Very few Americans are aware of what truly happened in their history. They may have learned the textbook version of how white European settlers voyaged across the Atlantic to be free from their former governments and begin a new life based on freedom. Americans also probably learned that this country has had its fair share of issues such as slavery, encroaching on Native American lands, racism however there is one history that is severely shadowed by other major issues. The dark history of how the Native Americans were treated is a story not known by most Americans. There are always two sides to every story and unfortunately textbooks created by white American’s paint over this issue and make it seem not nearly as horrific as it was. If one wants to learn what truly happened, one must step aside from the textbook version of the history, and dive into a non-fiction account of what happened. Dee Brown’s, ‘Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee’, is an incredible yet horrifying story showing many accounts from different tribes of what truly happened in Native American history when white settlers encroached on their land. Although the textbook version of Native American history told by white settlers touches on some issues such as manifest destiny, Brown’s portrayal differs significantly as his story shows true accounts of what Native American’s faced from their viewpoint such as countless lies and deceit by the American government, genocide, and ethnic cleansing.
Manifest destiny played a very important role for white settlers and their conquest through America. The term defined is “a policy of imperialism rationalized as inevitable (as if granted by God)” by prinston.edu. This of course was completely irrational but since this country was based on Christian values, manifest destiny was somehow rational to European settlers. European settlers did not have the right to take the Native American’s land however because of manifest destiny they somehow justified taking land that wasn’t theirs. European settlers truly believed that the land between the Atlantic and the Pacific was theirs and not the Native American’s. Their insatiable appetite for precious minerals lead to the mistreat of the Native American’s land which was somehow justified by manifest destiny. It is hard to imagine another human treating another human in this day and age, but it happened not too long ago. Red Cloud, a head chief, once said “The white man was raised over the great waters, and his land is over there.” 1 Red Chief was correct in that his land belonged to the Native American’s and that the white settlers land was over the Atlantic. Native American’s had a sense of sharing but that was because the sense of land ownership was not there until European settlers came. Then Red Cloud went on to say, “Since they crossed the sea, I have given them room. There are now white people all about me. I have but a small spot of land left.” 2 This was the sentiment of all the tribes, however somehow the white settlers justified it.
Even recently, this still seems to occur. Even in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the issue of manifest destiny came up once again. This was just a mere 30 years ago. The United States wanted access to rich deposits of coal in the Hopi and Navaho reservations deep within the four corners. The Navaho resisted such acts of invading their lands which were a result of continuous push backs from white settlers on which this country was founded upon. Congress was in agreement with private companies that wanted these minerals which of course is greed once again. The United States passed the Hopi-Navajo Land Settlement Act of 1974 which divided land between the Hopi and the Navaho. These tribes didn’t have a sense of ownership. The United States government decided to split this land which created a conflict between the Hopi and the Navaho. This brought many hardships to these two tribes in which people were deported from their sacred grounds all