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Native American History

Those of you on this site that know me personally, will be aware that one of my passions in life, is an interest in Native American History.

This interest started when I was about 17 years of age (I am now 71) when I read the "bible" of the subject, a book titled "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" by Dee Brown. It struck a cord in me and the interest and thirst for knowledge on the subject remains to this day.

About 6 years ago, I started to contribute monthly to a school (Wounded Knee School )on a very impovished Indian Reservation named Pine Ridge in South Dakota. The rez is the anchestral home of the Oglala Lakota (or commonly known as "Sioux").

20 months ago I took a solo holiday to that part of the USA and included a trip to the rez and school and took some clothes to the latter. I was appalled to see the level of poverty on the rez and upon my return considered long and hard about what else I can do to support the school.

So, a few months back, I put together a Power Point presentation on the subject of Native American History to raise money, via voluntary contributions, from the audience of my presentations. I have now undertaken 4 such presentations and have raised £300 for my school.

The main purpose of this thread is to announce that I am available and willing to undertake such presentations further afield (I live in a small town near Milton Keynes), to any clubs/ organisations that would be interested to learn more about this interesting subject. No fee charged, just an expectation of voluntary donations.

To finish off, one statistic to highlight the level of poverty on the rez: the average life expectancy of a white American male is 75 years of age; on the rez the life expectancy of a male Oglala Lakota is 48 !!

So, if there are any clubs/organisations that would like to hear my presentation, then please get in touch. Thanks

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Comments

  • Watched a great documentary on the High School basketball culture in Pine Ridge, think it was a Vice Wide World of Sports piece. The suicide rates on reservations are alarming.
  • Croydon said:

    Watched a great documentary on the High School basketball culture in Pine Ridge, think it was a Vice Wide World of Sports piece. The suicide rates on reservations are alarming.

    The teenage suicide rates on the rez are 3 times the national average (2010 stats).
  • There's a few Native Americans on here, Pete. You got Chief Talkingbollocks and Running Mouth, it's up to you to track them down, but they're serial posters on here.

    Nice response :-)
  • edited May 31
    im sure you have read it but "Empire of the summer moon" is a fantastic read.
  • Plenty of quite depressing film on youtube of Pine ridge.
  • The history of local tribes is fascinating; I was lucky enough to visit Tamástslikt Cultural Institute in Oregon a few years back, and also The Chiricahua Desert Museum in New Mexico, plus the Anasazi Heritage Center in Colorado. The native american museums are generally excellent. I've also been to the Geronimo Surrender Monument, in Arizona, which tells the tale of what happened to the indiginous people at the very end of their time of (apparent) freedom.

    Good luck with your continuing venture, Peter.
  • I visited the Crazy Horse memorial a couple of years back. No doubt you know it, quite close to the Pine Ridge reserve. No idea when it will be finished, but the memorial itself makes the one as Rushmore look like rubbish.
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  • PopIcon said:

    I visited the Crazy Horse memorial a couple of years back. No doubt you know it, quite close to the Pine Ridge reserve. No idea when it will be finished, but the memorial itself makes the one as Rushmore look like rubbish.

    I have been there twice. On asking about progress, I was told that the outstretched arm will be completed in about 20 years! The arm pointing represents "my people lie (dead) over there".

    The head of Crazy Horse alone is bigger than the whole of Mount Rushmore.

    The Black Hills per se is a beautiful part of the North Western states and is only eclipsed by the amazing Yellowstone National Park.
  • I live next to (in the vast Canadian scheme of things it’s maybe a 30 minute drive) to a large Native reservation, belonging to the Stoney Nakoda First Nation. Canada has a very unsavoury past with the First Nations - lots of horrible stuff has gone on. Today the reservations are often blighted with extreme poverty & the corresponding violence and substance abuse. A very complex and difficult subject - like @PeterGage a lot of people are making an effort to improve things - maybe there is some hope.
  • 20 years just to complete the arm? Going to take 200 years+ plus for completion then? Doesn't actually suprise me seeing as the fella started it not long after World War II finished. I drove through the Black Hills, in fact I drove across the whole of South Dakota and it blew me away. Vast beauty.
  • another great book "Bury me at Wounded Knee".
  • PopIcon said:

    20 years just to complete the arm? Going to take 200 years+ plus for completion then? Doesn't actually suprise me seeing as the fella started it not long after World War II finished. I drove through the Black Hills, in fact I drove across the whole of South Dakota and it blew me away. Vast beauty.

