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Colin Calloway has actually done a masterful job of picking and presenting a variety of speeches, letters, files, and drawings that tell compelling stories about the Plain Indians in the 1800’s. His intro alone has simply the best level of details and links standard styles and events to the documents provided in the text. Simply put, a model of how an intro must be done.
Colin Calloway’s intents were to concentrate on the humanistic research study of the Plain Indians views on how the West was lost.
It provides us with the real viewpoints of Indian individuals who lived through those times of symptom and assimilation. From the Lewis and Clark expedition to the structure of railways, he attempts to explain the traumatic changes of the Native Americans during the 19th century. He opens our eyes from what earlier historians whose work appears now dated, choosing to rescue components of their work.
The narratives are divided into fourteen chapters, which supply historic document and secondary essays putting these files within their historical context.
Each chapter unfolds 1 OUR HEARTS FELL TO THE GROUND to reveal the tragedy the Plains Indian had to sustain from the white settlers and their greed for land and prosperity.
From the massacre of whole tribes, the out break of the unseen killer, and the required assimilation through the booking systems were just a couple of explanations for why the Indians numbers decreased in the 1800s. It was not till the middle of the twentieth century that the reality of their suffering revealed up in history books.
Any works prior only depicted the Native American as savages and defiant people, practically to a love climax. Unlike the books in the past, Calloway used tribal customizeds as a way to manifest the actual torture the Plains Indians came across.
The Native Americans were regarded as “people without history”, when in fact the Indians recorded their history by songs, dances, stories, legends, and visual records on buffalo robes known as winter counts. Calloway reveals to the reader the Ways the Native American used the winter counts as a mnemonic device passed from one generation to another marked with pictographs that recorded noteworthy events in tribal life that took place each year. It was these customs that enabled 2 OUR HEARTS FELL TO THE GROUND elders to chronologically pass on their heritage to ensure the survival of their tribe.
Calloway disclosed through speeches of the Native American that they were generally peaceful and friendly people who wanted peace and not war with the white man. Most speeches contained disagreement but acceptance of the white man ways, from the breaking of treaties to the inconceivable slaughter of their buffalo. The American Native hoping to maintain their hold on what little land and culture remained to them tried to accept the ways of their new neighbors.
After reading this book I have a new perspective about the Native American. Unlike before, when I heard the word Indian I thought of them as savages of the Wild West for the most part. I now think of them as intelligent, prideful, and humane people who just wanted to be left alone to live the life they were accustomed to. Bottom line, if it was not for the white settlers forcing their way of life onto the Native Americans, they would not of reacted as they did. The settlers left them no choice!
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