Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007) Movie Script

There is an Indian proverb...
"It is easy to be brave...
from a distance.
Easy, and often quite safe. "
Once there was
no honor in killing...
only necessity.
Honor came
with true courage.
But that day...
is long gone.
go with the others!
I said, go!
The man was a fucking idiot.
Splits his forces,
daylight raid, high noon.
An idiot, perhaps,
but he had his orders,
Mr. President.
"Drive the Sioux
out of the Black Hills,
onto the ration rolls... "
so that we could get
to that damn gold.
The Sioux resisted.
Resisted? Bullshit.
They resisted,
General Sherman.
Blocking a roundhouse
to the chin is resistance, Henry.
five companies of cavalry-
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-
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.
To keep them
from starving, General.
And that's all it's done-
made them beggars.
Hasn't advanced them one bit.
- And those smart enough not to sign-
- Do this.
They were attacked
by us first.
And what would you have us do,
Dawes? Cut and run?
Mr. President, this is
a senseless argument.
A senseless argument?
You know what they did
to those men on that hill?
They did things even I've
never seen before.
The survival of the Indian
is your deepest concern, isn't that so?
You know it is.
I thought it was yours.
And it still is.
I appointed an Indian
to the head of Indian Affairs,
I'll remind you.
Another decision that your
colleagues were so fond of.
And another damn knot in the noose
of this administration.
Along with a three-year depression
and a bankrupt treasury.
This isn't about money, gentlemen,
this is about human beings.
And when you make an agreement,
you have a solemn obligation
- to fulfill-
- In spite of this atrocity...
I still believe that setting the Indians
on the course to civilization
best ensures their survival.
Now, do you or do you not agree?
Yes, sir. I do.
Then you can't deny
that there's no saving the Sioux
unless we compel them
to give up their way of life
and settle
on the reservation.
I'll say it till
my tongue bleeds-
If we're ever going to claim
what we bought from the French
and whooped
the Mexicans for,
it's going to mean
killing Indians.
Your father.
Did you win
this feather?
In the fight
at the Little Bighorn.
300 of us were to be hanged.
I killed two whites, but
the Great Father Lincoln saved me.
He sent me to prison
where my heart was made free.
- Free?
- Yes.
Because I have learned
there is another road
that runs beside
the warpath.
A secret road...
only known
to the Christ worshippers.
And you came back,
to make us Christ worshippers?
No. I have come
for my son.
O Lord, grant us the wisdom
and strength
to come to a peaceful accord
with our red brothers
here with us today-
Great Chief
of the Oglala Sioux, Red Cloud,
his head men-
Young Man
Afraid of His Horses,
American Horse, and others.
We beseech you,
O Lord,
in the name of Your son
and our savior Jesus Christ.
- Amen.
- Amen.
I want to know to which god
the White Robe is praying.
The same god whom you deceived
when you made treaty with us
and broke it?
We come to you once again
to negotiate for your rights to the
Black Hills and your old hunting ground.
I am speaking, or has my medicine
made us invisible to you?
If so, you will not notice
when I lead my people out of here,
back to our lands.
I would like to know how many
of Red Cloud's young bucks
were at the Little Bighorn
with Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.
Those men were hunting,
as the agent permitted.
Indeed they were hunting.
They were hunting
for white scalps.
I am a friend of the Great Father,
President Grant.
And I want to tell you,
he did not wish
for there to be war
between us again.
The Great Father
is the chief of all your people,
chosen by them.
Did he not order
those soldiers to attack?
Yes, it was
the Great Father's order.
But it did not come
from his heart.
Then I don't understand
how you whites do things.
And now you will place
a paper before us that says,
"Give the Black Hills
and your old hunting lands to us
or we will
no longer feed you,
and we will kill Sitting Bull
and all those who continue to fight. "
- Is that not so?
- All right.
Red Cloud has had his say.
