Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Shameful Anniversary

December 29, 2010 marks the 120th anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre, in which the U.S. 7th Cavalry killed almost three hundred members (mostly women, children, and elderly men) of the Lakota Sioux nation- "a thing to melt the heart of a man, if it was of stone, to see those little children, with their bodies shot to pieces, thrown naked into the pit.". The Wounded Knee massacre followed decades of broken treaties, and the near extirpation of the bison on which the plains people largely subsisted. Of course, by the time of westward expansion onto the plains, the slaughter and forced relocation of the autochthonous peoples of the Americas had been well underway for centuries.

Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is probably the best introduction to the horrific treatment received by the indigenous people of the Americas. It is a read that haunts the reader long after the book is put down.

Of course, the latest ill-timed right wing screamfest results from President Obama expressing his support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. After centuries of wanton slaughter, broken treaties, and heinous mistreatment, many Native Americans are mired in poverty- making light of their plight in an effort to count coup on a political opponent is simply despicable.

Thom Hartmann devoted a goodly chunk of time to the Wounded Knee massacre on his 12/29 show, so a nod of the naked noggin is due to him.

6 comments:

M. Bouffant said...

Oh, synchronicity! I just read this, Ayn Rand on the "Indians:"

She's speaking to the cadets at West Point, on March 6, 1974:

I don't care to discuss the alleged complaints American Indians have against this country.

I believe, with good reason, the most unsympathetic Hollywood portrayal of Indians and what they did to the white man. They had no right to a country merely because they were born here and then acted like savages. The white man did not conquer this country. And you are a racist if you object, because it means you believe that certain men are entitled to something because of their race. You believe that if someone is born in a magnificent country and doesn't know what to do with it, he still has a property right to it. He does not.


Even more at the link, if you can take it.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

If you are a Wizard of Oz fan, you may not want to look up "L. Frank Baum" & "Wounded Knee". Gadzooks, I hope it was some really, really bitter Juvanalian satire, in the vein of A Modest Proposal. I always knew Rand was a shitbag, but Baum? That's a blow.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Uh, Juvenalian... it's 5:19 and I am likely to be eaten by a grue.

Willy said...

Another good read is "The Last Days of the Sioux Nation" by Robert Utley.

The whole thing is online in Google Books.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Even more at the link, if you can take it.

Nope. I nearly puked a lung with that one paragraph. It's like Vox Day.

zencomix said...

Corndogs and Englishmen is a photo essay I did about Wounded Knee.