PowWows.com Forums - Native American Culture

PowWows.com Forums - Native American Culture (http://forums.powwows.com/)
-   Native Issues (http://forums.powwows.com/f26/)
-   -   "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" - the movie (http://forums.powwows.com/f26/bury-my-heart-wounded-knee-movie-37595/)

Historian 02-24-2007 03:01 AM

"Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" - the movie
Here we go again...:rolleyes:

This is what I know so far.

"Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"

Coming to HBO, May 2007

The 2.5 hour television film is an adaptation of author Dee Brown's book from 1971, "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West."

The dramatization starts with the Lakota victory over General Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn and ends with the Massacre at Wounded Knee. Along the way, it intertwines the perspectives of three characters:

Charles Eastman (played by Adam Beach), a Dartmouth-educated Sioux doctor, held up as living proof of the alleged success of assimilation.

Sitting Bull (played by August Schellenberg), the Lakota leader who refuses to submit to U.S. Government policies designed to strip his people of their identity, their dignity and their land.

Senator Henry Dawes (played by Aidan Quinn), who was one of the architects of the U.S. Government Policy on Indian affairs.

While Charles Eastman (Adam Beach) and schoolteacher Elaine Goodale (Anna Paquin) work to improve life for the Indians on the reservation, Senator Dawes (Aidan Quinn) lobbies President Grant (Fred Dalton Thompson) for more humane treatment, opposing the stance of General William Tecumseh Sherman (Colm Feore). Hope rises for the Indians in the form of the prophet Wovoka (Wes Studi) and the Ghost Dance - a messianic movement that promises an end of their suffering under the white man. This hope is obliterated after the assassination of Sitting Bull (August Schellenberg) and the massacre of hundreds of Indian men, women and children by the 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee Creek on 29 December 1890.

{adapted from: http://www.hbo.com/films/news/index.html }

Coyot_In_The_House 02-26-2007 02:28 PM

I enjoyed reading that book many moons ago....
Matter of fact I recommended it to a student 2 weeks ago.

A few students from the school here are extras in the Movie..Cool! I call one of em Wounded Knee...LOL!

Joe G 02-26-2007 04:12 PM

Ditto^^^ it was/still is a good book...

Historian 04-28-2007 12:58 AM

"Wounded Knee's" Adam Beach discusses working on this HBO Films event movie, which premieres May 27th at 9:00pm EST / 8:00pm CST.


HBO: What were your initial thoughts about Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee?

Adam Beach: I knew coming into the project that obviously this story needs to be told from the perspective of how the [U.S.] government was involved in trying to take the lands of the Indians and resettle them on these reservation systems. But also show the struggles that Indian people have with just standing up for their sovereign right as peoples. And the importance of showing this is just enormous. We need to tell this story.

HBO: What has the shoot been like so far?

Adam Beach: Well, HBO hasn't put a limit on anything. They want the best. Today I was doing a scene where I've given up, I've lost my soul, my spirit. And what (director) Yves (Simoneau) did was he had me do it like nine different times. He had me do a version where I'm letting go, a version where I'm angry, sad, because he wanted to find the right moment. I've never worked with anybody who does that.

Usually, a director has an interpretation of what they think, but here Yves wanted to really search and use me as a tool of emotion. We were all exploring together, finding that deep value of really interpreting the truth behind this story.

HBO: What were your first impressions about your character?

Adam Beach: Well, I play Charles Eastman. And the first thing I did was hire a voice coach who could help me with the details of this era, 'cause man, that was the toughest thing for me, was just to explore that world of being a distinguished Victorian gentleman, and walking and talking a certain way. And the way they saw things, their values, how they wore their clothes. There were so many details. So that was really exciting learning about all that.

I learned that Charles Eastman was a product of assimilation by the government. He did succeed in becoming an educated man, but what he came to realize is that if you lose your culture and traditions, you lose your identity not only as an Indian, but as a part of society. He learned that in the end it didn't matter how educated he was if he was not helping his people. It didn't matter at all. And in the story you see how much he loses of himself because there's nothing he can do to help his people move forward when there's a government pushing them and killing them off.