This new agreement...
will ensure
your continued support
and a new home at an agency
to be known... as Pine Ridge.
We no longer wish
your support.
We wish to hunt
on the lands
which the treaty
said we may keep.
Only as long as the game abounds.
The game is scarce now.
Because of your hunting
for amusement.
The paper you signed
allows for us to lay rail.
You agreed to this
when you touched the pen.
I touched the pen
because I wanted peace.
For the past eight snows,
my people have been living
like the poorest of whites.
Where are the fine things
you promised?
The kind you lavish on us when you
want our mark on your paper?
Chief Red Cloud,
did you or did you not
sign the paper
and advise your people
to do the same?
Am I invisible now?
I am speaking to you.
Colonel Miles, enough.
I will speak straight to you
because these are the words
of the Great Father
and his people.
You must touch pen
to this paper,
or you and your people
will perish.
Bear Coat.
They say he was fearless
in the whites' big war
against themselves.
Bear Coat was a friend
of Longhair Custer.
He comes for revenge.
Sitting Bull
requested this council.
We await his words.
Take your soldiers
out of here-
- they scare the game away.
- Very well, sir.
Tell me then, how far away
should I take my men?
You must take them
out of our lands.
What precisely
are your lands?
These are the lands
where my people lived
before you whites first came.
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?
The Black Hills
are a sacred land
given to my people
by Wakan Tanka.
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?
I would say they should listen
to Wakan Tanka.
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.
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?
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.
This is your story
of my people!
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.
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!
I suppose you
are the only chief then?
Sitting Bull is king
of all the Indians.
Ah, humility.
It's one of the four virtues
of a Sioux chief.
Sitting Bull
shows his true nature now.
I have had my say with you.
And I have had my say
with you.
Then we will have a fight.
So be it.
prepare to fire a volley.
shoulder arms!
Fire at will.
Artillery, reload.
Infantry, prepare to fire.
And fire!
Front line, reload!
Fire. Fire.
Front line, reload!
Close ranks!
Fires are cold, sir.
They left hours ago.
- Burn it all.
- Yes, sir.
Burn it all down-
Get a torch over here.
I don't want to see one tepee standing.
Who can give me the names
of the last four presidents?
I would call on you,
but it must be
by a white name.
Have you chosen one
from your book?
No, missus.
Shall I choose one for you?
No, missus.
Raise your hand
only if you can name all four.
If just one student
can name all four,
I will dismiss you early.
Morning, sir.
Major Walsh,
Northwest Mounted Police.
People of Canada
have heard of your victory
over the soldiers in Montana.
Queen Victoria believes
the American government
is to blame for this trouble.
So you and your people...
you're welcome here.
I know the Grandmother's heart
for the red man.
Now they will learn on the reservation
that we are safe.
And Crazy Horse will come.
- And many more.
- Crazy Horse?
He was the war chief with you
at the Little Bighorn Valley?
He was made to surrender,
but that life is not worth living.
No, apparently not, sir.
Crazy Horse is dead.
He resisted while they were
locking him up for some trouble.
If others join you,
they're welcome here.
But you cannot use our land as a base
from which to attack the United States.
Nor can you make raids on other tribes
here or interfere with their hunting.
If you do, I'll have to bring
our own soldiers,
and force you all to leave.
Now, we've brought you
some food and supplies.
You'll find buffalo in the valleys
to the north and to the east.
I suggest you do your hunting now and
take as much meat and skins as you can.
It's not like the Dakota here.
Our winters can be harsh.
Tomorrow, we will review
fractions and verbs.
Don't forget your homework.
You have been chosen
from all the children on the settlement.
This woman has come to take you
to a new school in Illinois.
If you study as hard there
as you did here, child,
you will go on to college
and study even further.
And learn the trade
of the white man.
I don't want to go.
Excuse me.
The earth belongs
to the white man.
There is no future
outside his world.
You must go.
You must go.
Everything will be fine.
