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The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present


Book Overview: The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present

The received idea of Native American history--as promulgated by books like Dee Brown's mega-bestselling 1970 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee--has been that American Indian history essentially ended with the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee. Not only did one hundred fifty Sioux die at the hands of the U. S. Cavalry, the sense was, but Native civilization did as well.

Growing up Ojibwe on a reservation in Minnesota, training as an anthropologist, and researching Native life past and present for his nonfiction and novels, David Treuer has uncovered a different narrative. Because they did not disappear--and not despite but rather because of their intense struggles to preserve their language, their traditions, their families, and their very existence--the story of American Indians since the end of the nineteenth century to the present is one of unprecedented resourcefulness and reinvention.

In The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Treuer melds history with reportage and memoir. Tracing the tribes' distinctive cultures from first contact, he explores how the depredations of each era spawned new modes of survival. The devastating seizures of land gave rise to increasingly sophisticated legal and political maneuvering that put the lie to the myth that Indians don't know or care about property. The forced assimilation of their children at government-run boarding schools incubated a unifying Native identity. Conscription in the US military and the pull of urban life brought Indians into the mainstream and modern times, even as it steered the emerging shape of self-rule and spawned a new generation of resistance. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is the essential, intimate story of a resilient people in a transformative era.




Named a best book of 2019 by The New York Times, TIME, The Washington Post, NPR, Hudson Booksellers, The New York Public Library, The Dallas Morning News, and Library Journal.

"Chapter after chapter, it's like one shattered myth after another." - NPR

"An informed, moving and kaleidoscopic portrait... Treuer's powerful book suggests the need for soul-searching about the meanings of American history and the stories we tell ourselves about this nation's past.." - New York Times Book Review, front page

A sweeping history--and counter-narrative--of Native American life from the Wounded Knee massacre to the present.

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PublisherPenguin Publishing GroupRiverhead Books
Publication Date2019-11-052019-01-22
Dimensionsin x in x in
Weight lbs
David Treuer is a distinguished American author and scholar known for his profound contributions to the field of Native American literature. Born in 1970 in Washington, treasured for his Ojibwe and Jewish heritage, Treuer grew up in the Leech Lake Indian reservation. Educated at Princeton University under the mentorship of renowned writers like Toni Morrison and Paul Muldoon, he earned his PhD in anthropology and taught extensively in the University of Southern California. Treuer debuted as an author through his novel "Little," which successfully dove into the unsung narratives of Native American communities. Best known for his book "Rez Life: An Indian's Journey Through Reservation Life" and "The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee", his works intrically weave anthropology and fiction, illuminating the rich tapestry of Native American history and contemporary life. Treuer's writings, translated into multiple languages, have vastly broadened the horizons of Native American literature, earning him prestigious awards, including a Pushcart Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Admired for his scholarship, Treuer has exemplified himself as a strong voice advocating for native people's rights and preserving native languages. His literary excellence combined with piercing anthropological insights has shaped a distinctive path in American literature. Treuer continues to write and engage with indigenous community issues, passionately embodying the resilience and vibrancy of Native American culture in his work.

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