HBO: What do you think the government was trying to accomplish through assimilation, and what do you think actually happened?

Adam Beach: The idea was to help motivate the Indian people by molding them into becoming part of white society. But what they didn't realize is that you can't get rid of the Indian. You can't take away their identity to make them a part of another society. And that's where the conflict was: they didn't realize that as Indian people, they already embodied a tradition that connected to Mother Earth and there was a spiritual guidance; everything was already laid down in stone. The Indians didn't want to change. So there was this idea being forced onto a people that had been living this valued life for generations. And that's where it went wrong. The government didn't want to understand the lifestyle and culture and traditions of the Indian.

HBO: And the legacy of this assimilation has had a lasting impact on American Indian peoples to this day, hasn't it?

Adam Beach: Absolutely. One of the things I want people to understand with this film is that the tragedy of Indian people across North America still exists. You know, everybody wonders why we are the way we are today. There's so much that comes from this story. I want people to understand how in the late 1800s, the government and the churches established residential schools, boarding schools to rid the Indian, to bring them into society, and to destroy their culture and tradition.

And if you can imagine people trying to tell you being Indian is bad, is wrong - your culture, your tradition is dealing with the devil. It affects my generation, why is my world so much more of a struggle? It's because after a hundred years of this manipulation of 'you're not a good person,' it really affects us.

Our generation is starting to understand that we have to rid ourselves of this subconscious mentality that you're a bad person. That's gonna take time. But I've come to understand where the pain comes from in living on a reservation, at being corralled onto a little piece of land. A lot of the generation that I speak for now are just starting to come out of it, to say, we are proud, we are a strong people. We have traditions that could teach the world how to relate with Mother Earth, how to relate with themselves, to the animals, to plants, to a stone, to the trees. I could go on.

HBO: How did your own personal experiences feed into your work on this role?

Adam Beach: Charles Eastman has to see a lot of his people die. And for me, when I was eight years old, my mother was hit by a drunk driver and she was eight months pregnant and she died in front of my house in a ditch. And then two months later, my dad, he drowned. He was drinking a lot and under medication for depression.

And after those two experiences, I've had to grow up with this loss. Once you lose your parents, you get this numbness, this feeling of having to really be able to connect yourself with someone. I depended on my brothers for that connection, but to have that feeling of being taken care of...I lost it when my parents passed away.

So with Charles Eastman having to see his people die, there's an easy connection with having to hold in all those feeling of loss. And the thing I want people to learn with Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, is that this incident is just one of many. They chose "Wounded Knee" as the story to tell, but this has happened throughout history with many different tribes across North America. And I hope people understand that these stories have to be told truthfully from a perspective where you get to feel what these people have gone through.

HBO: Tell us about the American Indian community today, and your involvement with it.

Adam Beach: One of the things I've come to understand is that I'm a role model for my people. For the past ten years, I've been going to schools and talking to kids, and just motivating them to understand that we can succeed in our hopes and dreams if we really work hard. I think what we have now is definitely a stronger unity amongst all Indian peoples in North America. We're coming together. But I think our ultimate strength is to be rid of this mentality that we cannot succeed.

When I was sixteen I started acting, and I also started to embrace my tradition and culture. I had a young medicine man interpret for me what it is to be an Indian. He really caught me at a good time because I was really vulnerable after the loss of my parents with all of the feelings of abandonment. I went in a bad direction.

And when two of these opportunities came to me--finding out who I was as a native person, but also redirecting it with the hope of becoming a good actor, it really broke a mold. I've learned that for Indian people, the opportunity for us to succeed is very slim. So acting was a great tool for that. And in the process of learning about my culture, I've learned how to connect myself again to my ancestors. I've been doing that since I was sixteen, and I'm thirty-four now.