The Indian today is civilized
only in the most elemental sense.
His race wears civilized clothes,
live in wood houses.
They send their children
to schools.
We have reached the point
where the Indian problem
should be no different
than the Irish problem
or the German problem.
Like them, the Indian
has been absorbed.
But, unlike them,
he has not yet
been assimilated.
This can only come
when he is educated
to so high a plane
of thought and aspiration
as to render his former
savage way of life
intolerable to him.
Ladies and gentlemen,
on a late June day in 1876,
the young man
I'm about to present to you
was nearly killed
by Arikara scouts
attached to the Seventh Cavalry
of General
George Armstrong Custer.
Yes, I am referring
to the Battle of Little Bighorn.
Once destined for death
at the hands of enemy tribes
or U.S. soldiers,
he has flourished
as a recipient of The Friends
of the Indian scholarship.
From Dartmouth College,
where he is soon to graduate,
he will, with your
continued support,
matriculate at Boston University
Medical School.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I present to you,
Ohiyesa of the Sioux,
and Mr. Charles Eastman
of the United States of America.
A Lakota proverb.
It means...
"Tell me,
and I will listen.
Show me,
and I will understand.
Take me in,
and I will learn. "
Elaine. Mrs. Goodale,
and her daughter Elaine,
neighbors of mine
from Massachusetts.
- Senator Dawes.
- Lovely to see you.
- Pleased to meet you.
- Hello.
Delighted to meet you.
Besides being a student
of Lakota,
Elaine is also a published
poetess, Charles.
- Ohiyesa?
- It means "Winner. "
I won the name in the pony races.
And, where did "Charles"
come from?
Eastman is my mother's name.
Her father was a white-
don't tell
The Friends of the Indian.
And "Charles"?
I was in school one day
and the teacher was mistaken
about something-
The name of the chief
of my Sioux tribe.
- She called him "Spotted Bear. "
- Chief Spotted Bear...
So, I raised my hand because...
I felt it was a dishonor
to the chief
to misspeak his name.
But she wouldn't call on me,
because I hadn't taken
a white name.
I just couldn't do it.
And I remember her words
as if it were moments ago...
Chief Spotted Bear
could have saved his people.
But he chose war instead.
"Missus," I cried...
I believe you are mistaken.
And she turned to me...
How shall I address you?
the children are waiting.
"Charles," I replied.
Yes, Charles,
what is it
you would like to say?
"Excuse me, missus,
I am certain... "
I am certain the name of this chief
was Little Crow.
"Little Crow. "
I believe you are right,
His name was Little Crow.
Thank you...
"Thank you...
Charles. "
And he did not want war.
"He did not...
want war. "
And this is how
I came to be called...
I'm sorry.
Did I upset you?
I'm all right.
It's all right.
She's not getting any better.
You must talk to him.
- Our daughter's getting worse.
- Bring her to me.
The cures have not worked.
We need to go back home.
You cannot leave.
If you leave,
others will follow.
If you tell the people they must stay,
they will stay.
That's what I'm telling you.
You must stay.
Morning, sir.
These Crow are from the camp
on the Poplar River.
They say they've seen your men
on their hunting ground.
Crow are liars
and they hate us.
They've always hated the Sioux.
They are liars!
There's another problem.
They're missing horses.
And they say it's your men who raided
their camp two nights ago.
I must ask that you allow them
to look in your corral.
Sir, I must report this.
And when I return next, it may be with
men to take you back across the border.
Who stole these ponies?
Who would see us die like slaves
on the reservation?
You will see
how I deal with this thing.
- Please, don't do this.
- You must know that I did not know.
We cannot be sent back.
these men will fight
if they are stopped.
I can't let that happen.
Then leave... brother.
I won't stop you.
Elaine Goodale
was up the other day
to meet the Commissioner
of Indian Affairs.
She made quite an impression,
as you'd expect.
