When you hear the words “politics” and “Wounded Knee” together, you tend to think of the American Indian Movement standoff there with the FBI in 1973.
But “Wounded Knee: Party Politics and the Road to an American Massacre,” by Amherst history professor Heather Cox Richardson — takes a look at the climate that allowed the massacre of Chief Big Foot and his followers, most of them unarmed, on Dec. 29, 1890.
As author Stew Magnuson writes in his blog, A View from A Washichu, the book covers a lot of familiar territory about that awful day. And it doesn’t answer lingering questions, such as who fired the first shot. But, as Magnuson writes:
I’ve never believed that it mattered. The Army should not have been on the reservation in the first place. The bigger question then is why U.S. troops came to the South Dakota reservations to quell the seemingly harmless religious rituals that were part of the Ghost Dance religion? Hysteria in neighboring white communities over the perceived dangers of the dancing was certainly one factor.
So who is at fault?
In short, the Republicans, Richardson asserts.
In his review of the book for the Chicago Tribune, Steve Fiffer writes that “Heather Cox Richardson’s superb new book should come labeled: Warning! Reading the contents may lead to depression.”
All of which makes us want to read more. Good thing the weekend’s coming up!
Tags: A View From a Washichu, buffalo post, Chief Bigfoot, Ghost Dance, Gwen Florio, Heather Cox Richardson, Stew Magnuson, Wounded Knee, Wounded Knee - Party Politics and the Road to an American Massacre