According to Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, what was the nature of the policy of the U.S. government toward American Indians in the 19th century and the response of the Indian nations to these policies?
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee includes accounts of white-Native interactions dating back to Columbus, but its focus is on the period after the Civil War. Broadly speaking, the policy of the federal government was to displace Indian peoples and move them to reservations, or to lands increasingly circumscribed by federal treaties, white settlers, and mining and logging companies. Of course, as Brown shows throughout, the Americans were often less than diligent in observing treaties, and frequently conflict was the result. Brown highlights several significant examples of Native resistance, including Little Crow's War, the Cheyenne War, Sitting Bull's uprising (which included "Custer's Last Stand" at Little Bighorn), and Geronimo's resistance. The book culminates with the Ghost Dance movement, a movement of cultural, spiritual, and military resistance that ended tragically with the massacre of dozens of Sioux, mostly non-combatants, at Wounded Knee. But Indians resisted in many other ways, as Brown shows throughout. Some, like Standing Bear, sought legal redress in American courts. Others complied with the requirements of the Dawes Severalty Act, which encouraged political, economic and cultural assimilation. Others, like Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce, sought to flee to Canada. Still others, like Red Cloud, petitioned the US government directly, even visiting Washington itself.