So now I've come to understand that we, as a people, have a lot to share with the world. And I continue to teach people what I've learned. I go to South Dakota for ceremonies when I have the time. And when you learn what the Indian peoples have gone through to hold onto their culture and traditions...wow, it's an amazing story.

for more info., go to:

Wakopataki 04-28-2007 03:55 PM

This is a book that I freely buy and give People who want to know the truth as to what happened.
A friend, who is White, has just started the book that I bought for him. He said he never knew this side of the story, and said that it has touched him, because of the suffering that he is now reading about. He went on to say, that it was hard to read, as it was depressing. It's to teach him a different perspective, than just the one he was taught.

I really hope the movie is great and does a good job!

It's long over due, but at least it's here now!

TsiyaGeyaWillis 04-29-2007 07:59 PM

"Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"
Ayv first received my book "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" by soqua of my uncles. Ayv have always treasured that book ale others, that Dee Brown did. Definately a osda book to recommend.

Historian 05-21-2007 11:11 PM

The Hollywood Reporter
By Barry Garron
22 May 2007

Review of:
"Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"

9:00p.m. - 11:15 p.m. EST, Sunday, 27 May 2007 on HBO

Bottom Line:
Compelling storytelling that unearths truth and bold historic drama.

History is told by the winners, at least for the first several drafts. Eventually, as demonstrated here, it's possible for passions to cool down sufficiently so that even the winners can confront a shameful chapter in their history, in this case America's treatment of Indians in general and the Lakota Sioux in particular.

"Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," stunningly filmed and honestly told, is based on the 1971 book by Dee Alexander Brown, a nonfiction account of the final years of conflict between the U.S. and the American Indians it sought to displace by any means necessary.

The challenge for screenwriter Daniel Giat was to breathe life into Brown's thorough documentation. In this case, it meant weaving the most salient historic points into a compelling story about the lives of three men: well-intentioned Sen. Henry Dawes (Aidan Quinn), proud and defiant Sitting Bull (August Schellenberg) and Charles Eastman (Adam Beach), a Sioux Indian raised and taught by white people who lives in a sort of no-man's land.

The film opens with the massacre of Gen. Custer at Little Big Horn, Mont., in 1876. Actually, the first scenes are just before the massacre, when Custer's men led an attack on the Sioux, killing men, women and children with little or no provocation. The ensuing massacre -- Custer's Last Stand -- also was the last stand of the Sioux, who were no match for the superior firepower of the U.S. Army. Unable to defend their land from encroaching settlers and government policy, they suffered indignity after indignity.

Sen. Dawes sympathized with the plight of the Sioux. While many would have been happy to see the tribes eradicated, Dawes thought they could be assimilated into American society, the way European immigrants blended in the American melting pot. The Sioux were forced to attend church and adapt white customs -- all of which was, ironically, an enlightened view at the time. Dawes proposed cultural genocide instead of actual genocide, though in practice, he could prevent neither.

Sitting Bull, faced with a Hobson's choice of surrender or death, held out as long as he could. Eastman, meanwhile, was plucked from the tribe as a boy to become an example of what the Indian could achieve with formal education. No longer Sioux and never white, he becomes a permanent outsider, though his sympathies remain with his tribe.

Quinn, Beach and Schellenberg are flawless. Schellenberg, in particular, makes his expressive face a window into Sitting Bull's soul. Director Yves Simoneau brings a subtle eye to the story, imparting immense amounts of historical detail without making it feel like a lecture. He paints with colors that reflect the barren plains, the looming gray clouds and the bleak future of the Sioux.

Increasingly, our source for historical information has shifted from the library to the TV set. That makes "Wounded Knee" valuable not just for its compelling storytelling but for its unswerving candor.

