Inspired by Dee Brown's acclaimed bestseller, the HBO Films event Bury My Heart At Wounded Kneebegins powerfully with the Sioux triumph over General Custer at Little Big Horn. The action centers on the struggles of three characters: Charles Eastman, a young, Dartmouth-educated, Sioux doctor; Sitting Bull, the proud Lakota chief who refuses to submit to U.S. government policies designed to strip his people of their identity, their dignity and their sacred land - the gold-laden Black Hills of the Dakotas; and Senator Henry Dawes, one of the men responsible for the government policy on Indian affairs. While Eastman and schoolteacher Elaine Goodale work to improve life for the Sioux on the reservation, Senator Dawes lobbies President Grant for kinder Indian treatment.
A sombre and poignant account of final days of the native American Indian.
- Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee review by Shatner's Bassoon
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Based on the book by Dee Brown, ‘Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee’ is a dramatised account of the final days of the native American Indian in which they had semi-independence and autonomy over their own affairs on large areas of reservation land set aside by the American government. Set between 1876 and 1890 the film chronicles the final moments of the battle of Little Bighorn, to the assassination of Chief Sitting Bull and the massacre of hundreds of innocent Indian men women and children by the 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee Creek fourteen years later. The story is part told through the experiences of Charles Eastman a Sioux Indian who after his father converted to Christianity was taken from his native tribe as a young boy and sent away to be educated and brought up as an American citizen. Now qualified as a doctor Charles is championed by Senator Henry Dawes as to how Indians can be assimilated into western life, and after gold is discovered in the Black Hills of Dakota deep within Indian territory, Charles is hired to advise Dawes on how to redraw previously agreed Sioux territorial boundaries so that a railroad can be laid to create a large scale mining operations. The film then chronicles how the government repeatedly forced the Indian people into accepting unfair deals for their land and banned then from hunting until they were forced into living in state run reservations where they were stripped of their cultural identity and dignity and forced to live, work, dress and attend church as westerners. I'm not a particularly big fan of westerns, but this is a great story, up to the usual high standard of HBO productions with good direction and universally first-rate performances from the entire cast; and although somewhat depressing it’s an enlightening look at a dark and often veiled part of American history. There is a nice epilogue to the film which wraps the story up and how the American supreme court of the 1980’s later accepted the wrongdoing of the government against the Native American people.