But I'm afraid you're gonna
have to outdo even her.
That would be impossible.
young woman.
And quite an ally
in our cause.
She completes
her teacher's training
and she'll be on the Sioux reservation
within months.
I know, sir, we've been
corresponding for some time.
Have you?
Have you indeed?
All right, let us begin.
Northern boundary
of the new Pine Ridge Reservation,
south fork of the Cheyenne River...
downstream to the mouth
of Battle Creek.
The Indian
must have full citizenship
and a deed in his hands
like any white man.
Assimilation, Charles,
or extinction.
Gentlemen, the plan we put before you
for the Sioux
will be a model for Indians
from the Pequot in Connecticut
to the Pomo in California.
Now, step one is the division
of Sioux land
into six distinct reservations...
Pine Ridge, Rosebud,
Cheyenne River,
Standing Rock, Crow Creek...
And then, due west
to the 102nd meridian.
Step two is the division
of each new reservation
into individual tracts.
160 acres to each man-
to farm, to feed his family,
to market his crops,
to earn a living.
Step three- thus apportioned,
excess lands will be sold
to white settlers.
The Sioux and the white man-
partners in business,
And with white settlement
of central Dakota, what follows?
The railroads, gentlemen.
Straight through
from Pierre to Rapid City,
rail service to the Black Hills mines.
at long last,
the Northern Pacific
will see completion.
The Sioux will travel,
be exposed to white society,
and be influenced by it
as I was.
And finally, statehood
for the Dakotas,
governance, business.
With your vote on this bill,
America will be built.
- Mr. Naylor of West Virginia.
- Nay.
- Mr. Allison of West Virginia.
- Aye.
All gentlemen accounted for.
The bill has passed.
Charles- Charles...
- Congratulations, sir.
- We did it. We did it.
This could never have happened
without your help.
Thank you.
Thank you, my boy.
These are the borders
of your reservation,
as set out in the Black Hills
Agreement of 1876.
Now once each parcel
is assigned,
you will have a great deal
of unused land.
When this land was first set aside,
you could not have sold that
for 10 cents an acre.
the Great Council in Washington
has authorized me
to offer you
50 cents an acre.
Those excess lands
will yield you
$5 and a half million.
$5 and a half million that will go
right into your pocket
as these lands are sold to whites.
Your map does not show the land
we would be giving back to you.
This area in red.
Now this offer
is only possible
because the Dakota Southern
would be able to lay rail
south of the Cheyenne River
into the Black Hills mines.
So you admit this land has no value
except to lay iron through?
No, I do not admit that.
These are not my words.
Chief Red Cloud?
I would like to know
what Chief Red Cloud has to say.
Do you believe this proposal
is in the best interest-
Every man is a chief here.
You wanted it so.
We do not need
to hear his words.
How will this money be paid?
For every acre of land
the government sells,
- the money is yours.
- The money is not ours, then,
until you sell the land
you have taken that is ours.
This land is not to farm.
This land is to graze,
and we do not eat grass.
If we are to take this chance
that the whites may be foolish enough
to make their home here,
then you must get us more
of this money that we may never see.
Come back
when you have done this.
Have you any notion
the efforts I have expended
on your behalf?
Do you have any idea?
I can't simply come back!
There'll be a new Congress.
A new Congress may not
authorize any offer at all.
hear my voice today.
Sitting Bull is a great leader
of the Lakota.
There is no greater.
Thank you
for letting us go, Father.
Keep me in your prayers.
It arrived.
What is this?
Father, I'm a policeman.
Where's the person in charge?
I'll see him now.
I'll take you to him.
He's here, sir.
Yes, I know.
Good day, sir.
I'm James McLaughlin,
agent here at Standing Rock.
Let it be known that I,
Tatanka lyotaka, Sitting Bull,
was the last chief
to give up his rifle.
the Great Father
has sent me a letter
saying that if I came in,
I would be Big Chief
of this agency,
that you would build me
a fine house on a stream.
