by Winter Rabbit | 4/19/2008 01:55:00 PM

Historical revisionists of American Indian history portray indigenous people being as violent as white Europeans were before they arrived on this continent and after settlement. Consequently, HBO's "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" was no exception in the scene with Sitting Bull and Col Nelson Miles on the Buffalo Robe, as Miles justified the genocide he was committing as "You were as violent as we are, we're doing the same thing to you that you did to them (paraphrasing)."


Miles challenges Sitting Bull’s account of the Lakota people as champions of the plains. “The proposition that you were a peaceable people before the appearance of the white man is the most fanciful legend of all. You conquered those tribes, lusting for their game and their lands, just as we have now conquered you for no less noble a cause.” Sitting Bull exclaims, “This is your story of my people!” Miles responds, “This is the truth, not legend.”

This is the truth, not historical revisionism. There are general and specific reasons why Sitting Bull was right. To get the answers as to why, we turn to the scholarship of James Demeo. First, we’ll look at his conclusions to get the general overview.

Unlearning the Language of Conquest Scholars Expose Anti-Indianism in America. “Peaceful verses Warlike Societies” essay by James Demeo. p. 150 - 151


This evidence, drawn from history, archeology, and anthropology, speaks clearly: The New World prior to Columbus was a far less violent place than the Old World. And it can be argued that, in spite of many terrible events which followed after Columbus, the New World remained a less violent place all the way down through the centuries because of its geographical isolation from the more violent Saharasian empires…This summary suggests the general vindication of the vast majority of Native American values and peoples as standing on the peace – making side of history. Certainly, not all Indigenous American cultures fit the peaceful images given in Dances with Wolves, but it is not an exaggeration to say that the majority did.

To go to the specifics, we’ll go to page 148 of his essay under the heading “Archeological Evaluations.” This is number 3 of a list of 9 in which other listings are of Michigan, Illinois, and Southern California to list three of them.

Unlearning the Language of Conquest Scholars Expose Anti-Indianism in America. “Peaceful verses Warlike Societies” essay by James Demeo. p. 148

3. South Dakota, Crow Creek, c. 1300 C.E. Site of a tribal massacre of around 500 men, women, and children, but with a deficit of reproductive – age females.15


At least fifty Middle Plains Woodland skeletons and the Crow Creek massacre mass burial bones have been examined. A few Siouan skeletons from various places have been evaluated. A significant number of bones came from skeletons for which there was little or no provenience. The oldest human remnants we have seen from South Dakota (carbon dated 3,800 BP +/- 110 years) were 16 incomplete skeletons from the Hilde Gravel Pit near Lake Madison (161,162). The Middle Plains Woodland skeletons, the Crow Creek villagers (probably proto-Arikara) (361) and the Hilde Gravel Pit skeletons are pre-Columbian; those in museums, private collections, and salvage archaeology skeletons are primarily post-Columbian.


Who Carried Out the Massacre and Why?:
We cannot know for certain. Several explanations are possible. One is that it was some outside group, perhaps displaced Middle Missouri villagers from the north. Another suggests that some distant group from the east or west came through the area and massacred the villagers. Though neither can be ruled out, some problems suggest that it would have been difficult to do due to villages size, protection, and the fact that relatives lived in villages nearby.

Another explanation suggests that overpopulation combined with climatic instability caused competition for arable land. The massacre may have been carried out by one or several allied villages of the same culture. Evidence of malnutrition in the paleopathology suggests part of the hypothesis could be true. Computer simulation suggests that the hypothesis is feasible.

So, the only possible evidence, simply because of its location, does not at all justify "You conquered those tribes, lusting for their game and their lands, just as we have now conquered you for no less noble a cause."

In addition, just above the “Archeological Evaluations” is stated:

Unlearning the Language of Conquest Scholars Expose Anti-Indianism in America. “Peaceful verses Warlike Societies” essay by James Demeo. p. 148

Even the most aggressive and warlike of the Native American empire – building cultures (i. e., the Aztecs) never came close to the systematic murder and destruction seen at the hands of various Saharasian butcher – kings (e. g., Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Ivan the Terrible, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Tse – Dung, Pol Pot, ect.). In fact, the overwhelming percentage of New World Peoples, even after all the trauma and destruction which followed Columbus, maintained significant elements of their peace – oriented matristic cultures, all the way into the 1800’s.

