Book Review on Custer Died for Your Sins Essay

1288 Words Dec 19th, 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…
His writing outlines how the people that have misconceived notions of helping their fellow “man” through religion or study have the very same problem of lack of understanding. He writes very simply that, “What we need is a cultural leave-us-alone agreement in spirit and fact.” The precision of this statement is another attribute about Deloria’s writing that makes is so compelling. Whether you agree with the statement or not, it very clearly defines his view on the subject. He believes that the very idea of trying to solve the problem is the problem to begin with. Native Americans do not need to absorb into what white America thinks of as modern society, they need to be left alone. He calls for “fewer and fewer experts on Indians.” The first chapter serves as a basis for the rest. Chapter two, like the rest, take up individual examples of ideas expressed in the beginning of the manifesto. Titled, Laws and Treaties, it deals with the disregard of many agreements between the United States government and native peoples. Deloria does not simply outline the problem but uses unique examples to stress his points. He calls out the hypocrisies of the government by comparing their philosophies with their actions. “The message was that America had to keep her commitments is southeast Asia or the world would lose faith in the

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