Essay about Book Review on Custer Died for Your Sins

1285 Words Nov 23rd, 2010 6 Pages
“Indians are like the weather.” With his opening words Vine Deloria Jr. sets up the basis for the rest of his witty yet substantial manifesto, Custer Died for Your Sins. The book, which describes the struggles and misrepresentation of the American Indian people in 1960s American culture, is written in a style that changes from ironic and humorous satire to serious notions, then back again. Through energetic dialogue that engages the reader in a clever and articulate presentation, Deloria advocates the dismissal of old stereotypes and shows a viewpoint that allows the general public to gain a deeper understanding of what it is to be an American Indian. In the first chapter of his manifesto, called Indians Today: The Real and Unreal, …show more content…
You can trust the Communists, the saying went, to be Communists.” Using the leaders of our nation own words, he shows how the government contradicts itself when it has not kept a single of the over four hundred treaties it signed with the Native Americans. Writing, “It would take Russia another century to make and break as many treaties as the United States has already violated,” Deloria uses common knowledge with an ironic touch to get his point across to the average American. Deloria continues his argument against the ill effects of the “friends” of Native Americans in the next four chapters, The Disastrous Policy of Termination, Anthropologists and Other Friends, Missionaries and the Religious Vacuum, and Government Agencies. Each of these chapters covers the different organizations and groups that have tried to help Native Americans but have only extended their prejudice as a result. Whether it was trying to eliminate Indian tribes in an attempt to assimilate, study in an attempt to understand, conversion is an attempt to save, or organization in an attempt to manage, Deloria states that attempts to “help” his people were failures from the get go. Through his unique and, in these sections, somewhat aggressive style, he makes an example out of all the people he believes to have their own self-interests at heart when “helping” the American Indians. At times, this aggression can come out one-sided, but

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