Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee


Dee Brown

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Wounded Knee Massacre Symbol Analysis

Wounded Knee Massacre Symbol Icon

There aren’t many overt symbols in Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee. However, one exception is the Wounded Knee Massacre alluded to in the title. In December 1890, the U.S. military marched hundreds of defeated Sioux men, women, and children down to Wounded Knee Creek, supposedly with the intention of transferring them to a new reservation in Omaha. According to eyewitnesses, American soldiers shot a man named Black Coyote who, it seemed to them, refused to surrender his rifle. In reality, Black Coyote was old and deaf, and didn’t understand what he was being asked to do. In the scuffle, Black Coyote’s rifle went off and the U.S. soldiers—many of whom were openly eager to hurt the Native Americans—used this as a pretext to shoot hundreds of unarmed Native American men, women, and children. The Wounded Knee Massacre has gone down in history as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of the United States’ relationship with the Native Americans. It symbolizes the cruelty and sadism of the U.S. in the era of westward expansion, and could even be interpreted as a microcosm of the government’s genocidal Native American policies in general.

Wounded Knee Massacre Quotes in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

The Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee quotes below all refer to the symbol of Wounded Knee Massacre. 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
Chapter 12 Quotes

At a place known only to them they buried Crazy Horse somewhere near Chankpe Opi Wakpala, the creek called Wounded Knee.

Related Characters: Crazy Horse
Related Symbols: Wounded Knee Massacre
Page Number: 313
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes

It was the fourth day after Christmas in the year of Our Lord 1890. When the first torn and bleeding bodies were carried into the candlelit church, those who were conscious could see Christmas greenery hanging from the open rafters. Across the chancel front above the pulpit was strung a crudely lettered banner: PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TO MEN.

Related Symbols: Wounded Knee Massacre
Page Number: 445
Explanation and Analysis:
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Wounded Knee Massacre Symbol Timeline in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

The timeline below shows where the symbol Wounded Knee Massacre appears in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: “Their Manners are Decorous and Praiseworthy”
Resistance and Violence Theme Icon
...were often unconnected, they would come to a symbolic end in December of 1890 at Wounded Knee . (full context)
Chapter 12: The War for the Black Hills
Genocide Theme Icon
Law and Property Theme Icon
Resistance and Violence Theme Icon
...Horse died a few hours later. He was buried near a little creek known as Wounded Knee . (full context)
Chapter 19: Wounded Knee
Resistance and Violence Theme Icon
...to dying. He surrendered to U.S. soldiers, who took Big Foot and his men to Wounded Knee Creek. (full context)
Genocide Theme Icon
Resistance and Violence Theme Icon
At Wounded Knee , Big Foot’s men were carefully counted and guarded. Late at night, reinforcements arrived to... (full context)
Genocide Theme Icon
Days later, soldiers dragged away the bodies of the three hundred murdered Native Americans of Wounded Knee . The soldiers threw the bodies in open wagons and carted them across the state... (full context)