Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Donehogawa / Ely Samuel Parker Character Analysis

Iroquois man who rose to become a successful engineer and later, through his friendship with President Ulysses S. Grant, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Parker fought to protect Native Americans from theft and attack during his tenure as Commissioner, but he was pressured out of office by his rivals, many of whom resented that a Native American should have risen so far in the U.S. government. Donehogawa is a poignant character because he believes that he can “work within the system” of American society, using his intelligence, training, and passion to protect his fellow Native Americans. His failure to do so could be considered the ultimate counterexample to the argument that the Native Americans could have pursued peaceful means of resistance to the United States at the end of the 19th century—in the end, violent leaders like Sitting Bull probably did more to protect Native American lives than did peaceful government figures like Donehogawa.

Donehogawa / Ely Samuel Parker Quotes in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

The Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee quotes below are all either spoken by Donehogawa / Ely Samuel Parker or refer to Donehogawa / Ely Samuel Parker. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Genocide Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Picador edition of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee published in 2007.
Chapter 8 Quotes

For several months he debated what his next course of action should be. Above all he wanted to help the advancement of his race, but if he remained in office with political enemies constantly sniping at him because he was an Indian himself, he feared that he might do his people more harm than good. He also wondered if his continuance in office might not be a political embarrassment to his old friend President Grant.

Page Number: 190
Explanation and Analysis:
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Donehogawa / Ely Samuel Parker Character Timeline in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

The timeline below shows where the character Donehogawa / Ely Samuel Parker appears in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8: The Rise and Fall of Donehogawa
Law and Property Theme Icon
Resistance and Violence Theme Icon
The new Commissioner of Indian Affairs was an Iroquois man named Donehogawa, also known as Ely Samuel Parker. After three months in office, an army officer submitted... (full context)
Law and Property Theme Icon
Resistance and Violence Theme Icon
By 1870, Donehogawa was afraid of a widespread rebellion among the Native Americans, in retaliation for the massacre.... (full context)
Law and Property Theme Icon
Resistance and Violence Theme Icon
...Congress had ratified was different from the one Red Cloud agreed to. The next day, Donehogawa read the terms of the new treaty to Red Cloud, who angrily insisted that he’d... (full context)
Law and Property Theme Icon
Resistance and Violence Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Donehogawa’s power was waning. By 1871, he was out of Washington, meaning that he couldn't protect... (full context)
Law and Property Theme Icon
Resistance and Violence Theme Icon
During his time in office, Donehogawa was instrumental in protecting Native American land from railway and mining agencies, but he made... (full context)