Harjo: HBO buried history with 'Wounded Knee'
"Someone owes Sam Eaglestaff an apology. The venerated Cheyenne River leader of the Wounded Knee Survivors Association left this life thinking we set the record straight on the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 when the United States apologized for it a century later.

There's something in the American psyche that needs to record that massacre as a battle. A battle designation must make someone feel better about those 7th Cavalry soldiers winning Medals of Honor and about non-Indians continuing to occupy and reap gold riches from the Black Hills.

Alas, the latest public recounting of that history by HBO's ''Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee'' puts us back to pre-1990 - back to a battle that no one can be blamed for. HBO gets points for humanizing some Native figures and for attempting to depict the Dawes allotment policies, but it missed the drama, conspiracies, contradictions and tensions of the time.

But it doesn't show that the Sioux people were disarmed the night before the massacre or that the U.S. soldiers, still mad about Little Bighorn, then got drunk on rum. It doesn't show that many of the soldiers were still drunk and hung over when they killed more than 300 Hunkpapa and Minneconjou people in less than an hour with rifles and Hotchkiss revolving cannons. It doesn't show that the 25 Army soldiers who died were killed by friendly fire.

There are many reasons why making a movie about atrocities against Americans Indians is difficult."

Get the Story:
Suzan Shown Harjo: Burying the history of Wounded Knee (Indian Country Today 6/15)

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