The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee
Native America From 1890 to the PresentBook - 2019
From Library Staff
Shortlisted for the National Book Award
Ojibwe author and anthropologist David Treuer explores Native American life since the massacre at Wounded Knee. A highly readable and vivid history of American Indigenous life from 1890 to the present.
From the critics
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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.
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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