The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee
A sweeping history--and counter-narrative--of Native American life from the Wounded Knee massacre to the present. Dee Brown's 1970 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee was the first truly popular book of Indian history ever published. But it promulgated the impression that American Indian history essentially ended with the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee--that not only did one hundred fifty Sioux die at the hands of the U. S. Cavalry 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 uncovered a different narrative. Instead of disappearing, and despite--or perhaps because of--intense struggles to preserve their language, their culture, their very families, the story of American Indians since the end of the nineteenth century to the present is one of unprecedented growth and rebirth. In The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Treuer melds history with reportage and memoir. Beginning with the tribes' devastating loss of land and the forced assimilation of their children at government-run boarding schools, he shows how the period of greatest adversity also helped to incubate a unifying Native identity. He traces how 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 their self-rule and spawned a new generation of resistance. In addition, Treuer explores how advances in technology allowed burgeoning Indian populations across the continent to come together as never before, fostering a political force. Photographs, maps, and other visuals, from period advertisements to little-known historical photos, amplify the sense of accessing a fascinating and untold story. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is an essential, intimate history--and counter-narrative--of a resilient people in a transformative era.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee Details

TitleThe Heartbeat of Wounded Knee
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 22nd, 2019
PublisherRiverhead Books
Rating
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, North American Hi..., American History, Native Americans, Politics

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee Review

  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    Treuer characterizes this book as 3 journeys in his introduction: a journey into history, a journey across America, and a journey into himself and his identity. He describes all three of theses journeys with great skill, although the historical journey does get a little dry here and there, and his inward journey makes the narrative a little more Minnesota-oriented than it would be coming from someone else (that's a plus for me). After his introduction, which by the end made me want to stand up a Treuer characterizes this book as 3 journeys in his introduction: a journey into history, a journey across America, and a journey into himself and his identity. He describes all three of theses journeys with great skill, although the historical journey does get a little dry here and there, and his inward journey makes the narrative a little more Minnesota-oriented than it would be coming from someone else (that's a plus for me). After his introduction, which by the end made me want to stand up and cheer, he covers Native American history from prehistoric times to 1890 (Wounded Knee) in a little over 80 pages. The story methodically moves from region to region, giving us a sense of the diversity of Native American history and identity. This history is a review, and is just as soul-crushing as I expected it to be, but it was well-written and engaging. And within it, Treuer uses that phrase of his that characterizes this book for me: "And yet." Despite the raging forest fire of white Americans through Native lives and culture, many tribes survived, held on. Then Treuer describes the fledgling new life springing up here and there through the next century, and by the end of the book he's describing a verdant landscape, full of hope. I need this book. So many need this book.Treuer set out to prove that American Indians are not a relic of a failed history. There is a living culture of Indigenous people in our country that thrives and improves every day. At the end of the book, he describes the Standing Rock protests and what they meant, how different they were from the protests of the 1970s. He describes the small revolutions taking place on reservations and in cities across North America. This is a masterpiece of history from a proud Indian. I hope there are many more like it to come; as he states late in the book, identity politics is the beginning of privilege, and Native Americans are just getting to that level of privilege in the last decade or two. I can't recommend this enough. I'm very thankful to the publisher, who gave me a copy to review through Edelweiss.
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