Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a film based on a book of the same name by Dee Brown. The story is accurate and describes the annihilation of the 1800 American Indian battle that ended at the “Battle of Wounded Knee.” The circumstances in the story bring to focus an eminent atrocity and torture that has never been experienced in the entire history of the United States. The way in which extermination was conducted on one of the American Indians is best described in simple words as “Standing Bear of the Poncas.” For instance, when a bull is to be slaughtered, it is first driven to a corral and then slaughtered.
The film is a non-fiction tale that describes the story of West Americans based on their indigenous population, which is the American Indians. For this reason, Bury emerged as a significant literature scholar because the film was one of the few that supported the Indian cause. The approach he used was successfully brought to light through the use of first-hand accounts, council records, and autobiographies. Each episode in the film emphasizes a specific battle, tribe, or historical event. For instance, Brown took his time and went into explicit and deep details, as manifested in the book, which for this case, is closer to 500 pages.
The audience may get bored up at first glance since the film tends to appear text-book-like. However, this may not be the case since very little information was recognized initially regarding the genocide. In this case, the film is much significant as a learning tool. Additionally, the film includes songs, portraits, and quotes. This is very important in any literature work as quotes, songs, or portraits help in breaking the monotony of each episode. The portraits in the film are real, well placed, and selected as the quotations, and this helps in creating a clear understanding of the particular nature of that historical event.
One of the most significant lessons any viewer or audience can learn from the film and comparable to the class readings is that it helps in opening a door into each individual’s past. In other words, the film helps create a clear picture of the dark side of American history and the duration the white men took to secure a Christian destiny. However, in the film, a white man with few exceptions of the civilians and soldiers is described as an indiscriminate sadist and murderer. They mercilessly tortured and killed the Native Americans irrespective of their sex or age and, in many instances, mutilated and scalped their bodies. The shocking revelations and the bizarre provides the viewer with a horrifying episode of great American history.
In summary, just like any other film of this nature, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee does not lack shortcomings. For instance, the language used by Bury to communicate the message to the viewers appears complex to interpret and may bore the viewers. The film is a description of American history, and therefore, each American must watch it to understand or have a clear picture of some events. However, vocabularies and literature techniques are quite a challenge. Another shortcoming is the repetition of almost every episode. However, it is believed that Brown had his own reasons. This is a clear indication that no matter the place the Indian Americans turned, they were murdered. The point is so powerful and was conveyed in the most appropriate way.
Brown, Dee. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. New York City, Henry Holt and Company, 1970.
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Directed by Yves Simoneau, Wolf Films, 2007.