what's a memorable event from Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee?

Expert Answers
teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are quite a few memorable events in the book, but none more so than the Battle of Little Bighorn in chapter 12 ("The War For The Black Hills").

In this chapter, the author points out that the Treaty of 1868 forbade white Americans to settle on certain Indian lands. In that year, the Black Hills was considered worthless land. However, word soon spread that the region held "immense amounts of gold." Before long, General George Armstrong Custer led more than a thousand Seventh Cavalry soldiers into the Black Hills.

Custer subsequently reported that the hills were filled with gold. His words precipitated the frenzied entry of white settlers onto Native American land. The Sioux chief, Red Cloud, heard angry complaints from his young warriors. For his part, Red Cloud didn't realize how dire the situation was until white settlers tried to put up a flag at their new stockade in Black Hills. The Sioux warriors fought to banish the settlers, but they were unsuccessful. Privately, they were extremely unhappy with Red Cloud's leadership, and they soon began gravitating towards Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.

For his part, Red Cloud tried to negotiate with the United States government. In the end, however, the Sioux stood firm against selling the Black Hills land. Frustrated, the government tried to haggle for mineral rights. It offered four hundred thousand dollars a year for the right to mine gold in the Black Hills. If, however, Crazy Horse and the other chiefs changed their minds and decided to sell, they would be given six million dollars, paid in 15 annual installments.

The offer was rejected, and the refusal to sell precipitated a series of events that culminated in The Battle of Little Bighorn (where Custer and his troops were killed) and the surrender and subsequent death of Crazy Horse. The Sioux lost the Black Hills, and Sitting Bull decided to take his people to Canada. So, the Battle of Little Bighorn and Crazy Horse's death precipitated the loss of Native American land and the dispersion of various tribes to the north and other regions.

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