Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown presents Americans with a different viewpoint of the Western Frontier in the late 1800s and represents another side to a story that has been discussed for countless centuries. Brown enables the reader to encounter what the American Indians were being ordered to go through and why some of their results were what they were. The government was obligated to intervene because of the westward expansion, American Indians were the primary to suffer the effects. When Congress first gave western settlers free land under the Homestead Act, American Indians were immediately produced part of agreements over land with the American government that would overpower them to either comply with their terms or depart.
The intent for most settlers was to ultimately secure sources in California and Oregon where free land was guaranteed, that indicated that several and Indian properties would be progressed through with limited to no penalty. Due to the westward journey, Indians started being focused onto little areas of land that the government had placed apart for their use, but because of the indulgence and greed of the American settlers, Indian land was steadily declining. An example such as the Sioux Indians who once traveled everywhere through the Dakotas finally became restricted to a ten by one hundred and fifty-mile reservation (textbook). The Indians acquired through misfortune that the American government could not be trusted with their genuine interest. Cochise thought that no man that was a representative of the United States government could be trusted. Cochise believed that no man that was a representative of the United States government could remain trusted. After getting to know what happened at Camp Grant in chapter nine of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Cochise of the Apache tribe states that, “no Apache should ever again put his life in the hands of the treacherous Americans.” (9)
In following years the Indian Bureau asked tribe leaders to assemble in Washington to address treaty obligations with the commissioner of Indian Affairs, Francis Walker. Walker described to the leaders that were present that they were not going to be presented much of a say in the agreements being offered and described to them what was about to occur. Walker gave the verdict: “First, the Kiowas and Comanches here represented must, before the fifteenth of December next, camp every chief, headman, brave, and family complete within ten miles of Fort Sill and the agency; they must remain there until spring, without giving any trouble, and shall not then leave unless with the consent of their agent.” (11) He proceeded on to clarify that every person who rejected the negotiation and would not live by its rules would be deemed an enemy of the United States and would be interpreted as so. The forcing of the Indians onto reservations is what guided to the war in the West. Lone Wolf of the Kiowa tribe revealed his anger with Washington by saying, “Washington has deceived me—has failed to keep faith with me and my people—has broken his promises, and now there is nothing left us but war. I know that war with Washington means the extinction of my people, but we are driven to it; we had rather die than live.” (11)
Although, there were many battles between the Americans and Indians war was not even the central matter of death for most Indians. A bulk of Indians declined because of liquor and disease. When Chief Joseph, of the Nez Percés, died the doctor announced his death to have occurred from a “broken heart” because of his decline of trust in the American government moreover its procedures. (13) The people of the Nez Percés tribe simply desired to be free men which remained able to endure in tranquillity beside the white men and had assured to obey every law they were rejected that they were always thrown back to an Indian Territory. (13) Because of this a decline of dependence on the American government attended by the Indian’s despises of America.
There is no dispute as to whether there was a great injustice done to the Native Americans by the United States of America. Though following apologies were given to the descendants of those whose properties were wrongly taken away from them, the price paid was not near equivalent to the value of the properties a century before. This should be looked upon as a corrupt time in American history, just as slavery, which is of much more common knowledge. To this day Indians are still continuing to live in poverty on some of the reservations, so because of the procedures set in place over a century ago, people are still suffering the repercussions.