An excellent account of the life of Red Cloud, the Sioux warrior who took on the American Army in battle and win. This impressive work is an excellent and in my opinion, unbiased account, of the life of northern Native Americans during the age of American manifest destiny.
There are so many modern accounts that downplay the Indian violence, that make it seem as if American settlers senselessly murdered peaceful native tribes in the name of self-righteousness. This book is different. It shows Red Cloud as a mighty and impressive warrior, highly intelligent, and culturally the polar opposite of the enemy he was dealing with. It was highly unlikely that the Native Americans and westward expanding Americans would ever live peaceably, side by side, respecting each others cultures. It simply wasn’t possible. Something would have to give.
Red Cloud hoped the settlers would bypass their hunting lands and leave large swaths of the the middle United States alone for Native Americans following the herds. The President understood that settlers would continue to come by the thousands and saw the writing on the wall. The Native American way of life would come to an end, because the settlers were going to keep coming. Early on it was suggested that Native Americans be taught to farm and given land. Of course, the Native Americans were having none of that – it wasn’t their culture, that was European culture.
What made Red Cloud so amazing was his ability to earn respect among the various tribes and unite them against the United States Army. This was virtually unheard of in Native American culture. And he had many successes. But only one side was going to win, and technologically and by sheer numbers, the Americans had the Natives beat. The Heart of Everything That Is is a wonderful telling of fierceness and cunning of Red Cloud and how he bravely took on the American military machine. Excellent reading!
4 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2013