Lionel Wounded Knee And Intertextuality Essay Research

Lionel, Wounded Knee, And Intertextuality Essay, Research Paper Lionel Red Dog, one of Thomas King’s characters in his novel Green Grass, Running Water, was an employee of the government. He worked in Indian Affairs,

Lionel, Wounded Knee, And Intertextuality Essay, Research Paper

Lionel Red Dog, one of Thomas King’s characters in his novel Green Grass,

Running Water, was an employee of the government. He worked in Indian Affairs,

and his job took him all over North America. It was in South Dakota that Lionel had

his last assignment.

Lionel was sent to Utah to deliver a speech on “The History of Cultural

Pluralism in Canada’s Boarding Schools.” While there, he runs into a band of natives

that coheres him into going to Wounded Knee for a peaceful rally. Along the way, the

vehicle that Lionel is riding in is pulled over by the police. He steps from the car, and

trips over a gun that was lying in the back. Hit by a policewoman, he is taken to jail

and, while there, he loses his job.

This, in a way, is very similar to what happened to AIM (American Indian

Movement) some years back. The natives were upset about the Government’s neglect

of treaties and grants. The natives held a peaceful rally in a town, then they all packed

up, and moved it to Wounded Knee.

Wounded Knee was the sight of a terrible massacre in the late 1800’s. The

Natives were traveling to a neighboring camp, when soldiers came upon them, and

“captured” the natives. The natives were asked to give up all weapons, and a

misunderstanding led the soldiers to believe there was a resistance. The soldiers

opened fire on the Natives, and over three quarters of the natives were killed.

There, at Wounded Knee, The natives set up road blocks meant to keep

tourists out. They did this so that the government would take notice of their plight.

But things went horribly wrong. The FBI intervened, and set up their own road

blocks. They stopped all traffic and it soon became a stand off. The natives were

confused that such an action should be taken, and many left. Of those who stayed, all

were members of AIM.

The FBI claimed that the AIM members were holding hostages, even though

the hostages told the FBI that they stayed because that was their home. The whole

thing escalated until the army was moved in. Eventually, the FBI apprehended the

members of AIM and the truth of the situation was suppressed for many years. The

American Indian Movement lost much of it’s credibility and support. This all

happened in 1973.

If we were to look at the basic story line to Lionel’s history and the AIM

occupation of Wounded Knee, we would see many similarities. The first similarity

would be both Lionel’s and AIM’s reputations. Before the troubles for both of them,

they had very good reputations. Lionel had a great job, AIM was well supported. Then

they both went to a peaceful demonstration.

Both demonstrations were about the same place, but at different times. AIM’s

demonstration was about the land around Wounded Knee, and their rights, while

Lionel went to a demonstration about what had happened at Wounded Knee.

I think it is here that I should mention that both these things happened at

different times. Lionel comes along after AIM, and it is a demonstration about what

had happened to AIM that Lionel is going to attend.

Upon reaching the point where the demonstration is to be held, Lionel is

stopped by the police, and because of a misunderstanding, he is taken to jail. AIM is

also wrongly accused and is eventually arrested by the authorities.

And the last, big similarity between Lionel, and AIM, is the loss of their

credibility. Lionel has a hard time finding a job, and ends up working in an electronics

store. AIM too, losses it’s credibility, and has not yet recovered completely from the

actions it took, and the actions taken against it.

I believe that Thomas King is quite clever in using Lionel to tell the story of

the occupation of Wounded Knee by AIM. Thomas uses Lionel effectively as a tool,

and anyone who has read, or has heard about what happened at Wounded Knee in

1973 would catch on quite quickly as to his intention of using Lionel for his telling of

the happenings at Wounded Knee.

King, Thomas. Green Grass, Running Water. United States: HarperCollins, 1994.

Zimmerman, Bill. Airlift to Wounded Knee. Chicago, Illinois: The Swallow Press

Incorporated, 1976.

Lyman, Stanley David. Wounded Knee 1973: A Personal Account. Ed. Floyd O’neil,

June Lyman, and Susan McKay. Nebraska: University of Nebraska

Press\Lincoln & London, 1991.

Brown, Dee. Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee. United States: Holt, Rinehart and

Winston, 1971.

—. Wounded Knee. United States: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974.