I agree with Elaine’s statement “all I saw in their eyes was sorrow” because I too can see that when watching “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee”. The Indians underwent so much suffering and loss of their people, land, and food. They were treated like prisoners by the U.S. government. They unfairly took their land and sentenced them to corralled agencies were they were forced to live the rest of their lives secluded in one area. Instead of roaming the plains freely to uncharted lands and hunting for their food, they became slaves of the white man. Whatever the white men said is what came to be. Their homes were sold off to the rich society that wanted to plant iron into their fields. To see innocent women, children, and men when soldiers come to fight you for your land is heartbreaking. Everything was taken from the Indians. The lives they once lived was something they would never be able to relive again. Sitting Bull’s son says to him “we are lucky.” Yet he was so blindsided by what was around him. Being treated like a pawn in a chess game is not a blessing, it is misfortunate. The purpose of the Ghost Dance was to bring back peace and prosperity to the people throughout the region, bring the spirits of the dead back to life, and rid the white colonists from their lands. Wovoka envisioned his people’s happiness without the chains of the white men. Their freedom was on its way. Col. Nelson Miles believes that the Indians killed themselves before the first whites came. They have been massacring and conquering other tribes for land and game just like the whites are doing it now. Sitting Bull is offended because this is the story that the whites have said, but what they have spoken is legend. Yet the whites believe this is the truth. The chiefs that have surrendered their lives to the white man are no longer honored. They have abandoned their culture and everything they stand for. For example, Red Cloud is no longer seen as a chief but as “a woman that the whites have mounted and have had their way with”. It was so important because by changing your name, you change your identity. You are a new person. A fresh start. By changing your name, it was the official statement of an Indian becoming civilized. It was a way of integrating into the American culture and erasing the indigenous one. The teacher purposefully tricked Ohiyesa to picking a white name. His teacher was hesitant for him to pick a white name and leave his past behind. By saying a chief’s name incorrectly, she knew it would bother Ohiyesa because it brought dishonor to the chief’s name. In order to honor his name, he made the sacrifice of changing his name to be able to speak freely and correct the teacher’s “mistake”. Indians were seen as savages because of their lifestyle. They were different and viewed life from a different perspective. They dressed in a certain way and had their own way of spirituality. The whites wanted the Indians to render their savage ways of life.


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