indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Native American Bank - Native people investing in Native communities
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Review: Book denies genocide was behind the 'Epic' Indian wars

Filed Under: Arts & Entertainment
More on: books, genocide, massacres, peter cozzens, treaties, wars
     
   

Remains of Lakota men, women and children who were massacred at Wounded Knee in South Dakota on December 29, 1890, are buried in a mass grave in January 1891. Image from Library of Congress

In a new book, The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West, military historian Peter Cozzens argues that genocide did not motivate the federal government's wars against the Indian nations. But the picture a reader comes away with is just as "disheartening," professor Douglas Brinkley observes in a review:
Seldom does a nonfiction book pack the cultural wallop that Dee Brown’s “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” did in 1970. Just months before its publication a group of Native American activists calling themselves Indians of All Tribes had occupied Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, demanding that the former prison outpost be deeded back to them by the United States government. So when Brown — a white novelist and historian from Arkansas with a degree in library science — published his searing account of westward expansion, accusing the Army of annihilating Indians between 1860 and 1890, his timing was explosive. While Brown’s book contained factual errors, it dramatically succeeded in changing the attitudes of the Vietnam War generation about how the West was really won.

Now, 46 years later, the military historian Peter Cozzens counters Brown with “The Earth Is Weeping” — a largely chronological march with an Army viewpoint of the same era, a work reminiscent in scope and approach to James McPherson’s “Battle Cry of Freedom” (about the Civil War). Cozzens is determined to debunk the main thrust of Brown’s one-sided book — that the government’s response to the so-called “Indian problem” was genocide. He documents a string of gratuitous massacres of Native Americans, much to be deeply regretted, but insists that official Washington never contemplated genocide. “It is at once ironic and unique,” Cozzens declares, contra Brown, “that so crucial a period of our history remains largely defined by a work that made no attempt at historical balance.”

Balance is what Cozzens is seeking in this detailed recounting of random carnage, bodies burned, treaties broken and treachery let loose across the land. Although the book is not a seamless narrative, and its writing is sometimes stodgy, Cozzens admirably succeeds in framing the Indian Wars with acute historical accuracy. Whether discussing the chaotic Battle of Washita in present-day Oklahoma or Custer’s skirmishes with Sitting Bull’s Lakota coalition or the surrender of Chief Joseph of the Nez Percé, Cozzens demonstrates vast knowledge of American military history.

His picture is disheartening. During Reconstruction numerous Native Americans from the East were assigned to Western reservations under the watch of the Army. Inebriated rank-and-file soldiers routinely disobeyed orders and sometimes burned down Indian villages. The Civil War generals William T. Sherman and Philip Sheridan, tasked with overseeing Indian affairs, come off as fierce conquer-at-all-cost leaders, morality be damned, as their troops ferociously battled against recalcitrant Arapaho, Comanche, Cheyenne and Kiowa tribes.

Read More on the Story:
Review by Douglas Brinkley: Unbury My Heart at Wounded Knee: A New Look at the Indian Wars (The New York Times 11/13)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Appeals court hears slew of Indian cases amid focus on nominee (3/23)
Internal tribal disputes continue to trip up federal court system (3/23)
Mark Trahant: Indian health care gains ignored in political debate (3/23)
Native Sun News Today: Young fighters maintain Lakota tradition (3/23)
Ivan Star Comes Out: America loses its self-respect and humanity (3/23)
Rosalyn LaPier: Why water remains sacred to indigenous peoples (3/23)
Winona LaDuke: North Dakota spreads filth about water protectors (3/23)
Harold Monteau: Tribal governments are abusing their own people (3/23)
Alex Jacobs: Donald Trump in middle of the 'deep state civil war' (3/23)
Secretary Zinke announces 'doggy days' for Interior Department (3/23)
Keystone XL Pipeline route crosses Ponca Tribe's forced removal (3/23)
Indian lawmaker resigns after being charged for child prostitution (3/23)
Pinoleville Pomo Nation buys site of long-delayed casino project (3/23)
High court pick acknowledges poor treatment of 'sovereign' tribes (3/22)
Dakota Access submits another status update entirely under seal (3/22)
Court allows claim for alleged underpayment in Cobell settlement (3/22)
South Dakota tribes continue to extend Class III gaming compacts (3/22)
Cowlitz Tribe secures approval to offer liquor as casino debut nears (3/22)
Native Sun News Today: Community project continues at Pine Ridge (3/22)
Cronkite News: Copper mine on sacred site complains about delays (3/22)
Mary Annette Pember: Awareness for missing and murdered sisters (3/22)
Stacy Pratt: Visiting the gravesite of Andrew Jackson in Tennessee (3/22)
Murder charge filed for fatal shooting of Navajo Nation police officer (3/22)
Muckleshoot Tribe still seeking answers for fatal shooting by officer (3/22)
Hopland Band submits claim for county raid of marijuana operation (3/22)
Chukchansi Tribe sued for $21M by gaming development company (3/22)
Seminole Tribe accused of breaking contract with outlet at casino (3/22)
Indian Child Welfare Act survives attack from conservative groups (3/21)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules hearing on diabetes (3/21)
Ponca Tribe hosts 282-mile walk to retrace trail of forced removal (3/21)
National Indian Gaming Association honors Native casting director (3/21)
Native Sun News Today: Whiteclay liquor sales up for review again (3/21)
James Giago Davies: It's time to take a trip to the Great Upstairs (3/21)
Smith and Wakefield: Obamacare repeal is bad for Indian Country (3/21)
Steve Russell: Domestic status of Indian nations invented in 1831 (3/21)
Steven Newcomb: Pope Francis must address domination legacy (3/21)
Tulalip Tribes install 1st leadership board with women in majority (3/21)
Osage Nation passes referendum to legalize same-sex marriage (3/21)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe returns to court to seek federal recognition (3/21)
Lawmakers pushing for federal recognition of six tribes in Virginia (3/21)
Cowlitz Tribe casino seen as impacting lottery revenues in Oregon (3/21)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.