Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown covers the history of Native Americans in the late nineteenth century. Brown describes Native Americans' displacement through forced relocations. The government's dealings are portrayed as a continuing effort to destroy the culture, religion, and way of life of Native American peoples.
The book was first published in 1970 to generally strong reviews. Published at a time of increasing American Indian activism, the book has never gone out of print and has been translated into 17 languages. The title is taken from the final phrase of a twentieth-century poem titled "American Names" by Stephen Vincent Benet. The full quotation – "I shall not be there. I shall rise and pass. Bury my heart at Wounded Knee." – appears at the beginning of Brown's book. Although Benet's poem is not about the plight of Native Americans, Wounded Knee was the location of the last major confrontation between the US Army and Native Americans. It is also the vicinity of where Crazy Horse's parents buried his heart and some of his bones after his murder in 1877.
Using council records, autobiographies, and firsthand descriptions, Brown allows great chiefs and warriors of the Dakota, Ute, Sioux, Cheyenne, and other tribes to tell us in their own words of the series of battles, massacres, and broken treaties that finally left them and their people demoralized and decimated. A unique and disturbing narrative told with force and clarity, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee changed forever our vision of how the West was won, and lost. It tells a story that should not be forgotten, and so must be retold from time to time.