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The Politics of Hallowed Ground: Wounded Knee and the Struggle for Indian Sovereignty Hardcover – January 1, 1999

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Editorial Reviews


"If anyone still questions the continuing perifdy of the United States and state governments in dominating their indigenous citizens, they need only to read The Politics of Hallowed Ground to put such conclusions aside." -- Kathleen Chamberlain, South Dakota History

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (January 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252023544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252023545
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,130,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Recognition of wrongful death more than just an ache in heart
The mission of Native journalists throughout the nation has been to empower our people by telling our stories and retelling our histories from our perspective. That is why it was with a great deal of pleasure and pride, as well as a heart filled with hope, that I closed the cover on the recently released, "The Politics of Hallowed Ground," written by Santee/Yankton Dakota Elizabeth Cook-Lynn and Oglala Lakota attorney Mario Gonzalez. The story's power is in its stark truth. Many truths, historical and contemporary, are revealed. They lay bare a history that, although it is hurtful, also paves the way to empower tribal people to fight for the future. Cook-Lynn, professor emerita of English of Eastern Washington University, is herself a renowned poet, essayist, fiction writer and founding editor of the Wicazo Sa Review, and Gonzalez, the attorney general of the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, join forces as a forceful team tol address many historical and contemporary issues facing our Sioux nations. Daily diaries kept by Gonzalez provide a backdrop for this tale of historical, social, legal and political injustices the people have suffered. Gonzalez was the lead attorney who initiated a civil action in U.S. District Court on July 18, 1980, that enjoined and prevented the federal government from "paying" out the June 30, 1980, Supreme Court award to the Oglala Sioux Tribe for the theft of the Black Hills. Payment would have extinguished Lakota/Dakota title to the Black Hills. He also drafted the proposed Bradley and Martinez bills that would have established a framework for the Lakota/Dakota tribes to get Congress to provide a solution for the Black Hills land claim.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rosalie M. Robertson on November 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
What first strikes this reader is the very frank and engrossing personal narrative, as well as the description of the on-going political struggle of the Sioux in their battle for the return of the Black Hills in South Dakota. The diary entries of lawyer Mario Gonzales and the commentaries of Elizabeth Cook-Lynn gave me an opportunity to re-think important events in Sioux and American history over the past century (including Custer and the Little Big Horn, the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890, and others). The authors also show very clearly how these linked histories continue to influence the actions of individuals (white or Indian) and governments today. Cook-Lynn is especially deft at evaluating the political, economic,and racial motivations of the various stakeholders, from the factions within different Sioux tribes, the governors and congressmen, federal agencies, to the white landowners. The centerpiece of the book is the fight by the Sioux for the return of the Black Hills (preserved for the tribes by treaty in 1868), as well as the related fight for a monument to the Sioux massacred by government troups at Wounded Knee. But as the story unfolds, it became a means for me to understand the treaty rights and sovereign rights of not just the Sioux but other Indian nations in this country. Gonzales relates details of the legal battles and community struggles, and shows an amazing persistence and courage in his pursuit of justice for the Sioux. I hope that other readers come away from this book with as strong a sense as I did: of our need to resolve these ethical and legal dilemmas by recognition of Indian treaty rights and sovereignty. I'm grateful to the authors for their frank discussions of the real difficulties inherent in this task, and for outlining the rewards to all of us if they succeed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By allison hedge coke on May 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Wonderful workings of writing the whole truth. A must have, must read, must distribute widely!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The scholarship that went into this book is simply outstanding. Most Americans are vaguely aware that the U.S. Government signed many treaties with Native peoples and that the U.S. Government violated many of these treaties, however, very few are aware of the content of these treaties and how, specifically they were violated by acts of the Congress and even the acts of military personnel and private individuals. This book does a wonderfull job telling the story of the Lakota people's experiences with the U.S. government and how their lives and culture were hurt by malintended behavior of the U.S. government. The book also explains the historical consequences of the ill treatment of Native people as it affected their ability to govern themselves and improve their condition. The seeds for the intratribal conflicts, political corruption and counterproductive behavior of some Native peoples were sewn by their treatment over time by the U.S. government and the racism that was fostered by official government policies. This book is also about courage, integrity and extraordinary perseverance exemplified by the many selfless acts of Mario Gonzalez on behalf of his people in the face of extraordinary odds as he fought over more than 10 years using mostly his own assets, to get an official apology from the U.S. government for the Wounded Knee Massacre and establish a national monument and park at the Wounded Knee site. He is a man you would want as your attorney and your friend.
Dwight F. Davis, Ph.D. and high school classmate of Mario Gonzalez
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