Do not give me ration tickets-
I will not touch them.
I will take all supplies
for all my people
and hand them out myself.
I will not put in crops.
Those things
that grow in the ground
my people and I
will gather wild,
as we always have.
Is this all
you wish to say, sir?
I have said all the words
I wish to say... for now.
I see.
First of all, the Great Father
sent no such letter to you.
You will not be a Big Chief,
a Medium-Sized Chief,
nor any sort of chief.
Here, you will be the same
as any other man.
That is to say, you will be given
materials and loaned men
to build a cabin.
You will have
a horse and wagon.
If you do not put in crops, you
will live on your bimonthly rations,
and if you do not accept
ration tickets,
you and your family
will either be beggars
or you will starve.
My clerk will add you
to the rolls.
And those are all
the words I wish to say.
Good day, sir.
Beans, one blanket.
Flour, one shawl,
"Pawnee Killer. "
"Crow Killer. "
One blanket,
a suit of clothes,
Use your flour ration, Chief.
You'll fill it out
soon enough.
Coffee, two blankets, matches.
"Little Feather. "
One coat-
Sitting Bull.
Tatanka lyotaka,
they're calling your name.
Sitting Bull.
Never mind, moving on.
I'll accept his issue.
You can't do that,
Miss Goodale.
I was told by
the commissioner himself
that I may assist these people
in any way I see fit.
One blanket.
One blanket.
Without holes.
Thank you.
We are lucky. Here the agent
lets us hunt for our meat.
One bull.
Whoo! Whoo!
"My dear Charles...
the great Sioux reservation
is no longer great in size alone.
It is now home
to a great celebrity.
Sitting Bull has arrived.
But the sorrow in his eyes-
it is the image
of all I have seen,
and not only
at Standing Rock,
but at all the agencies.
At Pine Ridge,
a drought destroyed
the late summer crops
and made
for underweight cattle.
And then there are
the epidemics-
measles, influenza,
whooping cough.
Have you seen a dying child
with whooping cough?
There is little
that can be done
except to prepare the families
for the inevitable.
This has become
my avocation.
Sincerely, Elaine. "
There's a fine line
between incentive and coercion.
And if we have to cross
that line
in pursuit of
the Indians' betterment,
- then so be it.
- Hear, hear.
May I speak with you
a moment, sir?
Yes- I want to introduce you
to a few new people.
- Come on.
- Yes, wait.
I received this letter
from Miss Goodale.
Yes, that can wait.
Charles, with this resolution,
the Senate will authorize a new
offering for the Sioux. One-
Do you know about
this measles epidemic?
And whooping cough
and influenza?
The agent's official reports are...
somewhat different.
I haven't known Elaine
to exaggerate.
She's an inspector of schools,
Charles. She's not a physician.
She's an advocate for their cause,
as you are.
And now you speak of coercion.
I don't understand.
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.
Did you know
that there is no word
in the Sioux language
for that, sir?
- For what?
- To "own the earth. "
Not in any native language.
Well, then perhaps
you should invent one.
Come on.
I am sorry.
The road is not good for wheels.
It's all right.
I'll get some help.
Oh, I'm your assistant,
- I'll take your things.
- No no, please.
Take care of your son.
And watch over our things.
Little Hawk,
keep an eye on your father.
Good morning.
He wants to mend the wagon.
You must be Dr. Eastman.
I'm Agent Royer.
- Welcome to Pine Ridge.
- A pleasure.
- Right this way.
- All right.
Here it is.
Where's the examination table?
Last fellow
managed with a chair.
What is that, Mr. Royer?
That's how you dispense
your medicines, of course.
Without examination?
- Well, I-
- I'm sick.
I need a brown bottle.
A brown bottle, please.
Me too,
a brown bottle.
Cod liver oil.
Shipment's late.
When you're ready,
I'll show you around.
