Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007 TV Movie)
Charles Eastman: My dear Senator Dawes, as I believed you sincere in asking me to keep you informed, I write you again in an appeal for your assistance. With no medical equipment here worthy of the name and understocked in medicines, there has been little reason for the sick to risk the journey to the agency for treatment. I bought a horse and a wagon with my own salary and have just now returned from the several weeks in the villages. It is a mistake to trust the official reports. Measles, influenza and whooping cough have ascended from hell all at once. My own assistant's child has been taken. The agent here, Royer, has no experience and even less inclination to help these people. Of equal concern is the epidemic of hopelessness that has overtaken the reservation. That the Sioux would bear the wretched taste of cod-liver oil for the ounce of spirits contained in the bottle is, to me, the whole of their experience in a nutshell. I no longer deny them. Many here fear a return to the old ways. The prophesy of a Paiute shaman called Wovoka has spread from tribe to tribe faster than a telegraph signal, rekindling old superstitions among the Sioux and old apprehensions among the whites who are sure to mistake desperation for hostility. As conditions worsen, the church can provide little solace beyond a Christian burial. Sincerely yours, Charles Eastman.
Sitting Bull: You must take them out of our lands.
Col. Nelson Miles: What precisely are your lands?
Sitting Bull: These are the where my people lived before you whites first came.
Col. Nelson Miles: I don't understand. We whites were not your first enemies. Why don't you demand back the land in Minnesota where the Chippewa and others forced you from years before?
Sitting Bull: The Black Hills are a sacred given to my people by Wakan Tanka.
Col. Nelson Miles: How very convenient to cloak your claims in spiritualism. And what would you say to the Mormons and others who believe that their God has given to them Indian lands in the West?
Sitting Bull: I would say they should listen to Wakan Tanka.
Col. Nelson Miles: No matter what your legends say, you didn't sprout from the plains like the spring grasses. And you didn't coalesce out of the ether. You came out of the Minnesota woodlands armed to the teeth and set upon your fellow man. You massacred the Kiowa, the Omaha, the Ponca, the Oto and the Pawnee without mercy. And yet you claim the Black Hills as a private preserve bequeathed to you by the Great Spirit.
Sitting Bull: And who gave us the guns and powder to kill our enemies? And who traded weapons to the Chippewa and others who drove us from our home?
Col. Nelson Miles: Chief Sitting Bull, the proposition that you were a peaceable people before the appearance of the white man is the most fanciful legend of all. You were killing each other for hundreds of moons before the first white stepped foot on this continent. You conquered those tribes, lusting for their game and their lands, just as we have now conquered you for no less noble a cause.
Sitting Bull: This is your story of my people!
Col. Nelson Miles: This is the truth, not legend. Crazy Horse has surrendered... with his entire band. And by his surrender, he says to you and your people that you are defeated. And by ceding the Black Hills to us, so say Red Cloud and the other chiefs, who demand that you end this war and take your place on the reservation.
Sitting Bull: Red Cloud is no longer a chief. He is a woman you have mounted and had your way with. Do not speak to me of Red Cloud!
Wovoka AKA Jack Wilson: A vision came to me when the sun went into shadow, and I lay dying. And in my death, I saw the Heavens of the white robes. And yes, it is as they describe it. But also there, my children, all the Indians that ever roamed this earth, all your beloved ancestors, and mine, and those young ones who were taken by the white man's diseases. Do not grieve for them. They want you to know that they are happy. Yes. And you should not grieve for yourselves, because here is what the white robes did not tell you- the white man, my children, will soon be no more. Now you must not hate the white man. This will onlydelay his end. But if you will do the dance that I will teach you, all the ancestors will return. And the buffalo will be renewed. And you shall all live forever. Forever in the freedom that we as Indian people once knew.
Sitting Bull: Hear me, then for one last time. They mean to take our land away from us. You may say, "They wish to give us land. This patch to you, this patch to you." But here is the truth - each patch is for a man and all generations that follow him. And they know that this land cannot feed but one generation, not even so much as that.
McLaughlin: All right, you've had your say.
Gall: Do not interrupt.
Sitting Bull: You teach our children the words of your God, "Be fruitful and multiply." But it seems these words are not meant for the Indian. For what kind of man would take a wife and have children he cannot feed? No Indian man. Not a Lakota, not an Arikara, not a Crow. You would have us cut off our balls and end our race right here on a patch of land on which nothing can live, and that will not happen! I have spoken.
Henry Dawes: We did not put you on this land. Red Cloud surrendered - he made peace with the government. Have you forgotten the bloodshed that came before?
Chief Red Cloud: Sitting Bull is a great leader. I believe this, no matter that the whites see us men all as the same. But he did not sit with us in the council those many snows ago when our reservation was made. He did not sit with us in the next council when these borders that we were told were like marks in stone were moved. And the Black Hills and our hunting lands were taken from us. Sitting Bull might have had his say, but such was his suspicion of the whites, such was his pride. I say today for all ears within hearing that if Sitting Bull had spoken the way he speaks today, I would not have touched that pen. I will not touch your pen to your paper. I will not touch it to your red paper, I will not touch it to your black paper. The white man will not see my mark again on his paper for the rest of my days on this earth.
