Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

“They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it.”
― Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West

Kuvahaun tulos haulle bury my heart at wounded kneeBury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West is a 1970 book by American writer Dee Brown that covers the history of Native Americans in the American West in the late nineteenth century.

Brown covers the plights of several Native American tribes.  Book starts with an overview and then one by one describes the horrors faced by Navahos, Sioux, Cheynnes, Doneghowa, Apache…eventually ending with the Wounded Knee Massacre.

“A short time later, near Gallina Springs, Graydon’s scouting party came upon the Mescaleros again. What happened there is not clear, because no Mescalero survived the incident.”
― Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West

I first read ‘Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West’ nearly ten years ago. It’s one of the most disturbing books I have ever read,  it has shattered my heart and it makes my blood boil.. each chapter being worse than the previous one. I have so many feelings about Dee Brown’s book.

His work scares me because of the fact that there was barely anyone who survived to tell the tale. And I suppose in many cases, no one did so we don’t know what happened. And what we don’t know, we cannot learn from. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee angers me because “what is wrong with the world” and also that before 1970’s there was not a single book like this and how is it that this is the only one that made it into some kind of fame. And it saddens me because of all the injustice.

Reading this inspired me because there were people who fought back. Great leaders like Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Bloody Knife, Red Cloud and Black Kettle. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee has become an icon that lasts time.
5/5 stars

“Already the once sweet-watered streams, most of which bore Indian names, were clouded with silt and the wastes of man; the very earth was being ravaged and squandered. To the Indians it seemed that these Europeans hated everything in nature-the living forests and their birds and beasts, the grassy glades, the water, the soil, and the air itself.”
― Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West

How-To Read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West
This is one of those iconic books you really should read.
Quite heavy read with 500 pages. Either it will be impossible for you to put down or you’ll read it for many months.
3. I see this as a great reminder. I tend to think that America is the land of the free when really it is far from it.

Featured image by Graham Thomson

“Nothing lives long
Only the earth and mountains”
― Dee Brown, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West

12 thoughts on “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

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  1. It is not a pleasant history, that’s for sure, and many of us Americans are sickened when we hear about what happened. I don’t think we can understand how the Native Americans must have felt to see the land despoiled and taken away. It should be required reading, this or something like it, in school since there is a strain of “American exceptionalism” that permeates some of our politics, and we need to remember that we’ve done horrible things as a country along with some great things.

  2. Yeah and I guess few things about history are pleasant. I think this should be required reading and not just in US but everywhere. I feel like history taught in school focuses too much on WW2 which is good but maybe there should be more history and less say vectors and mathematical variables…

  3. Excellent review and really appreciated your take on this. I read this for the first time a few years ago and was similarly affected. I grew up in this country and still so much I had never known and I felt really ashamed by that. I was devastated to know all this, but at the same time it feels so important to know. It’s a tough read but a worthwhile, even a very necessary one.

  4. It’s been decades since I read this book; your blog post brings back memories. Dee Brown’s writing is a vivid account that forms clear pictures in the mind. If one lives in North America, pair this read with a trip to see where a battle was waged. I stood at Little Bighorn in Montana and could imagine General Custer besieged there.

    1. It’s a stunning, ageless book. Oh I see, I live across the Atlantic but that’s a great tip, thank you! Maybe one day I’ll do a historical tour or something.

  5. I read this book as a teenager and never forgot it. The huge genocide of Native Americans still isn’t acknowledged in the US, and that denial sadly informs federal policy. Heartbreaking. Thanks for the review.

    1. Yeah I was sobbing so hard when I first read this. And not just in US, these kind of tragedies should be more acknowledged around the world! Thank you for reading!

  6. I just finished it last night, and it was so brilliantly horrific. Fantastic book. A definite must read. But i wept and i got mad with every page.

    1. Happy you read it! And uhh yes I weot so hard towards the end. There was no justice and incredible amount of death and betrayal. But I’m happy that this book exists.

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