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The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee

David Treuer

10 Reviews

Rated 0

Biography: historical, political & military

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 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 seizures 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.

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Praise for The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee

  • An informed, moving and kaleidoscopic portrait... Treuer's powerful book suggests the need for soul-searching about the meanings of American history and the stories we tell ourselves about this nation's past. - New York Times Book Review, front page

  • If you enjoyed There There by Tommy Orange, read The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee

  • Treuer's forthcoming counternarrative blends memoir - a retelling of his own family and tribe's experiences - and in-depth, detailed reporting on 125 years of native history. - Washington Post

  • Sweeping, essential history...Treuer's storytelling skills shine...[an] elegant handling of [a] complex narrative - The Economist

  • In a marvel of research and storytelling, an Ojibwe writer traces the dawning of a new resistance movement born of deep pride and a reverence for tradition. Treuer's chronicle of rebellion and resilience is a manifesto and rallying cry.

  • - O, The Oprah Magazine

  • A sweeping history of Native American life from the Wounded Knee massacre to the present-disputing the commonly held belief that the infamous 1890 massacre destroyed the Native American population and spirit. Treuer, whose mother is an Ojibwe Indian and who grew up on the reservation before leaving to attend Princeton, presents a more nuanced and hopeful vision of the past and future of Native Americans - Vanity Fair

  • The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is the essential, intimate story of a resilient people in a transformative era. - The Rumpus

  • Chapter after chapter, it's like one shattered myth after another

  • - NPR

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