I'm sorry,
but there's none left.
If you men are sick,
please, come in.
You wrote you'd be inspecting
the schools at Rosebud.
I doubt I'll be missed.
Not by the teachers,
in any event.
- I'm so happy you're here.
- Me too.
What do you think?
Needs a lot of work.
It's going to be great.
All right, sir, we're just going to
shift the shoulders just a little bit.
And chin up, please.
Chief Sitting Bull.
Very still now, please.
Very still.
Thank you. $2.50.
It would also be an honor for me
to have your autograph.
Turn around.
It would be an honor for me
to take more of your money.
Thank you.
Nice hat.
- Wild West Show?
- Mm.
And the horse...
you must be looking forward
to joining Bill Cody again.
What is that
you're making?
When I am finished,
I will know.
If we get enough rain,
you could still raise corn.
Grasshoppers eat corn.
Let them plant it.
I will live as I please.
No, you will not.
Do you understand?
I'm told you squandered Cody's pay
on friends and fancy dinners.
And you come back
with tall tales.
You did not meet President Cleveland,
yet you go around boasting
that he called you
"the greatest living Indian. "
These things do not advance
your people's cause.
Nor does posing for portraits,
autographs for money.
Now I have had very good compliance
here at Standing Rock...
the best
of all the agencies-
school enrollment, church.
And I will not see that
by the poor example
of a respected man like yourself.
You will farm,
and you will enroll
your son here in school
and see that he
attends church.
Now I am finished.
- And what is that?
- To my ears,
your words seem to come
out of your rear end.
This is to silence you.
This is what is left of the great tree
that was my people.
Take it
and you would have it all.
I'm allowing 12 Standing Rock Sioux
to go with Cody again this fall.
You will not be
among them.
"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. "
Take a seat.
"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... "
I'm sick, Doctor.
Brown bottle, please.
"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. "
Thank you, Doctor.
"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. "
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.
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 only
delay 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...
in the freedom...
that we as Indian people
once knew.
Lone Wolf!
I called to the trader,
"Give me a red shirt to wear
so the soldiers
will know me. "
Though there were
hundreds of soldiers,
not one bullet touched me
because of my strong medicine.
And not one bullet
found you on the Little Bighorn.
Yes, this is so.
But I wore no red shirt that day.
There was no time
to dress.
I mean... it is said that you were
hiding under your blanket
the entire fight.
That's not true.
Who says this?
We all heard it.
Everyone knows it.
- Sitting Bull!
- Don't believe this.
My father
saved many lives.
He is a great leader.
- Oh.
- Great leader, hiding in his tepee.
- Sitting Bull.
- Go on...
"Greatest Living Indian. "
Get your meat.
- Hey, little brother.
- Hey.
- Where is the old man?
- He's inside.
Hello, Father.
Men from Washington are coming
for a big council soon.
Will you go?
No one has ears
for my words,
and I have no ears
for theirs.
If you go, you can have your say
like any other man.
Then let any other man
take my place,
since one man is
as important as another here.
I know who started speaking
the lies against you.
The last time
I came before you,
it was with an offer of 50 cents an acre
for your excess lands.
It has been very difficult
to renegotiate in Washington
on your behalf
with men who believe that
to have been a very generous offer.
But I have done so
in your interest.
And I return to you...
with what
I must tell you
is a final offer.
If refused, the government
may take these lands
for whatever
they wish to pay,
which may be less
than what you were first offered.
In fact,
it may be nothing.
I return, however,
with authorization
to offer you
$1.25 an acre.
If these lands are sold
by this agreement,
my friends,
this would put more
than $12 million
in your pockets.
$12 million.
And remember,
each head of the household
will still receive
the 160-acre parcel
to do with what he wishes.
We give you this,
and we take
nothing more away.
You will continue to receive
the same rations and annuities
that you do at present
until you have achieved
full self-sufficiency.
as we discuss this
over the next couple of days,
let us not retread
old trails.
