What is the summary of Chapter 18 in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown?

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 18 of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee two major events transpire. First, Sitting Bull returns to America from exile in Canada. Second, the Ghost Dance religion arises. Two new characters are introduced. They are Buffalo Bill Cody, who is the proprietor of the Wild West Show in which Sitting Bull performs and Kicking Bear, who is the Minneconjou who travels to Nevada where he has a vision of Christ and is taught by the vision about the new Ghost Dance.

After being forced out of the Black Hills and Powder River lands (1876-1877), the Sioux are restrained in a new reservation called the Great Sioux Reservation in Dakota by the Missouri River. Sitting Bull at this time is exiled in Canada where a meeting in 1877 with Army General Terry fails to reach an accord. Then, about four years later, Sitting Bull and 186 of his braves, out of the 3,000 that are with him, return to America, to Fort Buford, to surrender.

Finally, in 1889, a new treaty is signed whereby Sioux reservations are broken into small disconnected parts. As an indirect consequence, the Ghost Dance religion arose eleven years later in 1890.

Kicking Feather saw the vision of the Ghost Dance in Nevada and brought word of a dance and a prophecy to the Sioux Nation. The Dance was founded in Christianity but was opposed to the white men appropriating the lives and property of the Sioux Nation. The prophecy held that the Ghost Dance would induce such a spiritual state in the participants that they would rise above the Earth, and that Earth would then be covered with new soil. The white men would be buried under the soil, but the wild horses and buffalo, the grasses and trees and streams would all reappear. Then the Sioux and the ghosts of their ancestors would inhabit the land in peace.

As a means of squelching the Ghost Dance, General Miles order the arrest of Sitting Bull by two Indian policemen, Red Tomahawk and Bull Head (December 12, 1890). Instead of arresting Sitting Bull, they killed him.

Read the study guide:
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question