Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Nathan C. Meeker Character Analysis

Government agent who led negotiations with the Utes but later launched a full-scale smear campaign against them. Meeker was an important agent of cultural genocide against the Native American population: he made it his explicit mission to wipe out Ute culture, forcing the Utes to abandon their hunter-gatherer traditions. Meeker’s argument that the Utes lacked the mental capacity to own property proved highly popular with U.S. audiences at the time, because it provided a convenient justification for the theft of Native American lands.
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Nathan C. Meeker Character Timeline in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

The timeline below shows where the character Nathan C. Meeker appears in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 16: “The Utes Must Go!”
Law and Property Theme Icon
Resistance and Violence Theme Icon
In 1878, the government appointed a new agent to attend to the Utes, Nathan C. Meeker. Meeker made it his mission “to destroy everything the Utes cherished.” He instituted schools designed... (full context)
Genocide Theme Icon
Resistance and Violence Theme Icon
Partly because of Meeker’s writings, there was a widespread smear campaign in American newspapers against the Utes. They were... (full context)
Resistance and Violence Theme Icon
Recognizing that the Utes had grown to hate him, Meeker sent U.S. soldiers to the Utes’ land to enforce order. The soldiers claimed they’d heard... (full context)
Resistance and Violence Theme Icon
...the arrival of soldiers on the Utes’ land, a group of Utes surrounded Nathan C. Meeker’s property. They raided his house, and murdered him. Ouray sent a message urging the Utes... (full context)
Genocide Theme Icon
Resistance and Violence Theme Icon
In the aftermath of Meeker’s murder, the Utes—not just the few who’d been involved in the crime—were deprived of their... (full context)