The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee

Native America From 1890 to the Present

eBook - 2019
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The received idea of Native American history--as promulgated by books like Dee Brown's mega-bestselling 1970 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee--has been that American Indian history essentially ended with the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee. Not only did one hundred fifty Sioux die at the hands of the U. S. Cavalry, the sense was, but Native civilization did as well. Growing up Ojibwe on a reservation in Minnesota, training as an anthropologist, and researching Native life past and present for his nonfiction and novels, David Treuer has uncovered a different narrative. Because they did not disappear--and not despite but rather because of their intense struggles to preserve their language, their traditions, their families, and their very existence--the story of American Indians since the end of the nineteenth century to the present is one of unprecedented resourcefulness and reinvention. In The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Treuer melds history with reportage and memoir. Tracing the tribes' distinctive cultures from first contact, he explores how the depredations of each era spawned new modes of survival. The devastating seizures of land gave rise to increasingly sophisticated legal and political maneuvering that put the lie to the myth that Indians don't know or care about property. The forced assimilation of their children at government-run boarding schools incubated a unifying Native identity. Conscription in the US military and the pull of urban life brought Indians into the mainstream and modern times, even as it steered the emerging shape of self-rule and spawned a new generation of resistance. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is the essential, intimate story of a resilient people in a transformative era.
Publisher: New York :, Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC,, [2019]
ISBN: 9780698160811
Branch Call Number: DOWNLOADABLE eBOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource (512 pages) : illustrations, mappages
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PimaLib_NormS Apr 18, 2019

A member of Minnesota’s Ojibwe tribe, David Treuer, has written “The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the Present”, a richly detailed, latter-day history of American Indians. (By the way, the author uses the term “Indians” and explains his reasoning on page one of the Prologue.) Part 1 of the book summarizes four hundred years of interactions between the native people of North America and the Europeans who “discovered” them. Parts 2-7 focus on the time after the massacre of at least 150 Lakota Sioux men, women, and children by the US 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1890. This horrible event marked the end of the “Indian Wars” that had gone on for centuries. Certainly, this was a low point in the narrative of North America’s indigenous population. They had been wronged throughout the years in ways too numerous to count, however, the point of “The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee” is not to rehash the victimization of Indians. This book acknowledges the wrongs in order shine a spotlight on the fact that, through it all, Indians survived. They could have given up and been wiped off the face of the earth, their cultures and customs confined to the closets of the past. But, that is not what happened. They learned to adapt and persevere. Indians still have many problems in need of solutions, as do all other cultures on the planet. Still, though, credit to Native Americans for being able to retain characteristics that make them “Indian”.

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