    The length of time to progress the monument was due initially to the fact that the project would not accept government funding because it didnt want government interference. I dont know if that is still the case but I do know that they are more open to funding from non government large organisations. This may speed up the progress.
  • Have you ever listened to the Richard Digance Album ' How the West was Lost' which includes the song 'How the West was Lost' (Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee'
  • Good luck Peter and thanks for the book recommendation - it's a very interesting subject but lots of books out there to choose from!
  • This is fantastic work, thank you so much for it. I think that a lot of Americans are aware that "we" did bad things to Native Americans in the past. I don't think they appreciate just how poorly the conditions for those Native people continues to be. So again, thank you so much for your work.
  • Sark99 said:

    Have you ever listened to the Richard Digance Album ' How the West was Lost' which includes the song 'How the West was Lost' (Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee'

    No I havent - did not know of its existence.Shall You Tube it later. Thanks
  • PopIcon said:

    I visited the Crazy Horse memorial a couple of years back. No doubt you know it, quite close to the Pine Ridge reserve. No idea when it will be finished, but the memorial itself makes the one as Rushmore look like rubbish.

    Interestingly, there are no known photos of Crazy Horse. I guess he was murdered before they had time to take a likeness. This is all so sad - a great people with a great history and culture.
    Been to Arizona a few times - a contrast I know, but the Mojave Desert is also fantastic - and the indigenous people that live near the Grand Canyon (the Havasupai) have their own but similar problems.

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  • Good luck Peter and thanks for the book recommendation - it's a very interesting subject but lots of books out there to choose from!

    Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is certainly a good starting point and covers most of the atrosities carried out on the indiginous peoples. It can lead to other books on more specific incidents such as Custers Last Stand, the life of Crazy Horse
  • addick05 said:

    PopIcon said:

    I visited the Crazy Horse memorial a couple of years back. No doubt you know it, quite close to the Pine Ridge reserve. No idea when it will be finished, but the memorial itself makes the one as Rushmore look like rubbish.

    Interestingly, there are no known photos of Crazy Horse. I guess he was murdered before they had time to take a likeness. This is all so sad - a great people with a great history and culture.
    Been to Arizona a few times - a contrast I know, but the Mojave Desert is also fantastic - and the indigenous people that live near the Grand Canyon (the Havasupai) have their own but similar problems.

    It is thought that Crazy Horse thought he would lose his soul if ever a photograph was taken of him and also there was little opportunity because he kept away from "whites" as much as possible.

    There is a picture in the Wild Bill Cody museum in Cody Wyoming (I have seen it) which claims to be of Crazy Horse but the authenticity cannot be verified.
  • I did not know then how much was ended.
    When I look back now from this high hill of my old age,I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when i saw them with eyes still young.And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A peoples dream died there. It was a beautiful dream....
    the nations hoop is broken and scattered. There is no centre any longer,and the sacred tree is dead.
    I shall not be there
    I shall rise and pass
    bury my heart at Wounded Knee.
  • edited May 31
    PeterGage said:

    Sark99 said:

    Have you ever listened to the Richard Digance Album ' How the West was Lost' which includes the song 'How the West was Lost' (Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee'

    No I havent - did not know of its existence.Shall You Tube it later. Thanks
    Try Johnny Cash 'Bitter Tears' album too - it's brilliant and on topic!
  • Crazy horse monument is magnificent, deffo reccomend going to see it if you’re in the mt Rushmore are, as mt Rushmore is pretty underwhelming imo.

    Not to be a cynic but I doubt crazy horse will ever really be “finished” as it’s built a tourism industry around the fact it isn’t finished.
  • "The white man made us many promises but they kept only one. They promised to take our land and they did."

    Red Cloud, Oglala Sioux chief
  • A warrior I have been.
    Now it is all over.
    A hard time I have.

    Song of Sitting Bull.
  • Stevelamb said:

    I did not know then how much was ended.
    When I look back now from this high hill of my old age,I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when i saw them with eyes still young.And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A peoples dream died there. It was a beautiful dream....
    the nations hoop is broken and scattered. There is no centre any longer,and the sacred tree is dead.
    I shall not be there
    I shall rise and pass
    bury my heart at Wounded Knee.

    Beautiful words and so sad and so true.
    Although effectively Custers Last Stand ended the resistance of the Northern Plains Indians (June 1876), the death of Sitting Bull on 15 Dec 1890, followed by the Wounded Knee massacre on 29 Dec 1890 finished off any hope of retaining their culture and values
  • Still one of the best books I have ever read and led me on to read many many more on the Native American Indian.
    I have always wanted to go to the Blackhills and one day I will.
    Peter Gage did you ever go to the Native American Indian exhibition on the south bank many years ago, I still have the programme.
  • addick05 said:

    "The white man made us many promises but they kept only one. They promised to take our land and they did."

    Red Cloud, Oglala Sioux chief

    Red Cloud's War on the Bozeman Trail, Wyoming (1866 - 68) was the only war (as opposed from a single battle) that the Plains Indians won. So much so that in the peace treaty that followed (Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868), it is the only time in the USA wars, either home or abroad, that America had to concede everything it's enemy wanted in the subsequent peace treaty.
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