Dick Wolf states in the 2007 edition of Cowboys and Indians about the movie, “The reason Law & Order has been on for 17 years is that it tries to point out on a weekly basis that the world is in shades of gray.” Perhaps this is why a friend of mine thought Col Miles was right: Wolf’s innovative use of “gray.” Never does Wolf use his “shades of gray” to distort the moral line when it pertains to rape, murder, or theft. A rapist, a murderer, and a thief are always clearly on the wrong side of the law. Never have I heard an officer say, “She deserved it, they had it coming, or they shouldn’t leave their stuff lying around where someone can steal it.” To the contrary, his “shades of gray” that I have seen in Law & Order pertain to trying the case, where after the trial the one clearly on the wrong side of the law may go free as a result of politics or loopholes in legislation. Why Wolf didn’t do the same with Sitting Bull and Col Miles in the movie I don’t know, but I do know this – Sitting Bull was right. And, there are no “shades of gray” when it’s about genocide.

To conclude, there’s nothing like a protest to bring these racists' and revisionists’ ideas out in the open. BTW, the sign that I saw said "Dawes Commission + land run = Genocide
(wasn’t mine, but that’s what it said).”

Notice the framing the commenter uses, not knowing that “the vast majority of Native American values and peoples (are on) as standing on the peace – making side of history,” and what an excuse it makes for them to be racist.

(video and definition added)

‘We're part of Oklahoma history'

Jubilation and outrage marked festivities at an American Indian parade Saturday in downtown Oklahoma City.

The Society to Preserve Indigenous Rights and Indigenous Traditions hosted the parade, which kicked off about 9 a.m. at the corner of Reno and S Hudson avenues.

- snip -

Others walked the length of the parade carrying handmade signs bearing slogans such as "Frybread Power” and "Dawes Commission + land run = organized theft.”

(The youth in the beginning are stickball players, which is an ancient game that southeastern American Indians called the "little brother to war." Requiring many of the same skills and rituals as war, stickball historically settled disputes between towns and sometimes between tribes.)

(from comments)

"You were here FIRST and they RAN over you,” is CUTE, plus it's clever revisionist history. Wouldn't it be closer to the truth to say someone was here before the current Indian residents and the current Indian residents either knocked politely on their doors and requested entrance or the current Indian residents trampled, beat, stole, pillaged, razed, shackled and raped them to get THEIRS? Will we get that depiction in your revised history of the American Indian? When the "Great White Father in Washington" moved you from your homelands in Georgia, Louisiana, Florida, etc., and "gave" you land in Oklahoma, didn't someone else have to be moved off YOUR new land? Will your "true" depiction incorporate what happened to those the current Indidan residents displaced? So much for INDIGENOUS. DOUBLED. You also bought and sold other human beings the way you buy and sell "frybread." Power up that depiction in your history of the American Indian, o truth seekers.

I’ll say it again, Sitting Bull was right.

Sitting Bull

"The white man knows how to make everything, but he does not know how to distribute it."




Anonymous Anonymous on 4/20/2008 1:53 PM:

Why was there ever an Olympics in the US? We have multiple genocides behind us, and one that is in progress right now. Thanks for bringing to light more revisionist fantasies. If only the school curriculum could be changed to speak honestly about the US crimes against the American Indians.


Anonymous Anonymous on 4/20/2008 5:49 PM:

I started watching the HBO special “Burry My Heart at Wounded Knee” and it paralleled on what is occurring in Iraq presently. Whether it’s gold or oil the shameless genetic drive of the evolved western Europeans to steal and murder anyone that is living on the corporations’ resources as our national interest. Replace the horses with modern technology we are witnessing the same human slaughter it just reinforced that the western civilization is a totally fallacy.


Blogger Winter Rabbit on 4/20/2008 9:59 PM:

Anonymous: I soooo thought that myself recently!

Jesse Hemingway: I can't add anything to that.

