Depiction of Ponca Tribe in the Fifteenth Chapter of “I Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”

November 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

The Fifteenth Chapter of “I Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” is named “Standing Bear becomes a Person.” Chapter fifteen starts out talking about the Ponca Tribe. In 1804 Lewis and Clark met the friendly Ponca tribe and at that time there were only about two hundred of them due to an outbreak of small pox. Half a century later the Ponca’s were still on the right bank of the Missouri and they were still friendly and ready to trade. They had been raising corn and keep vegetable gardens. They were doing a fine job on their land but year after year the government made false promises to these Indians and eventually were said to be exiled to Indian territories.

Brown mentions Ponca chiefs such as White Eagle, Standing Bear, Big Elk and other chiefs being left stranded by Inspector Kemble because they did not want to live in Indian Territory. They walked for forty days back to their land for five hundred miles with only a few dollars and blankets. In April Kemble returned with threats of bringing in the troops he persuaded 170 members of the tribe to move to Indian Territory but none of the Chiefs would go with him. On May 21st, 1877 soldiers came to the boarder pointing guns and making their children and people cry. They were forced to move in harsh conditions. The weather and sickness started killing off the tribe, along with Standing Bear’s daughter, Prairie Flower.

By the end of their first year in Indian Territory almost one fourth of them had died and received Christian burials. It was after they were set to move again, and Standing Bears eldest son had died, he made his father promise to bury him in their old burying ground. He was then arrested along with all the other runaways who refused to come back to Indian Territory all because they wanted to bury his son. General Crook was the one to capture them but then intervened benefiting them after seeing their harsh conditions and bravery. General Crook eventually helped Standing Bear win a court case giving him the right to stay on his land.

I like this chapter because it shows that after all the mistreatments that the Indians had to ender there was still a little victory at the end for Standing Bear. Brown shows all the horrible things the European Americans, and the United States government put the Indians through and all the treaties and promises they broke but he still shows when they actually do something right. It is a shame that more Americans weren’t like General Crook who saw the good in the Indians. He saw what they had to go through and he saw the crappy conditions they were put through. He knew that no one deserved that especially after hearing why Standing Bear and the other Ponca’s ran away from the Indian Territory. All they wanted to do was grant his son’s last wish before he died. They deserved to stay on their own home lands as well.

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