Films of Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing
Edited By John J. Michalczyk and SJ Raymond G. Helmick
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007): The Epic Fall of the American Indian: Nancy Lynch Street
Nancy Lynch Street
When I was a boy, the Sioux owned the world. The sun rose and set on their land; they sent ten thousand men to battle. Where are the warriors today? Who slew them? Where are our lands? Who owns them? What White Man can say I ever stole his land or a penny of his money? Yet they say I am a thief. What white woman, however lonely was ever captive or insulted by me? Yet they say that I am a bad Indian. What White Man has ever seen me drunk? Who has ever come to me and left me unfed? Who has ever seen me, beat my wives or abuse my children? What law have I broken? Is it wrong for me to love my own? Is it wicked for me because my skin is red? Because I am a Sioux? Because I was born where my father lived? Because I would die for my people and my country?
—Sitting Bull, Teton Sioux1
Like the famous Sioux chief and shaman Sitting Bull, HBO’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee2 attempts to portray American Indians as collateral damage in the bloody Westward Movement and the concept of “Manifest Destiny.” As the film depicts, the US government used its self-imposed mandate by the Monroe Doctrine to expand westward (with a continental railroad) to either: (1) put the “recalcitrant, rebellious savages” out of the way onto reservations, far from any amenities; (2)...
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