SSDC (Same s---, different century)

Both: let me share this from comments:

Wounded Knee Massacre & Action Call: Defend The Black Hills (Update & Updated)

Review by Carter Camp, AIM, Ponca Nation

Ah-ho My Relations,

It has been a long buildup to the showing of HBO's "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee". We read about the good native cast that was being assembled and as the date drew near Indian people were emailing the starting dates and previews to each other. I remember telling my brothers that "I know this will be hard to watch". I knew that because the book had touched my heart and I knew a movie would be even more emotional. I think everyone was prepared to see a modern, well researched movie that would be as truthful and hard hitting as the book. It seemed all right that they had narrowed the book down to the story of the 1890 massacre of the Lakota at Wounded Knee rather than try to tell the whole book's many stories of the genocide of Indian people. It promised to be an Indian movie we could be proud of or at least a truthful one to counter some recent stinkers like Pocahontas and Apocalypto.
Of course that may have been wishful thinking on my part seeing as how the book galvanized a generation of Indian people to fight for the redress of the historical wrongs done to our people. The book touched a nerve with tribes across Indian Country and showed us graphically the commonality of our many struggles. The book proved that what was done to our people was a decades long, government inspired, well planned, process of genocide and a movie showing the same was eagerly looked forward to by Indians across the nation. The book was deeply researched and exceptionally careful in its scholarship, Dee Brown was one of the first historians to attempt to examine the native side of the conquest of America.
This movie began with scenes of a screaming bunch of be-feathered warriors charging down a hill and riding in a circle around and around a tightly gathered group of soldiers bravely making a "last stand" against the swarming horde. As anyone knows who has been to the actual Bighorn battlefield the soldiers death sites are scattered over many acres in a big fan shaped area from where it began. It shows that with few exceptions the soldiers were flushed like a covey of quail and died running to escape. As the camera slowly faded from the scene I said "uh-oh, I hope that wasn't supposed to be Custer getting his arrow shirt".
It was, damn it all to hell, the movie began with one of the oldest and tiredest of the old, tired Hollywood western stereotypes... suicidal Indian warriors, too dumb to plan battle tactics, letting themselves get picked off one by one by smart white soldiers who take cover while the Indians ride around and around. A sinking sensation began to come over me but I hoped against hope that this was perhaps a counterpoint that would be explained later. That hope was futile, the movie turned out to be full of those types of ignorant stereotypes and to make it worse it was also full of historical mistakes so egregious I doubt the perpetrators even read Dee Browns book! They had the Paiute preacher Wovoka in South Dakota teaching the Lakota how to Ghostdance and the protagonist Eastman devising the Dawes Act! They berated the Lakota for fighting other tribes as if their early displacement by the Ojibway was their fault. Every battle scene shows the Lakota doing their B-western thing and charging straight into superior whitemen shooting superior weapons. We see Lakotas getting blown every which way until they run off and then sue for peace from the superior white officer. I felt like I was back in my 1950's youth, watching a cowboys and redskins flick!
Worse than some of their historical mistakes was the lack of important historical events like Chief Bigfoot's desperate, 200 mile flight through the bitter, subzero cold under harassment by the 7th cavalry. These were the women and children that were to be slaughtered at Wounded Knee, after weeks of trudging and freezing they were almost to safety when the cavalry attacked and murdered them. How could they not portray such a major part of the story? Without Bigfoots attempt to save his people from the revenge minded 7th cavalry by leading them to Red Clouds agency seeking refuge, there would not have been a Wounded Knee massacre. They didn't even make it clear it was Custer's old outfit that committed the murders.
In this movie it made the massacre seem like a fair fight with Lakota shooting as much as the whites, not showing that our men had been disarmed and only a very few had been able to hide a weapon. It obscured the start and never mentioned, much less portrayed, how so many unarmed women and children were murdered one by one, execution style. It made it look like they were killed in the heat of battle instead of being hunted down like rabbits and shot pointblank by crazed and drunken American heroes. It wasn't hard to watch, like the murder of innocent children should be, even though a lot blood was splattered. Oh it got graphic with today's special effects how could it not, but the people didn't seem real because in this movie Indians have no personalities. Except for Adam Beach in a couple of scenes, Indians were one dimensional and stoic (as always) even Sitting Bull (the main personality of the Indian side) was never given any but the barest of motivations for his lifelong resistance.
Which brings me to my biggest disappointment with the movie, no, I should say what pissed me off the most about this movie. They got everything Indian wrong! They sang Sundance songs at inappropriate times and danced the Ghost Dance before a tree. The small things that make us Tribal people were distorted to make our societies the mirror of theirs. Things like our familial relationships were completely ignored and the fact that we had a governmental structure at all seemed unknown to the scriptwriter and director. That's racist. It's as if we were so primitive we lived dog eat dog lives while dictator chiefs ruled us with an iron fist. There were no Clans, no Societies, no Woman's voice, no respect in a society built on respect. There was no beauty.
Chiefs, the honored leaders of our societies who were chosen by the people because they openly lived their lives above reproach, were shown as venal, greed driven autocrats who held life and death powers over their people. Nothing could be more wrong. In one sickening scene they had Chief Sitting Bull tying up a boy and whipping him unmercifully in front of his wife and family for trying to leave camp! Worse again was the way, all of a sudden when the agent said there would be no Chiefs, all the Indians immediately obeyed him and shunned Chief Sitting Bull and gave him no more allegiance. Again no understanding of Indian society or a Chiefs role in our society. The historical record says the agent, who the movie shows as harshly dictating to an intimidated Chief Sitting Bull, was in reality deathly afraid of the Chief and generally kissed his ass while scheming behind his back. And the truth is the vast majority of Lakota people still revered and respected both Chief Sitting Bull and Chief Red Cloud.
All of us have seen the beautiful way our Chiefs and Headsmen dressed when they had formal meetings with the whiteman or sat in Council for the people. In this movie in scene after scene our most respected leaders were dressed like 1930's depression era bums! Why the hell was that done? The completely untrue and totally undignified portrayal of Chief Red Cloud must have been done with deliberate malice. He was shown as an overweight, sad and broken old man without dignity nor the respect of his people. The truth is, a more proud, straight and tall example of Lakota pride and dignity cannot be found in all the pictures of that era. We can only ask why? Why the hell would you make a movie like this? Why would you ignore the very book the movie is named after and choose to make a movie from the ignorant 1950's? Why?
I'm outraged that this movie was foisted upon us under the name of such a respected book. In a different more subtle way this movie is worse and more stereotypical than Mel Gibson's stupidly violent Apocolypto. This movie disrespects those that died at Wounded Knee in the massacre of 1890, it disrespects those that survived, it disrespects the Lakota Nation and it disrespects Indian people, most of all it disrespects the book and its title. When will they ever learn?

