Sitting Bull Was Right (HBO’s Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee)

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Historical revisionists of American Indian history portray indigenous people being as violent as white Europeans were before they arrived on this continent and after settlement. Consequently, HBO’s “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” was no exception in the scene with Sitting Bull and Col Nelson Miles on the Buffalo Robe, as Miles justified the genocide he was committing as “You were as violent as we are, we’re doing the same thing to you that you did to them (paraphrasing).”



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Miles challenges Sitting Bull’s account of the Lakota people as champions of the plains. “The proposition that you were a peaceable people before the appearance of the white man is the most fanciful legend of all. You conquered those tribes, lusting for their game and their lands, just as we have now conquered you for no less noble a cause.” Sitting Bull exclaims, “This is your story of my people!” Miles responds, “This is the truth, not legend.”

(Reposted due to “General Miles Blows Off Indian Myths” – “The best scene of ‘Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee’ (2007). General Nelson Miles gives a history lesson to Sioux Chief Sitting Bull. http://www.custerwest.org”)

This is the truth, not historical revisionism. There are general and specific reasons why Sitting Bull was right. To get the answers as to why, we turn to the scholarship of James Demeo. First, we’ll look at his conclusions to get the general overview.


Unlearning the Language of Conquest Scholars Expose Anti-Indianism in America. “Peaceful verses Warlike Societies” essay by James Demeo. p. 150 – 151

Conclusions

This evidence, drawn from history, archeology, and anthropology, speaks clearly: The New World prior to Columbus was a far less violent place than the Old World. And it can be argued that, in spite of many terrible events which followed after Columbus, the New World remained a less violent place all the way down through the centuries because of its geographical isolation from the more violent Saharasian empires…This summary suggests the general vindication of the vast majority of Native American values and peoples as standing on the peace – making side of history. Certainly, not all Indigenous American cultures fit the peaceful images given in Dances with Wolves, but it is not an exaggeration to say that the majority did.

To go to the specifics, we’ll go to page 148 of his essay under the heading “Archeological Evaluations.” This is number 3 of a list of 9 in which other listings are of Michigan, Illinois, and Southern California to list three of them.


Unlearning the Language of Conquest Scholars Expose Anti-Indianism in America. “Peaceful verses Warlike Societies” essay by James Demeo. p. 148

3. South Dakota, Crow Creek, c. 1300 C.E. Site of a tribal massacre of around 500 men, women, and children, but with a deficit of reproductive – age females.15


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At least fifty Middle Plains Woodland skeletons and the Crow Creek massacre mass burial bones have been examined. A few Siouan skeletons from various places have been evaluated. A significant number of bones came from skeletons for which there was little or no provenience. The oldest human remnants we have seen from South Dakota (carbon dated 3,800 BP +/- 110 years) were 16 incomplete skeletons from the Hilde Gravel Pit near Lake Madison (161,162). The Middle Plains Woodland skeletons, the Crow Creek villagers (probably proto-Arikara) (361) and the Hilde Gravel Pit skeletons are pre-Columbian; those in museums, private collections, and salvage archaeology skeletons are primarily post-Columbian.


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Who Carried Out the Massacre and Why?:
We cannot know for certain. Several explanations are possible. One is that it was some outside group, perhaps displaced Middle Missouri villagers from the north. Another suggests that some distant group from the east or west came through the area and massacred the villagers. Though neither can be ruled out, some problems suggest that it would have been difficult to do due to villages size, protection, and the fact that relatives lived in villages nearby.

Another explanation suggests that overpopulation combined with climatic instability caused competition for arable land. The massacre may have been carried out by one or several allied villages of the same culture. Evidence of malnutrition in the paleopathology suggests part of the hypothesis could be true. Computer simulation suggests that the hypothesis is feasible.

So, the only possible evidence, simply because of its location, does not at all justify “You conquered those tribes, lusting for their game and their lands, just as we have now conquered you for no less noble a cause.”

In addition, just above the “Archeological Evaluations” is stated:


Unlearning the Language of Conquest Scholars Expose Anti-Indianism in America. “Peaceful verses Warlike Societies” essay by James Demeo. p. 148

Even the most aggressive and warlike of the Native American empire – building  cultures (i. e., the Aztecs) never came close to the systematic murder and destruction seen at the hands of various Saharasian butcher – kings (e. g., Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Ivan the Terrible, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Tse – Dung, Pol Pot, ect.). In fact, the overwhelming percentage of New World Peoples, even after all the trauma and destruction which followed Columbus,  maintained significant elements of their peace – oriented matristic cultures, all the way into the 1800’s.

Dick Wolf states in the 2007 edition of Cowboys and Indians about the movie, “The reason Law & Order has been on for 17 years is that it tries to point out on a weekly basis that the world is in shades of gray.” Perhaps this is why a friend of mine thought Col Miles was right: Wolf’s innovative use of “gray.” Never does Wolf use his “shades of gray” to distort the moral line when it pertains to rape, murder, or theft. A rapist, a murderer, and a thief are always clearly on the wrong side of the law. Never have I heard an officer say, “She deserved it, they had it coming, or they shouldn’t leave their stuff lying around where someone can steal it.” To the contrary,  his “shades of gray” that I have seen in Law & Order  pertain to trying the case, where after the trial the one clearly on the wrong side of the law may go free as a result of politics or loopholes in legislation. Why Wolf didn’t do the same with Sitting Bull and Col Miles in the movie I don’t know, but I do know this – Sitting Bull was right. And, there are no “shades of gray” when it’s about genocide.


Sitting Bull

“The white man knows how to make everything, but he does not know how to distribute it.”

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