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on July 26, 2012
This is an emotionally provocative book about the plight of the North American Indian as they were systemically and forcefully driven from their homeland by the plague of white settlers that cut down the old growth forests, over harvested the game the Indians relied on for food, clothing, religion and cultural purposes; damned and over fished the rivers and stole, bought or hoodwinked their Native land through deceptive treaties and unkept promises.

It is a story told through a series of speeches by Indians in reaction to the deceptive practices the English, French and later the American Government used to seize Native lands; some are by famous Indians like Geronimo, Sitting Bull and Red Cloud and many are by lesser known Indians; but all powerfully present the anguish of a proud, culturally rich people that were subdued by disease and superior technology until their numbers were reduced from the millions to remnant bands, many numbering only a few dozen.

I was struck by the layout of the speeches; some only one sentence long, others more in depth, all smart and to the point, that showed a proud people becoming resentful, then hopeful that the treaties will be honored, then submissive, pleading to the Great Father (either in England or the U.S. President) for justice, to finally acceptance that their land, their culture, their future as a race, their ancient burial grounds and the game and great herds of bison and the bountiful rivers that sustained their people for countless generations were all forever gone.

This is a story that sheds another not so honorable light on some of the heroes of American history like George Custer and General Crook and most Presidents; showing the insidious side of a Nation that at the front door is proud of individual liberties and freedoms for its immigrant occupants and at the back door ruthlessly and methodically treating Native Americans as non-entities, non-persons, whose rights were not protected under the U.S. Constitution.

To any and all Native Americans I want to say I am so very sorry this egregious injustice was pronounced on such a peaceful, honest and trustworthy people, by immigrants that you initially befriended and without your assistance would have perished their first year on this continent.
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on August 14, 2014
This book takes the reader from 1609 to 1969/1970 contemporary writers/spokesmen for the Native Americans. This book is a compilation of "speeches" (many are paragraphs) from the Native American people which is very valuable. The Native American people speak about their times and the history involved with them during the over 300 years. It is a history and many times poignant. I have referred to this book many times, regarding their place in time/ history and their reflections upon their situations. The book has a Bibliography, a Note sections and Index, covering the 17th century to the 20th century. I highly recommend this book.
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on December 23, 2003
This is one of those books that you find laying somewhere burried in the back of the library perhaps covered in dust that has been long forgotten! Nevertheless, this is a little gem of a read! The main reason why I liked it so much was because of the eloquent creative and heartfelt ways in which the Native Americans conveyed all their messages. So genuine, trusting, and true were their words and not conjured up by money or greed.
Thie book Just might have even Americans of today looking at themselves and questioning our seemingly prevailing atrtitudes that "we are the best" and that "more" and "bigger is better"... It will have the reader questioning a Government's activity towards national expansion in the name of freedom, while opressing many others at the very same time. These "others", who, the reader will learn, actually taught settlers how to survive in the new frontier.
Among other reasons I liked this book is that it made me look at myself and learen something in how I live. "I Have Spoken" had me looking at our current lifestyles that we so embrace as "having it so good", as perhaps the total opposite, and that perhaps it is we, the people of today, who struggle more to survive in this convenient lifestyle, more so than ever did the native peoples to sustain their lifestyle!
As many at the time in history which this book covers, looked at Native Americans as "inferior", the reader will learn why many Native Americans began to look at the settlers as inferior. This is a refreshing change of opinions we may have been used to hearing in history, and a welcomed one at that!
Through the many eloquently expressed words of Native Americans the reader will guess that they they viewed our lifestyle as somewhat being "enslaved" by adopting and living in such a system that has us "working for..and oweing money" to be able to sustain ourselves and lifestyle. They recognized a stressful life in this resulting in menatal and physical sickness of which was virtually non-existent in their lives.
This book is a really thought provoking read and at least for me, has left me looking around at all so called "progress" in our culture and questioning whether it is really progress at all if it destroys the very gifts nature "God" or "The Great Spirit" has bestowed upon us to make ALL life possible.
I strongly suggest this read to anybody, especially those who seek to not see the world as something we "own" and can see that this notion is really the root of all humankind conflict with each other.
Another final thought this book inspired in me was perhaps looking at history through the eyes of other cultures around the world, and seeing how they came to be, so we shall better understand each other and accept each other's customs without forcing them to live and think as we do. Maybe this can go a long way in preventing conflicts with other nations. Read the book "I Have Spoken" and this review will then come into perspective for anyone who is reading it now!
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on June 13, 2001
We used this text at the University of Minnesota back in 1971 for a Native American History course. The book voices treaty interpretation and words used by Tribal representatives. I won't use the word "Chief's" because the Government did'nt always get the real leadership to sign treaties. But, we noted a lack of aggressive language at the beginning of colonization (east coast), but by the time we read text from treaties from the Plains Natives the verbage used more aggressive and warlike themes. Sum it up! Indians found the need to be aggressive and began to use words to voice their frustrations with negotiations with Government respresentatives.
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VINE VOICEon April 17, 2015
If you are more than 21 years old and living in America, you can't be unaware that this country once belonged to a number of Indian nations, who were dispossessed of their lands and often massacred or done to death indirectly. While our school books seldom refer to these events as "genocide", it was pretty damn
close, even if there was no overall plan. It was done anyway. The native Americans alternately fought or tried to deal with the white interlopers, but were overwhelmed by numbers, technology, and disease. But they have not disappeared. Hopefully, at least some of those nations will hang on and eventually come back to pride and sovereignty. It has been done many times in history.

The question is: did they go down like innocents? Did they never realize what they were up against? What kind of people were they? This collection of speeches and statements by Indian leaders and people will put you right. They knew. They saw full well that the whites would overwhelm them, they tried to reason with them, sometimes spoke defiantly, they always spoke eloquently. Since everything is translated from a large number of Indian languages, we don't really know how good the translation was....especially since many of the speeches were 150 or more years ago. There are a number of great black and white pictures of Indians of many times and places, tragic pictures of massacres too. If they fought back, well, who wouldn't?

The only problem with this book is the following; it's a collection of speeches, one after the other, with common themes. It is a testament to the feelings of the Indians, their frustration with white double-dealing etc. It is not a book that you can sit down and read from cover to cover unless you really want the WHOLE thing, because many speeches resemble one another or are mere fragments of longer speeches whose context we don't know. That's why I have given this book only three stars. It's not a readable book, it is a book of evidence, it is a book you can use for reference. If you want to know what the Indians felt about dealing with the White Man, here you are.
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on July 20, 2001
Any "red blooded" American citizen would surely have a "red face" from embarrassment after reading the compilation of words and speeches from original settlers of our beloved country in "I Have Spoken, American History Through the Voices of the Indians." From those documents so meticulously collected by Virginia Irving Armstrong and introduced in this book for all to read, one concludes that even here in America, an atrocious holocaust took place.
The book tells the truth. It will make you mad. It will make you sad. You will feel ashamed to belong to the culture that was responsible for the near extinction of the once prosperous, peaceful people who just wanted to live life as they had been taught by their ancesters. Simple and earth loving.
"I Have Spoken" should be offered in every school as a learning tool on an important aspect of our American history. We made a mistake. We cannot bring them back, but we can read aloud what they said and feel their spirits.
The photos that were included in the June, 1971 and August, 1972 editions are sadly not included in the most recent copies for sale now. It's more of an impact to see their faces as well as read their words. I hope subsequent issues will reincorporate those photos, especially of the ones of the Wounded Knee massacre. "...I will fight no more forever." Chief Joseph, Nez Perce nation, 1877.
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