A Wolf Films/Traveler's Rest Films production

Executive producers: Dick Wolf, Tom Thayer
Co-executive producer/director: Yves Simoneau
Producer: Clara George
Teleplay: Daniel Giat
Based on the book by: Dee Alexander Brown
Director of photography: David Franco
Production designer: Ian Thomas
Editors: Michael Ornstein, Michael Brown
Music: George S. Clinton
Costume designer: Mario Davignon
Set decorator: Paul Healy
Casting: Rene Haynes

Henry Dawes: Aidan Quinn
Charles Eastman: Adam Beach
Sitting Bull: August Schellenberg
Gen. Sherman: Colm Feore
McLaughlin: J.K. Simmons
Wovoka: Wes Studi
President Grant: Fred Thompson
Elaine Goodale: Anna Paquin
Red Cloud: Gordon Tootoosis

Taken from:

ok24stacey 05-21-2007 11:56 PM

I'm looking forward to seeing the movie. I really like Dee Brown and hope the movie stands up. Good cast, we'll see.....

Historian 05-25-2007 08:34 AM

Dick Wolf and HBO offer historically compelling look at Wounded Knee
by Tom Jicha
South Florida Sun-Sentinal - 24 May 2007

Dick Wolf is no one-trick pony. The guiding force behind Law & Order steps smartly into the long-form arena as an executive producer of HBO's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and delivers an historically compelling and visually magnificent production, which moves and enthralls.

Dee Brown's best-selling non-fiction work on the unconscionable treatment of American Indians in the late 19th century has been in the public consciousness since its publication 36 years ago and has been optioned to Hollywood several times. But something always kept the project from fruition.

Wolf, who read the book shortly after its publication, said he jumped at the opportunity to become involved when he found out the rights were available again. "We went to HBO and it was fast-tracked from there."

The story is fact-based, but it is not entirely true to Brown's book. For dramatic shorthand, a real-life figure from the period, Charles Eastman, was inserted into the narrative by scriptwriter Daniel Giat. "Everyone felt very strongly that we needed a white character or a part white/part Indian character to carry a contemporary, mostly white, audience through this project," Giat said. "I happened upon the story of Charles Eastman, who was of the Santee Sioux. The Santee were at Little Big Horn, related to the Lakota Sioux. He was adopted by the so-called Friends of the Indian and educated."

After graduating from Dartmouth and Boston University Medical School, Eastman returned to the frontier and became the doctor at the Pine Ridge Reservation. "Ultimately, he felt tremendously betrayed by the whites," Giat said. The white man's repeated betrayal of the Indians is the thread woven throughout.

Adam Beach, an Ojibwa Indian, offers a nuanced portrayal of the conflicted Eastman, who is tortured that his close relationships with the white man is a betrayal of his heritage.

Aidan Quinn, as U.S. Senator Henry Dawes, is one of two other central characters who drive the story, which covers the period between the slaughter of Gen. Custer and his men at the Little Big Horn and the cold-blooded massacre by the U.S. cavalry of Indian men, women and children at Wounded Knee. Dawes is a dedicated advocate of enlightened treatment of Indians, which is not a popular position in the Washington of his day.

Dawes and Eastman are confronted by a savvy negotiating adversary in Sitting Bull, the Lakota chief who steadfastly refuses to surrender his tribe's land in the gold-laden Black Hills. Sitting Bull, a show-stealing portrayal by August Schellenberg, learns more from the white man's duplicitous ways than they learn from his honor. If there's a flaw in the characterization, it's that Sitting Bull sounds more like a regular on contemporary talking head shows than a 19th century Indian.

Interestingly, Law & Order's Fred Thompson, a former senator who is playing coy about his personal presidential aspirations, plays President Ulysses S. Grant.

Whether it is intentional or not, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee strikes many contemporary chords. The U.S. government is seen as a bully, not well liked by the rest of the world. It is contended that the real reason for wanting to vanquish the Indians is to steal their gold. Politicians argue that they must bring the Indians around to our ways "to ensure their survival ... there's no saving them until we convince them to give up their way of life." The term "cut and run" even finds its way into 19th century Washington conversation.

This is not reason to watch. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee stands on its own as a sterling history lesson and an engrossing western.

ndngirl70 05-25-2007 10:21 AM

Dang...I wish I had HBO

NCheyGirl21 05-25-2007 01:35 PM

I wish I had HBO too but I don't. I hope it comes out on DVD someday.

