Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: A Brief Overview

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a well-known book written by Dee Brown and published in 1970. It is a historical account that portrays the devastating impact of European colonization on Native American tribes in the late 19th century.

The Story

The book presents a chronological narrative of events, starting from the subjugation of Native American tribes by European colonizers during the westward expansion of the United States. Brown focuses on major conflicts, treaties, and policies that shaped the destinies of tribes such as the Sioux, Cheyenne, Apache, Navajo, and others.

Through meticulous research and compelling storytelling, Brown sheds light on the displacement and forced assimilation of Native Americans, as well as the implementation of reservations and Indian boarding schools. The book also highlights the tragic events leading up to the Wounded Knee Massacre, where hundreds of unarmed Sioux men, women, and children were killed by U.S. troops.

Praise, Criticism, and Awards

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee received widespread acclaim for its depiction of the Native American experience. It is highly regarded as an influential work that exposed the false narratives perpetuated by traditional accounts of American history. The book was a bestseller and has been translated into multiple languages.

While the book faced initial controversy due to its candor and challenging of historical narratives, it has since become a seminal work in Native American studies. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee has won several awards, including the National Book Award.

Key Characters

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee explores the lives of various historical figures who played significant roles in the Native American struggle during that period:

Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull was a prominent Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux chief and spiritual leader. He played a crucial role in the resistance against U.S. policies and was a central figure in the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Red Cloud

Red Cloud was a highly respected Oglala Lakota chief who successfully led his people in battles against the U.S. Army. He was known for his strategic abilities and negotiations for the preservation of Lakota lands.

Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse was an Oglala Lakota warrior who fought against the encroachment of settlers on Native American territories. He played a significant role in the Battle of the Little Bighorn and is celebrated for his bravery and leadership.

Helen Hunt Jackson

Helen Hunt Jackson was an American writer and activist who advocated for Native American rights. Her book, A Century of Dishonor, strongly influenced Dee Brown’s perspective and research for Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.


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