My Wounded-Knee & my Broken-Heart: The Untold Tragedy of the Native American


Map of Native American lands pic

Author’s note:

The infamous Wounded-Knee massacre, in 1890, officially, marked the official end of true Native-American sovereignty, within North America, particularly within the newly expanding United States. This, even though a massacre more than a battle, is historically considered the last armed-conflict of the officially recognized “Indian-Wars” era. This event once and for all broke the backbone of the Native American in a way that suited the interests of the United States, but, dealt a serious blow to the Native people of this continent, particularly within the newly confiscated lands, inducted into the United States (the Western-Frontier/Territories which later became states). This poem is a very short history, of how the Native peoples of the Western-Hemisphere were exploited, some by their own doing, and also by sheer manipulation, military-force by invading European as well as Euro-American entities.


From the time Columbus came here, this pale-face being, with two-tongues, has been trouble.

We were just fine, being isolated from the rest of this World, in our naturally beautiful bubble.


Then, he got lost, on route to India, to land here, and then gave us names that we never gave ourselves.

We showered them with welcome, they showered us with unsheathed blades & bullets from their rifles.


Oh, let’s not forget spreading of smallpox.

Diseases which caused our bodies to rot.


All throughout the Caribbean, the Spanish, Portuguese, turned us into slaves, killing us with labor.

When we couldn’t handle it, they killed us systematically and brought Africans to work via torture.


In what is now Latin-America, people like Cortez, Ponce de Leon, the Pizarro Brothers, took lands.

They left us destitute, we found ourselves begging for basic-necessities, on our knees, opened-hands.


During the American-Revolution, treaties were made, secured alliance with us, to ward-off the British.

They never honored the return of original, native territories; they reneged, after their war was finished.


Andrew Jackson initiated the Indian-Removal Acts…forcing thousands of us to march…

…from Georgia to Oklahoma…to our very deaths…these atrocities were just the start.


During the American Civil-War, we fought for both the Union and Confederate…

…as though either of them had our interests at heart…it was just for their benefit.


The Buffalo-Soldier, the Black-Man, our brothers in the struggle, were vehemently used against us…

…ironic is that they were cotton-pickers, not too long ago, now supporting the oppression of the U.S.


Then, the last-stand, at Wounded-Knee, was the nail in the coffin, for our nation.

The long road of armed-resistance was ended, and we succumbed to decimation.


Then, they forced us upon mass reservations, and modern schools, to receive a Euro-centric cultivation.

They destroyed our ways of life, then, forced their culture upon us, as though they possessed civilization.


They didn’t even give us the right to vote in America, until 1870.

The way they stripped us of everything was low-down and dirty.


We should’ve never welcomed the Pilgrims, we should’ve never sold Manhattan.

Ever since then, they’ve managed to keep us subdued, with our very own hatchet.


We never should have involved ourselves in that Slave trade…

…helping the White-Man keep others in bondage is our shame.


This was our land & they nearly destroyed us, attempting annihilation.

But, we’re still here, we must never give in to unforgivable oppression.


Gareth Bryant/2013

4 responses »

  1. Gareth, I stumbled across your corner of the web here as I was searching for Native poetry. I thought that as a writer you probably have some strong feeling about intellectual property and wouldn’t want other people to steal your poems without giving you any credit. However, the map you are using above this poem is not cited and I don’t think that you created it as I am relatively certain that I have seen it on another cite. That being the case, you should probably credit your source for the map. It may be that its author is another white privileged (probably male) asshole – but it may have been created by a Native American scholar and if so you are adding to the continued oppression of First Americans by not crediting your source and essentially stealing their intellectual property. Thanks for listening – also keep up the good work.

    • Thank you for the insight. However, when looking for maps of Native-American Tribes/Nations, this particular picture had no credit given to it. I just did a Google search, and this was one of the pics that came up. I thought that it would’ve been just a good educational-tool, to indicate the various demographics of Native-Americans whom existed before the onslaught of European-Imperialism within the Western-Hemisphere.

  2. No, you shouldn’t welcome us. Never. We were primitive, then. And unrespectful. And uncurious. I’m so sorry…
    I visited the southwest land, two years ago. It was so beautiful, and wide, and seemed empty. I understand the feeling of my ancestors (wich came from a filled land) that there was a no-one’s-land. But I’ll never justify what they did to you. That was unbearable, even for me, 500, 400, 300, 200 nor 100 years later.
    I’m so sorry. I loved listening a hopi mum speaking navaho to her sons. If I was just able to recover it all for you…
    I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sad.

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