Mud_Woman 05-25-2007 01:59 PM


Originally Posted by NCheyGirl21 (Post 929597)
I wish I had HBO too but I don't. I hope it comes out on DVD someday.

I'm sure it will. 'Dreamkeeper' came out on DVD six months later.

I wont be at home this wkend. BearDance Celebration in Ignacio, Colorado.

A co-worker of mine is going to record it for me. If he does, I can send a copy to you if you want. (NCheyGirl21 and ndngirl70)

Historian 05-25-2007 05:04 PM

Reservations About 'Wounded Knee'
Dee Brown’s epic history makes it to the screen, but some say the title is all that survived.
Web-Exclusive Commentary
By Jim Moscou
Newsweek - 25 May 2007

Somewhere inside the U.S. Interior Department in Washington, D.C., a trust account with $600 million in the name of the Lakota, or Sioux, Indians has been sitting uncollected for more than 30 years. Considering the living conditions of the Sioux, it is hard to believe the money has not been tapped. The tribe, spread out among a group of reservations in the Northern Plains, is home to six of the 10 poorest counties in the nation. Unemployment, mortality rates and social ills resemble the worst conditions in the poorest developing countries.

This Sunday, HBO premiers an original film that explains why this struggling but proud tribe would shun such an enormous sum. The film, “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” is a two-hour drama based on the 1970 best-selling book of the same name by historian Dee Brown. That sweeping narrative explained how the United States government in the late 19th century systematically destroyed Indian culture, if not the tribes themselves. It was a campaign that today would be called ethnic cleansing. A definitive account of the era, “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” sold more than 5 million copies, was translated into 17 languages and inspired a generation of scholars to study Native American issues.

For Brown’s family (he died in 2002 at the age of 94, just as the deal with HBO was sealed), the airing of “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” should mark the culmination of a three-decade quest to see this great historical work on the screen. “It’s really nice that it happened, and I think it’s a good story,” says Linda Brown, the author’s daughter and one of three family members who oversee Brown’s estate. “But I don’t think it’s ‘Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.’ [My father] always believed that it was the title they were actually interested in and not the story. And I think that’s what happened. They bought the title.”

It is an ironic charge. After all, HBO has enjoyed great success in shepherding nonfiction work such as “Band of Brothers” to the screen. But the liberties the network took with Brown’s story do lend credence to Linda Brown’s opinion that a renowned book has been reduced to a title, a tool to corral viewers.

Dick Wolf, the co-executive producer of the film who acquired the rights to the book six years ago, defends the movie, saying, “’Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee’ is, first of all, a great title. Secondly, there is a large group of people that, even if they had not read the book, they have that cultural knowledge of it, that it was an important book. And for the hopefully millions that have read it over it the past 36 years … they will like to see how the book was translated.”

To be sure, translating Brown’s story line would have been an immense undertaking. For 40 years, a continuous, low-intensity conflict raged between the U.S. government and native tribes, including the Cheyenne, Modocs, Comanches, Kiowas and Apaches. Chapter by chapter, tribe by tribe, Brown brilliantly, meticulously whittled through their stories to show how the government aimed to “assimilate” each tribe onto reservations (dead or alive). Unfortunately, HBO cast Brown’s story line aside and focused solely on the saga of the Sioux, a sliver of the book’s content.

The film opens with a cinematically stunning version of the bloody 1876 Sioux and Cheyenne routing of Lt. Col. George Custer at Little Big Horn, where 263 soldiers were killed. In the midst of that slaughter, we meet 12-year-old né Ohiyesa, a young Sioux later forced into the white man’s world by his father, who years earlier converted to Christianity and has returned to show his son the “white man’s road.” Compelled to take a Christian name, young né Ohiyesa becomes Charles Eastman, a legendary Sioux (played brilliantly by Adam Beach) who would attend Dartmouth College, become a doctor, fall in love with a white woman and be embraced by the white community as a symbol of assimilation.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, Sen. Henry Dawes (Aidan Quinn) aims to “save” the nomadic tribe by moving them to reservations where they can learn to live the white way, i.e., schools, churches, farming. Those resisting are hunted down and killed. The last chief to surrender is the legendary Sitting Bull, skillfully depicted by August Schellenberg.

