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The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee

Native America From 1890 to the Present

eBook - 2019
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A sweeping history—and counter-narrative—of Native American life from the Wounded Knee massacre to the present.The received idea of Native American history—as promulgated by books like Dee Brown's mega-bestselling 1970 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee—has been that American Indian history essentially ended with the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee. Not only did one hundred fifty Sioux die at the hands of the U. S. Cavalry, the sense was, 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 has uncovered a different narrative. Because they did not disappear—and not despite but rather because of their intense struggles to preserve their language, their traditions, their families, and their very existence—the story of American Indians since the end of the nineteenth century to the present is one of unprecedented resourcefulness and reinvention. In The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Treuer melds history with reportage and memoir. Tracing the tribes' distinctive cultures from first contact, he explores how the depredations of each era spawned new modes of survival. The devastating siezures of land gave rise to increasingly sophisticated legal and political maneuvering that put the lie to the myth that Indians don't know or care about property. The forced assimilation of their children at government-run boarding schools incubated a unifying Native identity. 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 self-rule and spawned a new generation of resistance. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is the essential, intimate story of a resilient people in a transformative era.
Publisher: 2019
ISBN: 9780698160811
Call Number: OverDrive ebook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


From Library Staff

An Ojibwe anthropologist confronts perceptions of Native people in America with a clear-eyed examination of historic struggles and a thriving, vibrant community.

David Treuer is an Ojibwe writer, critic and academic. He presents a sweeping history-and counter-narrative-of Native American life from the Wounded Knee Massacre to the present.

A sweeping history--and counter-narrative--of Native American life from the Wounded Knee massacre to the present. The essential, intimate story of a resilient people in a transformative era.

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Mar 10, 2021

After reading 1491, Killers of the Flower Moon, and The Earth is Weeping, I needed to bring my knowledge of Native Americans into the 21st century. This book serves that purpose and is an inspiring story of cultural survival.

Mar 04, 2021

"This book is an attempt to rescue the dead from the enemy by looking beyond Wounded Knee. It is not about the heart that was buried in the cold ground of South Dakota but rather about the heart that beats on."
Ojibwe author, anthropologist, and professor David Treuer wants us to think differently about the Native American experience. His title reference's Dee Brown's classic "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," which, while shedding light on the mistreatment of Native Americans, reinforced certain stereotypes, namely that they belonged to a mythic past rather than to the present. So Treuer, after a brief look at the early history of America, sets out to examine the more contemporary Native Americans and their experiences, including reservation life, the rise and fall of A.I.M., the occupation of Alcatraz, and the fight for justice and equal rights. While we as a country have done some reckoning with slavery, Jim Crow, and racism against blacks, we have much work to do with the indigenous community, including expanding the curriculum that is used in many schools, which either ignores their history or misrepresents it. It can be long-winded in parts, but it's an important, thoughtful book. Also, "An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States," Our History is the Future," and Tommy Orange's novel "There, There."

PimaLib_NormS Apr 18, 2019

A member of Minnesota’s Ojibwe tribe, David Treuer, has written “The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the Present”, a richly detailed, latter-day history of American Indians. (By the way, the author uses the term “Indians” and explains his reasoning on page one of the Prologue.) Part 1 of the book summarizes four hundred years of interactions between the native people of North America and the Europeans who “discovered” them. Parts 2-7 focus on the time after the massacre of at least 150 Lakota Sioux men, women, and children by the US 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1890. This horrible event marked the end of the “Indian Wars” that had gone on for centuries. Certainly, this was a low point in the narrative of North America’s indigenous population. They had been wronged throughout the years in ways too numerous to count, however, the point of “The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee” is not to rehash the victimization of Indians. This book acknowledges the wrongs in order shine a spotlight on the fact that, through it all, Indians survived. They could have given up and been wiped off the face of the earth, their cultures and customs confined to the closets of the past. But, that is not what happened. They learned to adapt and persevere. Indians still have many problems in need of solutions, as do all other cultures on the planet. Still, though, credit to Native Americans for being able to retain characteristics that make them “Indian”.


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Feb 19, 2021

I remember, vividly, reading that passage while in college in 1991, and I was doubly dismayed by Brown’s telling. I was far from home, on a distant coast. I was homesick - for the northwoods, for the reservation, for the only place on earth I truly loved. I was only beginning to understand what it was I was missing, and it wasn’t squalor and hopelessness and poverty. This book is, in part, an attempt to communicate what it was that I loved.

Feb 19, 2021

The meaning of America and the myths that informed it had been firmly established. Perhaps this is why the massacre at Wounded Knee became so emblematic. It neatly symbolized the accepted version of reality - of an Indian past and an American present, begun in barbarism but realized as a state of democratic idealism.

This version of history remained largely unquestioned through World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and the 1950s. But in the 1960s - because of Vietnam and the fight for civil rights; because of an increased focus on the environment and the effects of industrialization and consumerism; because of the newly current idea that “the culture” wasn’t the only culture, and a counterculture could exist - the story of “the Indian” surfaced with new intensity in the American consciousness. This new awareness focused on Wounded Knee and the challenge “the Indian” posed to the very idea of America, was epitomized by a highly influential book.


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