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    Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee Essay

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    This book brings to light and places front and center possibly the most significant event in American history: the genocide and displacement of the native inhabitants of what would become the United States of America, thus enabling the formation of the world’s most powerful republic. It is difficult to imagine how most readers, particularly American citizens, would not have their personal perspective or opinion altered, at least in some small measure, by the historical events described within, especially the Nez Perc?s fight for their home. The most moving and effectively presented chapter is The Flight of the Nez Perc?s.”

    Brown focuses on the thirty-year period between 1860 and 1890 during which the American West was opened to all comers. The Nez Perc?s fought for survival and their beloved homeland with dignity. Brown relies on oral accounts, many of which were written down during treaty council meetings and other official meetings with representatives of the United States government to tell his stories. This leaves no doubt as to which party was in the wrong in The Flight of The Nez Perc?s. His style lays the facts down in front of the reader, allowing no room for opinions to affect the content. Style is considered by most to be the imprint of a writer’s personality, yet Brown does not let his thoughts affect his writing, which is perhaps the most disturbing of all – just the truth. The Nez Perc?s’ country was wrenched from their grasp in the blink of an eye for the reason of land for white settlers.

    Despite being helpful and kind, the Nez Perc’s were still driven from their land. The Nez Perc’s welcomed the white Americans, supplied them with food, and looked after the explorers’ (Lewis and Clark’s) horses for several months when the Nez Perc’s could easily have seized their wealth of horses and driven them from their land. The white Americans and the Nez Perc’s lived in happiness, and the Nez Perc’s boasted that no Nez Perc’s had ever killed a white man. This friendship continued for 70 years, but white men’s greed for land and gold ended this.

    In 1863, a treaty was presented to the Nez Percés that took away the Wallowa Valley and three-fourths of their land, leaving them with only a small reservation (317). The Wallowa Valley Nez Percés did not sign the treaty and protested, ultimately winning their land back through an executive order issued by President Ulysses Grant that withdrew the valley from settlement by white men. However, gold was soon discovered in the surrounding mountains, and white settlers flocked to the area. They stole the Indians’ horses, and stockmen took their cattle and branded them so the Indians could not reclaim them (318).

    In the words of Yellow Wolf of the Nez Percés, the whites told only one side. Told it to please themselves. Told much that is not true.” (316) The white politicians went back to Washington, where they “charged the Indians with being a threat to the peace and with stealing the settlers’ livestock.” (318) They did exactly what Yellow Wolf said, they told “lies about the Nez Percés,” (318) to please themselves.

    Broken promises ran throughout the Nez Perc’s struggle. Two years after promising the Wallowa Valley to the Nez Perc’s forever, President Grant reopened the valley to white settlement” (320) and the Nez Perc’s were “given a reasonable time to move to the Lapwai reservation” (320). Blatant betrayal led the Nez Perces to acts of desperation, and the band fled towards Canada and freedom with two large forces following them closely behind.

    Bibliography: Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

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    Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee Essay. (2019, Jan 03). Retrieved from

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