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IN-PERSON EVENT: FEB 20 David Treuer

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee

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Time & Location





This is an in-person event only. No livestream available.

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the PresentContemporary Race Relations and American Violence

In an insightful examination of the ways American Indian people exist in this country in relation to its past, to other ethnic groups, and in the modern imagination, David Treuer paints an expansive picture of America's deep history and current socio-political landscape.

The received idea of Native American history—as promulgated by books like Dee Brown's mega-bestselling 1970 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee—has been that American Indian history essentially ended with the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee. Not only did one hundred fifty Sioux die at the hands of the U. S. Cavalry, the sense was, but Native civilization did as well.  Growing up Ojibwe on a reservation in Minnesota, training as an anthropologist, and researching Native life past and present for his nonfiction and novels, David Treuer has uncovered a different narrative. Because they did not disappear—and not despite but rather because of their intense struggles to preserve their language, their traditions, their families, and their very existence—the story of American Indians since the end of the nineteenth century to the present is one of unprecedented resourcefulness and reinvention.  In The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Treuer melds history with reportage and memoir. Tracing the tribes' distinctive cultures from first contact, he explores how the depredations of each era spawned new modes of survival. The devastating seizures of land gave rise to increasingly sophisticated legal and political maneuvering that put the lie to the myth that Indians don't know or care about property. The forced assimilation of their children at government-run boarding schools incubated a unifying Native identity. Conscription in the US military and the pull of urban life brought Indians into the mainstream and modern times, even as it steered the emerging shape of self-rule and spawned a new generation of resistance. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is the essential, intimate story of a resilient people in a transformative era.

David Treuer

David Treuer is Ojibwe from the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. He grew up on Leech Lake and left to attend Princeton University where he worked with Paul Muldoon, Joanna Scott, and Toni Morrison. He published his first novel, LITTLE, when he was twenty-four. Treuer is the recipient of the Pushcart Prize, and his work has been named an editor's pick by the Washington Post, Time Out, and City Pages. His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Esquire,, and The Washington Post.

He also earned his PhD in anthropology and teaches literature and creative writing at The University of Southern California. He divides his time between LA and The Leech Lake Reservation.

Moderator Paige Baker

Prior to retiring three years ago, Paige Baker served nearly four decades in various capacities throughout the US including the Council of Energy Resources Tribes (CERT), Bureau of Indian Affairs, NDSU, the National Park Service in Arizona and South Dakota, and Baker Consulting, his father and son energy consulting business. Paige is an enrolled member of Three Affiliated Tribes of Forth Berthold Reservation and of Mandan/Hidatsa culture. He holds degrees from University of Mary and a doctoral degree from Pennsylvania State University. Paige is excited to join the Humanities North Dakota board. He is looking forward to exploring new ideas, inclusivity, encouraging dialogue, and education opportunities. Paige is a committed and passionate lifelong learner.

HND Disclaimer and Value Statement

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this {article, book, exhibition, film, program, database, report, Web resource}, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Humanities North Dakota.

However, in an increasingly polarized world, we at Humanities North Dakota believe that being open-minded is necessary to thinking critically and rationally.

Therefore, our programs and classes reflect our own open-mindedness in the inquiry, seeking, and acquiring of scholars to speak at our events and teach classes for our Public University.

To that end, we encourage our participants to join us in stepping outside our comfort zones and considering other perspectives and ideas by being open-minded while attending HND events featuring scholars who hold a variety of opinions, some being opposite of our own held beliefs.

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