Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Review

1) Why is changing the indian name with a “white name” so important? Why does it have to be from the Bible? Why is Ohiyesa (Charles) so hesitant in doing this?

The reason it was so important for the Indians to change their name was because it was the White’s way of beginning the process of assimilation. Supposedly, choosing a white Christian name would get them a step closer to transforming into civilized Americans as supposed to the savages they were believed to be. According to the white Americans, choosing a Christian name would purify the Native’s at heart and lead them to a better and more educated lifestyle. I believe that Oiyesa was so hesitant to choose a name because he knew that if he chose one he was ultimately agreeing and conforming to the impositions placed by the Christian-American invasion. In the end, Oiyesa never even chose his name out of compliance, he happen to become “Charles” out of anger to being indirectly forced by his teacher.

2) What is Sitting Bull’s interpretation of the Bible verse “Be fruitful and multiply” in relation to the land issue when speaking in front of the white council?

To the white men God said be fruitful and multiply meaning reproduce, create offspring, and populate. Such reproduction would only occur under favorable conditions meaning abundant food and the basic necessities of life fulfilled. Sitting Bull makes reference of this verse to highlight that even though the Native Americans were forced to accept Christianity and all teachings of the bible, they were not going to be able to comply with its ordains. Reason being that the land assigned to them was barren and unable to sustain life. Ultimately, the white council expected them to become civilized Christians but did not let each verse apply to their transformation.


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