Carter Camp, Ponca Nation


Anonymous Anonymous on 4/21/2008 11:13 PM:

My respects Carter Camp, Ponca Nation it also appeared to me that they were portraying the great Indian nations as less capable in relationship to new visitors. That greed under the guise as civilized behavior only resonated of the hypocrisy it real is; amplifying the neurotic and fraudulent Christianity guided expansion. Below is my prayer to the grandfathers of the all the great indigenous nations. As the great plagues of Europe purged the just and the unjust we are all equally deserving of this purge the cowards we are.

Global warming is my only friend
By: Jesse Hemingway

Steal more oil and pump it into our community sphere
Hurry I can still breathe Hurry I can still see
A Mobil cause as the gas pump passes 4000 lost souls
Millions more unaccounted for

Exxon states the facts are not in on the hydro carbon ruse
Steal kill and pump more please
This bull shit does not add up to me
The haves and the have mores say we must bleed

BP cries it is a security need
As the extinction of the lower level of our food chains increase
Global warm is a myth from sea to dying sea
Our vaults can hold more souls you sea

Royal Dutch Shell bloody hands are guilty in this conspiracy
Drill that pipe through the world’s heart and soul
The planet is dying that’s just fine as long as we have fatten bottom line
An out dated source of energy is our greed

Global warming is my only friend
It will meet out the justice that the planet needs
Regardless of you station in life
The have mores will die in style
Pain will be slow as your loved ones go

Global warming is my only friend
Blind justice a slow miserable death
The warnings have been in the cowards will pay
Lunacy polices that many have known
The cost to be paid will be no surprise
Filler up will be paid as a full coffin gauge
Global warming is my only friend


Blogger Winter Rabbit on 4/22/2008 6:28 AM:

That's awesome Jesse, just awesome.