Charles Eastman: And now you speak of coercion. I don't understand.
Henry Dawes: If we don't put that land into the hands of individual Indians in five years- less-homesteaders and ranchers will demand it all... for nothing. The Indian must own his own piece of earth, Charles.
Charles Eastman: Did you know that there is no word in the Sioux language for that, sir?
Henry Dawes: For what?
Charles Eastman: To "own the earth." Not in any native language.
Henry Dawes: Well, then perhaps you should invent one.
Gall: There were no early crops. Now there will be no late crops. Does it seem to you that our coffee rations are smaller?
Sitting Bull: Why do you tell lies about my part in the fight at the Little Bighorn?
Gall: It was Agent McLaughlin. You angered him. He made me say these things against you.
Sitting Bull: How can this be? All our lives, we were like brothers, sharing meat when we had it. When we had no meat, and when food was but a day's ride to an agency, we could not be made to take from the whites!
Gall: I will go and speak straight and set things right.
Sitting Bull: These words cannot be put back. I have said all I have to say.
Gall: My brother, listen to me. Many would have taken from the whites for all those years, but they did not because you did not. I did not because you did not. Before you came, I was Big Man here. But now you've come and you do nothing. You sit and tell stories while I work my fields. You go with Cody, you write your name on a piece of paper and you take money - money that I must sweat for. I do not understand why you feel so honored by these things. I do not understand why you've come, because to me you are Sitting Bull, our leader who would never surrender. That is all I have to say.
Henry Dawes: We cannot allow a return to incivility.
Charles Eastman: Incivility? And what has civility earned them, might I ask? Trained nurses? Even one hospital?
Henry Dawes: All things the Sioux will provide for themselves, Charles, once this plan has passed. As you yourself agreed - they must adapt.
Charles Eastman: Must they adapt, sir, to the point of their own extermination?
Henry Dawes: Extermination? I suppose you say we've exterminated your Indian heritage rather than provided to you the benefits of an entire civilization?
Charles Eastman: Senator, please sit. Sir, if every individual were taken personally under your care, as was my good fortune, I admit, the outcome might be what you seek. But I am not the example you held up to The Friends of the Indian. I am the example of nothing. I simply do not see how placing each Indian man on a desolate, 160-acre parcel of land is going to lead his children to medical school.
Henry Dawes: It will, in time. But first, this must pass. Or I guarantee you, destitution is all the Sioux will ever know. I have many opponents, Charles, in the press, in Congress...
Charles Eastman: You have an opponent before you, sir.
Charles Eastman: I am acting in the interest of my people, following the example you set for me.
Henry Dawes: Do you really think you know better than I what is in the interest of these people?
Charles Eastman: Yes. I am one of them, Senator.
Henry Dawes: You're no more a Sioux Indian than I am.
Charles Eastman: I won't do this!
Elaine Goodale: Charles?
Charles Eastman: Should have jumped.
Elaine Goodale: What?
Charles Eastman: Should have jumped from the train. Might have got off, might have got off, yes, that's what I would have done. I would have walked till I reached the Red River which I would have followed to the North Woods. That's how I will find By the Red River. By the Red River.
General Sherman: [after Custer and his men are massacred at the Battle of the Little Bighorn] The man was a fuckin' idiot. Splits his forces? Daylight raid, high noon?
Henry Dawes: An idiot, perhaps, but he had his orders, Mr. President. Drive the Sioux out of the Black Hills onto the ration rolls, so we could get to that damn gold. The Sioux resisted.
General Sherman: Resisted? Bullshit!
Henry Dawes: They *resisted*, General Sherman.
President Ulysses S. Grant: Blocking a roundhouse to the chin is "resistance", Henry. Massacring five companies of cavalry...
Henry Dawes: I am not defending their brutality, Mr. President. The Sioux resisted because by the '68 treaty, this land is theirs, and we had no legal...
General Sherman: That treaty was also only supposed to feed them for four years. And yet here we are, eight years later, and you Senators are passing a million-a-year appropriation to keep filling their bellies. Why?
Henry Dawes: To keep them from starving, General.
President Ulysses S. Grant: And that's all it's done. Made them beggars. Hasn't advanced them one bit. Those smart enough not to sign...
General Sherman: Do this!
Henry Dawes: They were attacked by us first.
General Sherman: [chuckles] And what would you have us do, Dawes? Cut and run?
Henry Dawes: Mr. President, this is a senseless argument.
General Sherman: A senseless argument? Do you know what they did to those men on that hill? They did things even I've never seen before.
Colonel James Forsyth: [to Charles Eastman, after the massacre at Wounded Knee Creek] We didn't fire first! I swear to Almighty God, we did not fire first.
Chief Red Cloud: Blue coat... you whites use many weapons against us. Do not have such a bad heart about it. We have always feared your guns the least.