of what really took place during...