The noose tightens on the Sioux when gold is discovered in the Black Hills—a region considered their most sacred land and given to the tribe as part of an 1868 treaty. Senator Dawes redraws the reservations so homesteaders can mine the territory. By mid-December 1890, the tension leads to the killing of Sitting Bull. Two weeks later, on Dec. 29 at the Pine Ridge Reservation, nearly 300 men, women and children are killed at Wounded Knee Creek. History marked the slaughter as the last major “battle” of the war. Meanwhile, Eastman, who has returned to the Sioux reservation, struggles as his white and Indian worlds collide—a theme that resonates profoundly in Indian culture to this day.

The screenplay, by Daniel Giat (whose credits include HBO’s acclaimed “Path to War”), smartly focuses on the psychological warfare used by the government to shatter the Sioux spirit (“We have always feared your guns least,” Chief Red Cloud tells a soldier after the Wounded Knee massacre). The result is one of the most devastating and provocative Westerns ever filmed and a fascinating treatment of the final days of America’s Indian wars, in which were planted the seeds of modern-day Indian plight. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly true.

We expect nonfiction films to condense events, but does that mean that we must swallow historical errors along the way? HBO executive Sam Martin lauds the film’s success in “getting it right.” Executive producer Wolf claims it is “absolutely accurate” and faithful to Brown and the Sioux. But that is not the case. The most glaring fiction concerns Eastman. The film’s pivotal character, he never appears in Brown’s epic. Moreover, Eastman was never at Little Big Horn. And scenes placing Eastman with Sitting Bull, as Sitting Bull rejects the new reservation plan by Senator Dawes, never happened. In fact, Eastman’s film incarnation feels like a gratuitous bridge for a white audience into the Indian world, which is, frankly, insulting to the Sioux, Brown and even white people. Giat argues that “there is a greater truth to be told [that] we couldn’t get across without taking some dramatic license. The fact is, if Dee Brown had written a book about the Lakota Sioux, there would have been a great deal in there about Dr. Charles Eastman.” That is a point that likely will be lost on the millions who respect Dee Brown’s fastidiousness, let alone the Sioux history.

“I think there is enough drama in the book and the actual events,” says Nicolas Proctor, Brown’s grandson and an associate professor of history at Iowa’s Simpson College. “I don’t think you really need to take artistic license to make this story evocative or heart rending.” Responds Wolf: “The methodology that was used I’m totally unapologetic about. I don’t think it could have been done any other way. It had to be entertaining and hold an audience.”

The movie is getting a mixed reception from the Sioux. One tribal official said, “It was made by a white man, for the white man. And the white man will make money off it. Not us.” Jacqueline Jones, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, an advocacy group for Native American tribes, sees a more salutary outcome. “They were writing a movie that sells, that the public would be compelled to watch,” she says. “We have a really hard time having the public engage in Indian-country issues. Nobody wants to focus on the core problems. And this movie does show where those issues came from.”

Arguably, anything that draws attention to the plight of the contemporary Sioux is not without merit—even a movie with accuracy issues—because contemporary Indian problems are nothing short of dire, particularly at the Pine Ridge Reservation, home to the second poorest county in the nation (Shannon County, S.D. is entirely in Pine Ridge). Unemployment hovers at 80 percent, and 95 percent of the population lives below the poverty level. The suicide rate is four times the national average, and infant mortality five times. The life expectancy for males is 47 years.

Clearly, $600 million would help. At the end of the film, viewers learn that in 1980 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government violated its 1868 treaty with the Sioux when it took their sacred Black Hills. The Sioux are due compensation, a figure set at $600 million (Sioux officials say the number is closer to $800 million today). “We will never accept the money,” says Edgar Bear Runner, tribal historic preservation officer. “We’re the poorest of the poor tribes. But we will never accept that money. We want our land back.”

