DEATH SONG: The Last of the Indian Wars by John Edward Weems

DEATH SONG: The Last of the Indian Wars

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Today is a good day.to die!"" cried Geronimo as Custer's Seventh Cavalry troops attacked the Apache village near Little Big Horn, and died of their poor judgment. Everyone today sides with the Indians in the tragic loss of their homelands and the Great Plains. The Indians, however, had been bilked and butchered by the Spanish centuries earlier and had learned to speak with a forked tongue as well as the white man who came to raise cattle and sheep, lay rail, and carry Manifest Destiny to the Pacific. Weems begins with the great treaty-signing between the whites and many Indian tribes at Medicine Lodge in Kansas in 1867. The treaty was misunderstood by the Indians and the whites had little intention of honoring it. After much carnage, many of their leaders had learned to pretend agreement with the Great White Father while continuing their depredations. When an Apache tribe, under a white flag, attempted to settle at Camp Grant near Tucson and stop living like running dogs, vigilante townspeople massacred them in a surprise raid, killing over a hundred women and children. This act did not go unnoted by other tribes. By 1890 the ""death song"" had ended, having revealed some humanitarian cavalry officers as well as noble redmen. Weems views it all with a clear eye and pleads no special case. He doesn't need to--the facts speak eloquently.

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 1975
Publisher: Doubleday