My Heart is on the Ground: The Diary of Nannie Little Rose, a Sioux Girl
There are two forms of genocide. One is the actual physical obliteration of an entire peoples. Adolph Hitler tried to do this prior to and during World War II when he tried to kill every single Jew in Europe. His isn't the only example, unfortunately, of some government trying to kill everyone of a particular race/tribe/etc.
There is also cultural genocide, which this book is about. The colonists in North America backed by the army gradually drove the Native Americans further and further from the east coast. By trickery, biological warfare (giving Indians smallpox-infected blankets), and by actual physical attack they managed to push the Native Americans further and further west. Not satisfied with this, the government, along with various individuals and religious groups, established schools for Native American children where they were refused to practice their own culture. Instead, emphasis was on doing away with the Native American culture of their various tribes and replacing it with the "superior" and "civilized" culture of the white man.
This is the story of one girl sent to such a school. We see how this program of cultural genocide is carried out and yet how she, through her inner strength, manages to retain her Indian heritage. We see also how many children died in these schools due to disease and the living conditions.
This was not a pretty time in American history, yet the book, along with its historical material, shows us what this was really like and how some Native American children managed, despite all the odds, to survive and become a bridge between the two cultures.
Definitely a book worth reading.
Dear America index page