Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bury My Heart

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American WestBury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West by Dee Brown

This is a book that should be required reading for high school students. I was a sophomore in high school when I read it and it had an immense impact on my outlook on life. In fact, after reading it I decided that I wanted to live my life like the Indians lived theirs. The Indians didn’t punch a timeclock, they didn’t wear neckties, they didn’t have tv commercials and they didn’t pollute the environment, in fact they didn’t produce waste. When they killed a buffalo they used every single part of that buffalo, for eating, for clothes, for making teepees, for tools, jewelry, etc. The Indians had it right. That was the right way to live. They worshipped the Earth, the moon, the sun, the sky, the universe. They didn’t have child-molesters in robes telling them how to live their lifes. They didn’t have corporate-sponsored politicians making the laws to which they had to live by. So I became convinced that I should live my life like the Indians…or at least as true to the Indian way of life as is possible in the modern world (this was 1984ish).

Two things probablly kept me from being locked away in a looney bin after that. The first was that I was only 16 years old and 16 year olds of course are able to act obnoxious, socially awkward or whatever, without getting thrown in a looney bin. The second thing was that I had an accomplice, a peace-loving hippy chick that thought in abstractions and spoke in poems. Together we began our quest to live the Indian Way...

Although I last heard from her around the time of the fist Gulf war, together we made a vow to remain true to the Native American spirit. For years I kept a copy of Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee beside my bed, until it was stolan sometime in the late 1990s. But it was only a material pocession anyway.
Five out of five Wagemann heads.

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