The mistakes
of the past
are in the past...
on both sides.
We have a chance now
to correct them.
For we believe
in your very wise saying...
"We will be known forever
by the tracks
we leave behind. "
are you threatening to take their land
if they don't sign?
That is no threat, Charles.
That is the reality.
Would you permit this land
to be stolen from them,
to see your plan succeed?
My plan?
You mean "our plan. "
You played
no small hand.
One I've come
to question.
Don't worry, Charles.
They will vote for it.
There were
no early crops.
Now there will be
no late crops.
Does it seem to you
that our coffee rations are smaller?
Why do you tell lies
about my part
in the fight
at the Little Bighorn?
It was Agent McLaughlin.
You angered him.
He made me say
these things against you.
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!
I will go
and speak straight...
and set things right.
These words
cannot be put back.
- I have said all I have to say.
- 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.
Because of confusion
in the past,
you will put your marks
on one of the two papers here.
You will sign the red paper
if you agree-
which we hope
that you do-
and the black
if you don't.
So they will know
who is a friend and who is not.
So they will know
who to take rations from.
What is this?
Sir, this is not your agency.
The council at Standing Rock
is next week.
You have no place here.
Do you not recognize
who this man is?
I know-
he is Sitting Bull.
But I do not recognize him
as having any more a voice
than any other Indian here.
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.
All right,
you've had your say.
Do not interrupt.
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.
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?
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.
We cannot allow
a return to incivility.
And what has civility
earned them, might I ask?
Trained nurses?
Even one hospital?
All things the Sioux will provide
for themselves, Charles,
once this plan has passed.
As you yourself agreed-
they must adapt.
Must they adapt, sir, to the point
of their own extermination?
I suppose you say we've exterminated
your Indian heritage
rather than provided
to you the benefits
of an entire civilization?
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.
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,
in the press, in Congress-
You have an opponent
before you, sir.
I see that clearly now.
This explains the tone
of your letters.
"Drought, disease, hunger-
year in and year out. "
You think you are the first one
to decry these things?
This looks all very grim to you,
of course,
having been spared
all this yourself.
Children have died in my arms.
I have not been spared!
I devoted the larger part
of my career
to the betterment
of your race,
with you as the principal
Is this your gratitude?
I am acting in the interest
of my people,
following the example
you set for me.
Do you really think
you know better than I
what is in the interest
of these people?
I am one of them,
You're no more
a Sioux Indian
than I am.
Did you know
there was a moment
on the train to Illinois where I was
sent away to school...
when I might have returned home
to my old land?
I nearly jumped.
What do you mean?
From that train.
I nearly did, Elaine.
I very nearly jumped.
Charles! Charles,
you have to wake up.
Ah- what?
It's Royer. He's ordered
all the Sioux to the agency.
- He wants them all here.
- Why?
There's been trouble.
They heard about the ration cuts.
He says they have guns at the
dance camp. He's wired for troops.
Just read it for yourself.
"Uprising of the whole
Indian race is imminent. "
"Imminent. "
I've got people to protect.
You're damn right
I'm getting troops here.
It's a stupid prophecy.
It'll pass if you let it.
I've been to these camps.
It's harmless dancing.
Harmless? Preaching death
to all whites is harmless?
If soldiers come
to this reservation,
you'll have more dead Indians
than any disease has ever taken.
You'd better leave
like the others.
With the threat of troops,
maybe the holdouts in those camps
will be frightened enough
to see reason.
Why should they see reason? The land
deal was shoved down their throats,
and still they're punished
with ration cuts.
A million pounds of beef,
Elaine- a million.
It has to have been a mistake.
They were promised by the commission.
You've been here
longer than I.
You know these are
never mistakes.
To provoke the Sioux
further in this panic-
- does that make sense?
- Yes. Knowing the whites.
I think you should go.
We're still needed here.
As what, witnesses?
