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Chapter one lays down the historical back ground of the Native Americans from the very beginning. There isn’t much recognition of these Indian tribes and leaders but this book from the very first chapter portrays the heroic events of the Native Americans. The book was published in 1970 and was one the first story to defend the Native Americans and tell their side of the story unlike many of the other stories that were always from a white man’s perspective. Brown wrote this book to show the mistreatment of the Native Americans and supported this idea with many factual historical documents.
In chapter one, brown tells the Europeans first thoughts of the Native Americans. Columbus wrote to the King and Queen of Spain describing the Native Americans as peaceful, sweet, and gentle. The Americans took this as a sign of weakness. Columbus saw them as slaves, and thought they should be “made to work” and that they should neglect their culture and adopt the American ways, and after about four centuries the other Europeans tried to enforce their ways on the Native Americans as well.
Several treaties or deals were made with the Native Americans throughout the centuries. The Native Americans compromised and made deals with the Europeans and the government of the United States. Almost always, these treaties and promises were broken. In my opinion, the Europeans made the Native Americans believe they were making good deals and compromises when in fact, they always had their own best interest in mind. They made treaties to end wars and conflict for the moment, just to get what they wanted.
Many Native tribe leaders are mentioned in Chapter one. Some of these leaders include; wahunsonacook, Metacom (king Philip), Tecumeseh, Black Hawk, Little Crow, Wabasha, Red Cloud, Spotted Tail, Dull Knife, Satank, Quanah Parker, Mangas Colorado, Manuelito, Kintpuash (Captain Jack), Wovoka, Chief Joseph, and many more. Brown speaks of these leaders to be legends, and a big part of history. He stated that their names would become as well known as the men who tried to destroy them. Most of these men would have been long gone before the Indian freedom came at Wounded Knee in December, 1890. Brown called them “the most heroic of all Americans.” These men sacrificed their lives for their tribes. They fought for Indian freedom and led their tribes into war to gain that freedom. It was a long battle, which included very many deaths, and losses. Whole Native American societies were burned to the ground, including mothers and children. No matter how many times they failed, they didn’t give up.
Before starting this book, I had no idea about many of these brave Native American leaders. I think that this book is similar to the text book. Brown accurately describes their sacrifice and bravery throughout the centuries and all the tragedy they had to overcome. Brown shows the unfairness that the Europeans gave them and I very much agree with him on this aspect. I also agree that these Native American leaders, as well as all their tribes, are an important part of history and they are hero’s. I don’t think they are as recognized as they should be.
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