Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Characters
by Dee Brown

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Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Characters

(Nonfiction Classics for Students)

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Big Foot
Big Foot is a Minneconjou chief who surrenders his people when the military starts killing indiscriminately in revenge for the death of Custer. After he is identified as an instigator of the Ghost Dance, Big Foot tries to take his people to Red Cloud's Agency at Pine Ridge. The Army captures and tries to disarm them. In the process, a Minneconjou fires a shot and the military reacts, killing Big Foot and most of the Minneconjous.

Black Kettle
Black Kettle is a Cheyenne chief who goes to great lengths to keep peace with white people. He assures his people at Sand Creek that they have protection from the Army, who slaughters the village. He escapes, but is tricked once again at a later date, and dies while trying to make peace with the soldiers. General Sheridan lies about Black Kettle's death, saying that he was offered peace but chose to make war.

Captain Jack
Captain Jack is the chief of the Modocs; he tries to make peace with white people, even after some Modocs are killed. However, when Hooker Jim's band of Modocs kill some settlers, Captain Jack agrees not to turn them in. He kills General Canby under pressure from this band who then betrays Captain Jack by helping the Army find him. Captain Jack is hanged.

Cochise
Cochise is an Apache chief who fights many battles with the American military, escapes capture on several occasions, and helps lead raids against white settlers. When American soldiers shoot his father-in-law, Mangas, Cochise rides to Mexico and forces a Mexican surgeon to save Mangas's life. Cochise is able to secure a reservation that encompasses part of the Apaches' land.

Crazy Horse
Crazy Horse is a Sioux chief who refuses to live on a reservation. As a young man, Crazy Horse distinguishes himself in Red Cloud's War. He is one of the many chiefs who oppose selling the Black Hills to the government, and he helps lead several battles in this war, including the Battle of the Little Bighorn, in which General Custer is killed. When the military comes in overwhelming force to avenge Custer's death, Crazy Horse attempts to fight them, but ultimately he surrenders. When several of his people enlist with the military to help fight other Native Americans, Crazy Horse tries to take the rest of his people and return to his land. He is captured and is fatally stabbed while trying to escape. Crazy Horse's parents bury his heart and bones near Wounded Knee Creek.

General George Crook
General Crook leads several campaigns against the Apaches—who call him Gray Wolf—and the Plains Native Americans—who call him Three Stars. Over the course of a decade, Crook's cold attitude towards Native Americans changes to one of respect and sympathy. He helps the runaway Poncas win their freedom in court, uses diplomacy instead of force to get Geronimo to surrender, and condemns local newspapers for spreading lies about the Apaches. He resigns when the War Department does not recognize Crook's surrender terms with Geronimo. The government later dupes Crook into convincing the Sioux that the government will take their lands by force if the Sioux do not sell them.

General George Armstrong Custer
General Custer participates in several campaigns against the Plains Native Americans—who call him either Hard Backsides or Long Hair. Custer reports that the Black Hills are filled with gold, which attracts many gold seekers to the region. During the resulting War for the Black Hills, at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, Sioux and Cheyenne warriors kill Custer and all of his men—the greatest defeat suffered by the United States Army in the conflicts with Native Americans. The government's massive retaliation for this defeat ultimately leads to the end of freedom for all Plains Native Americans.

Donehogawa
Donehogawa, an Iroquois who takes the American name of Ely Samuel Parker, has an unusual amount of success in the world of white people. He learns English and goes to law school but is refused the right to take the bar exam. He becomes a civil...

(The entire section is 2,111 words.)