I cannot for the life of me remember why I bought this book. I sort of remember picking it up a few years ago, sometime after we moved to Chicago. This is definitely a book that was in the "reading ether" for a long time---I'd heard good things from people that have read it, it bubbled up in conversations, etc.
I'm guessing, based on the cover art, that I might have bought it when HBO made a documentary about it. Knowing me, I probably thought: Hey, I've always wanted to read this! And now I will! Obviously, the prudent thing to do would have been to just watch the damn thing on TV.
Another possibility is that I had someone recommend it during last year's Civil War kick--Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee covers the years from roughly 1860-1890, which overlaps with the Civil War and Reconstruction, etc. The treatment of Indians ended up being an ancillary part of many of the Civil War books I read. Maybe I just wanted a book that would cover that part of our history head on?
Finally, it might have also been related to my failed attempt to read Little House on the Prairie to Darius last fall. I *loved* those books when I was younger. And yet, I just couldn't bring myself to read them to him. They are so painfully white-centric and racist against Indians. It's awful. We got maybe 30 or 40 pages in before I gave up. Interestingly, the newest generation of books set in that time period that are more culturally respectful are written by...you guessed it...Louise Erdrich. The only one I've ever looked at is called Morning Girl, but I believe that she's written others for young readers.
There are 2 major reasons I'm choosing it now. First of all, it seems appropriate to read it after The Plague of Doves. Erdrich's books are set on Indian reservations, some go back to the late 1800s, and others are more modern day. Although I don't remember her books dealing specifically with Indian removal schemes, that history still beats in her stories. And, if I'm going to be honest and admit that this book seems the "heaviest" and most intimidating of my remaining books. Probably best to tackle that in summer while I'm still off of work. I keep reminding myself that I felt that way about Nature's Metropolis, too, and I ended up loving it!