Contrasting the views of Native Americans and European Americans, this book provides a fresh look at the rhetoric behind the westward movement of the American frontier. From George Armstrong Custer and Andrew Jackson to Helen Hunt Jackson, the volume gives the views of well-known Anglo-Americans and contrasts them with views of such well-known Native Americans as Metacom, Sitting Bull, Tecumseh, and Black Hawk. Organized around major subthemes regarding the land, who should own it, and what ownership means, the book traces the rhetoric of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, then covers current issues in the words of Oren Lyons, Vine Deloria Jr., and Senator Slade Gorton.

The core of the debate in this volume is the taking of the continental United States from native peoples by European immigrants. In chapters revolving around major subthemes, the book develops biographies of significant figures in the history of a continent changing hands. What was George Armstrong Custer's view of Native American culture? How did this view contrast with that of his contemporary and antagonist at the Little Big Horn, Sitting Bull? This book is the first to present and contract the views on both sides of the debate.