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Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee An Indian History of the American West Author:Dee Brown From the introduction "Since the exploratory journey of Lewis and Clark to the Pacific Coast early in the nineteenth century, the number on published accounts describing the "opening" of the American West has risen into the thousands. The greatest concentration of recorded experience and observation came out of the thirty-yea... more »r span between 1860 and 1890 - the period covered by this book. It was an incredible era of violence, greed, audacity, sentimentality, undirected exuberance, and an almost reverential attitude toward the ideal of personal freedom for those who already had it.
During that time the culture and civilization of the American Indian was destroyed, and out of that time came virtually all the great myths of the American West - tales of fur traders, mountain men, steamboat pilots, goldseekers, gamblers, gunmen, cavalrymen, cowboys, harlots, missionaries, schoolmarms, and homesteaders. Only occasionally was the voice of an Indian heard, and then more often than not it was recorded by the pen of a white man. The Indian was the dark menace of the myths, and even if he had known how to write in English, where would he have found a printer or a publisher?
Yet they are not all lost, those Indian voices of the past. A few authentic accounts of American western history were recorded by Indians either in pictographs or in translated English, and some managed to get published in obscure journals, pamphlets, or books of small circulation".
Author "Out of all these sources of almost forgotten oral history, I have tried to fashion a narrative of the conquest of the American West as the victims experienced it, using their own words whenever possible. Americans who have always looked westward when reading about this period should read this book facing eastward.
This is not a cheerful book, but history has a way of intruding upon the present, and perhaps those who read it will have a clearer understanding of what the American Indian is, by knowing what what he was. They may be surprised to hear words of gentle reasonableness coming from the mouths of Indians stereotyped in the American myth as ruthless savages. They may learn something about their own relationship to the earth from a people who were true conservationists".« less