Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: A historical study (1971) by Dee Brown (1908-2002) of the conquest of the American West and the destruction of the Native American tribes. The title comes from the last verse of a poem ‘American Names’ (1927), by Stephen Vincent Benet (1898-1943):

‘I shall not rest quiet in Montparnasse.

I shall not lie easy in Winchelsea.

You may bury my body in Sussex grass.

You may bury my tongue at Champmedy.

I shall not be there. I shall rise and pass.

Bury my heart at Wounded Knee.’

Wounded Knee, in South Dakota, was the site of a massacre of Teton-Sioux by US forces on 29 December 1890, in which at least 150 Native Americans and 25 US soldiers were killed. It marked the final suppression of Native American resistance. In the Wounded Knee protest of 1973, two years after the publication of Brown’s book, some 200 armed members of the American Indian Movement occupied the symbolic site. The occupation ended after a 70-day siege, but helped to focus international attention on the US government’s treatment of Native Americans.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

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