November 14, 2012

How Bury My Heart shaped America

How did 'Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee' shape America?Brenda Child, associate professor in the University of Minnesota's Department of American Studies, will join The Daily Circuit Tuesday.

"You have to remember that the subtitle is 'An Indian History' and the narrative at that time didn't include American Indians and their interpretations of that history," she said. "In anything the general public read Indians were portrayed as being backward, uncivilized. There hadn't been a critical look at how this population was treated and what this book did was examine a number of different tribal histories and tell some of those stories from the documents of the tribes themselves. It was truly a voice of native people."

Child said the book's problem is its portrayal of native people as tragic figures.

"What we now know is that tragic things happened, but they weren't tragic figures," she said. "Native people made their own history and were agents of change as much as anyone else in this country even though they were disadvantaged."
Comment:  For more on the subject, see "Books that Shaped America" and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee:  The Movie.

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