It won't come to that.
What are you doing here?
What do you want?
Why haven't you brought
these people in?
For what?
Another council?
More rotten meat?
This is nonsense.
You're a Christian.
You don't believe
in this.
Then tell me
what to believe.
Tell me what to believe in,
white medicine man.
I ordered you to shut down
these dance camps.
- I can't.
- Why not?
Sitting Bull permits
the dancing.
The people
listen to him again.
- Bring him in.
- What if there's trouble?
There is already trouble.
Soldiers are riding for Pine Ridge
and I'll be damned
if they'll ride in here.
The agent
has sent for you. Dress.
I said, dress.
Your eyes are getting worse.
Quick, somebody get
Dr. Eastman!
- Easy, easy. Careful.
- This way.
- Where do you want her?
- Right here!
Behind you.
Charles, hurry!
- What happened?
- She's been shot.
Somebody help!
Where are my children?
Help me!
What happened?
Where are my children...?
Tell me what happened.
They came for my father-in-law.
They came to arrest
Sitting Bull.
They came
to take him away.
What is going on?
We tried to stop them.
Where are you taking him?
Father, don't let them take you
without a fight.
- Be quiet!
- I won't go, I won't go!
Stay back! Stay back,
or we will arrest you all.
Oh, I got it.
The horse...
The white horse...
it danced.
We all turned
to look at it.
And he fired!
They killed him!
They killed Sitting Bull!
His boy's over here!
They shot Crow Foot!
He was just a boy.
They killed him too.
We ran away,
but the soldiers found us.
They took us
to Wounded Knee Creek.
Oh no! No!
Where are my children?
Doctor! Doctor!
It was at Wounded Knee,
near where we were dancing.
Elaine, bag!
They tried
to take our weapons.
You had more than this.
You had Winchesters
and Henrys.
I know you had
Winchesters and Henrys.
- Where are your weapons?
- "Where are your weapons?" he shouted.
Search the tepees.
Have heart, men.
The messiah's promise
will come true.
The bullets
will not harm you.
Their bullets...
will not harm you.
Search all of them!
He tried to take a gun
from a deaf man!
- He could hear, they didn't care.
- Give me that gun.
- Leave him alone! He can't hear you!
- Let go of it.
Let go!
And then the cannons came.
Go after them!
Go! Fast!
I cannot mend the leg.
You will not take it.
You have no choice.
There is a choice.
We didn't fire first.
I swear to Almighty God,
we did not fire first.
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.
For two days,
the snow prevented
a search
for survivors...
and the burial
of the dead.
From that day on,
nothing would be
the same-
not for the Sioux
as a people,
and not for Charles.
Tell me what you see.
I'm the one who told
our people to stay.
Tell me straight.
I have the ears for it.
It's not what
we set out to be.
But in the end,
it's what we were.
Charles would practice medicine
again only briefly.
A succession of positions
always seemed to end
in voluntary resignation
or dismissal
and eventually,
financial hardship.
Soon he had
nowhere to turn.
And we needed money.
Well, how are you?
I'm fine.
I'm sorry to hear about your
resignation- and your wife's.
Great loss
to the reservation.
You're awaiting
the commissioner?
Well, we would be very grateful
to have your services again
for the renaming project.
- Renaming project?
- Yes.
I only know there's
a position available.
Yes, I put you up
for it myself,
knowing your...
It's the individual deeds
to the land.
They've been
impossible to assign
with each Indian going
by so many tribal names,
so much confusion.
So what we need
is a single name-
a Christian name-
for each Sioux,
assigned by you,
randomly or at your discretion,
working from
the last census.
Dr. Eastman?
We're ready for you now.
- Good luck.
- Senator.
Give my best
to your wife.
I won't do this!
Should have jumped.
Should have jumped
from the train.
Might have got off...
Might have got off
in Sioux City.
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
my way home.
By the Red River.
By the Red River.