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Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

HBO, May 27, 2007

Lee Tergesen plays Daniel Royer in this HBO movie, which was filmed in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in October-November 2006.

Daniel Royer was the U.S. government's Bureau of Indian Affairs agent for the Pine Ridge reservation of Lakota Sioux. He called for military backup to protect against an Indian uprising in 1890 that resulted in the Wounded Knee Massacre.

Lee's part is small -- he has about two minutes of screen time in the 2.25-hour telefilm, which is an adaptation of author Dee Brown's Pulitzer Prize-winning book from 1970, "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West."

The dramatization starts with Sioux victory over General Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn and ends with the Wounded Knee Massacre. Along the way, it intertwines the perspectives of three main characters:

  • Charles Eastman (played by Adam Beach), a Dartmouth-educated, Sioux doctor held up as living proof of the alleged success of assimilation. His wife is played by Anna Paquin.

  • Sitting Bull (August Schellenberg), the Lakota chief who refuses to submit to U.S. government policies designed to strip his people of their identity, their dignity and their land.

  • Senator Henry Dawes (Aidan Quinn), who was one of the architects of the government policy on Indian affairs.

Lee's "Oz" co-star J.K. Simmons plays James McLauglin, the agent in charge of the Standing Rock reservation. "Law & Order" executive producer Dick Wolf is one of the executive producers behind this HBO telefilm.

Lee first appears about an hour into the production, welcoming Charles Eastman to the Pine Ridge reservation. He then has a couple of scenes where he is merely "at the table" as Sen. Dawes tries to make a deal with the Indians. 

Lee's second speaking scene is a brief confrontation with Eastman about the threat of an Indian uprising. Shortly thereafter, the events are put in motion that result in the Wounded Knee Massacre. Lee's character is seen briefly, dazed amidst the carnage.

Movie Gallery
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(23 images)

Video Clip
Lee's two
speaking scenes

Related Links


Available on DVD

Dick Wolf blog

Wikipedia entry
about the massacre
at Wounded Knee