The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer

Staff Pick

David Treuer’s revelatory history, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee (Riverhead, $17) tells much more than the story of “Native America from 1890 to the present.” To understand 1890—the date of the massacre of 150 Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee, which seemed to be the final nail in the coffin of America’s indigenous peoples—we have to know the innumerable ways the U.S. had already tried to deal with its “Indian problem,” how Europeans had treated the Natives from first contact, and what life was like on the continent during the centuries before it was “discovered” by whites. Treuer covers this complicated history in detail; if the number of treaties, acts, and battles is dizzying, what comes through clearly is that there is no single “Indian” story. Each tribe—and often each clan within the tribe—occupies distinct cultural and geographical landscapes, and each has been impacted differently by the various means whites have used to try to control them. These stories are fascinating and long overdue—without them, the story of America, and especially of the West, has been both partial and seriously impoverished. Treuer’s central thesis, however, is that despite whites’ relentless battle to exterminate Natives, they failed. Wounded Knee was not the end of the story, just one chapter in an ongoing saga.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780399573194
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Riverhead Books - November 5th, 2019

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