NCheyGirl21 05-25-2007 09:46 PM


Originally Posted by Mud_Woman (Post 929612)
I'm sure it will. 'Dreamkeeper' came out on DVD six months later.

I wont be at home this wkend. BearDance Celebration in Ignacio, Colorado.

A co-worker of mine is going to record it for me. If he does, I can send a copy to you if you want. (NCheyGirl21 and ndngirl70)

That would be great. Whenever you get the chance too! :smile:

Historian 05-26-2007 03:00 PM

'Wounded Knee' tells a harsh truth
By Mike Duffy, TV Critic
Detroit Free Press - 26 May 2007

There's nothing pretty about history, which so often leaves behind a bloody trail of painful regret and shame.

And though it may have faded into the past, there's really no forgetting a bitter cultural tragedy like America's brutal mistreatment of the American Indian.

That dark, harrowing chapter of our shared history is traced with sorrowful artistry in "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee." The bleak, haunting historical docudrama, based on author Dee Brown's epic, groundbreaking 1971 nonfiction best-seller, premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday on HBO.

And if you're looking for movies with happy endings, look elsewhere.

Narrowing the American Indian focus of Brown's sweeping book, "Bury My Heart" vividly explores the U.S. government's agonizing subjugation and forced relocation of the Sioux people to a life of confining hardscrabble reservations.

The somberly compelling film, episodically told and evocatively directed by Yves Simoneau ("The 4400") from an excellent script by Dianel Giat (HBO's "Path to War"), opens with the Sioux's victorious humiliation of General George Custer at Little Big Horn in 1876. It climaxes in anguish with the killing of Sitting Bull and the soul-crushing massacre of hundreds of Lakota Sioux men, women and children by the 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee Creek on Dec. 29, 1890.

In its contemplative, understated way, the film offers a memorable portrait of tragically bruised humanity by interweaving the stories of three pivotal characters: Charles Eastman (Adam Beach, "Flags of Our Fathers"), an idealistic young Dartmouth-educated doctor who became an embittered, heartbroken symbol of successful assimilation; Sitting Bull (August Schellenberg, "The New World"), the proudly defiant Lakota chief who resisted the U.S. government's spirit-trampling policies; and Sen. Henry Dawes (Aidan Quinn), a well-intentioned if stubbornly self-righteous architect of the government's Indian affairs policy.

But it is Beach's traumatic personal crucible as Charles Eastman that serves as the film's emotional anchor.

Growing up in the Dakotas as a Sioux youth named Ohiyesa, he is present at Little Big Horn when Custer's troops are defeated. But he's soon shipped eastward by his father, who has forsaken the old Sioux ways and instructs his son, "The Earth belongs to the white man. There is no future outside (their) world. You must go. You must go."

Reluctantly, Ohiyesa is forced to have his Indian braids chopped off and adopt a Christian name, Charles Eastman. He will eventually return to his people, hoping to help improve their lives, practicing medicine on the Pine Ridge reservation.

But disillusionment is not far behind, with Eastman's eventual angry realization that misguided U.S. policies are in fact designed to deny Indians their dignity, identity and sacred lands.

Tragedy doesn't permit silver linings. And you won't find them in "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," where painful American Indian history is shown its proper, truthful respect. Doing it straight, no sentimental chaser.

little wolf 05-29-2007 07:51 AM

Wow! I watched it 3 times and I taped too...I'm glad that I saw this thread in time.. Other wise I would not have known about it! Thanks historian! The movie mad me sad and cry and angry at the same time...

ndngirl70 05-29-2007 09:52 AM


Originally Posted by Mud_Woman (Post 929612)
A co-worker of mine is going to record it for me. If he does, I can send a copy to you if you want. (NCheyGirl21 and ndngirl70)

That would be great. Thanks!

Coyot_In_The_House 05-31-2007 12:47 PM

Geez...Don't wnat 2 b negative....
The Movie was weak! Other then seeing some people I know....I was not into it? We got a kick out of it though....Purty corny....

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:09 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1
Copyright 2006, PowWows.com, LLC