American Injustice


This powerful speech addresses the history and oppression of the U.S and its relationship to North American indigenous people. This speech is both an awareness speech and an argument to give the black hills land in South Dakota back to the Lakota Sioux. His speech is extremely well put together and his performance of it is powerful. Huey establishes his credibility in this speech in two major ways. One, he begins his speech by talking about his time working directly with the people of the Lakota nation, and notes that many of them consider him a close friend and even an adopted family member. Also, his presentation includes photographs that he took while he was doing research on the history and current problems that afflict the people of that reservation. His photographs give him credibility as a speaker and also help to reinforce his argument and inform his audience on the terrible state of reservation life and the horrific history that led up to this. One thing we can learn from this is that credibility can come from the way you deliver your information. At many points the speaker seems like he could begin to cry at any moment. His extreme care for the subject of the speech helps the audience to feel how he feels and engage in what he is talking about. This was a powerful and well done piece of public address.


2 comments so far

  1. irene531 on

    Although I agree that the topic of this speech is very powerful, and Aaron Huey establishes strong awareness in the audience early on, I still feel that there are ways that the speech could have been more effective. The speaker does have an effective introduction by establishing credibility and connection with the audience. When Huey says that he is “white,” and a “wachisu,” or non-indian, he indicates that he, like his audience members, is also “one who takes the best meat for himself.” Furthermore, he proves this statement by pointing out to the audience that they are “in a private school in the American west, sitting in red velvet chairs with money in our pockets.” However, I feel that because of his personal connection to the Lakota Sioux, he could have played up the pathos with a personal story that the audience could connect with.

    By giving a history lesson while showing current pictures of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, it is sometimes hard to choose what to focus on. This is the reason why we were taught in our class to limit statistics and visual aids. By listing so many historical events, it is easy to lose focus on what is being said. In addition, because pictures (that does show what the speaker is talking about) are constantly running in the background while the speaker is talking about history, it is hard to remember or follow what is seen or heard. This was especially true when I started to catch myself reading the text in certain pictures instead of paying attention to the speech. At the same time, I do understand that he is a photographer. Therefore, I feel that it would be more effective to either include a few important pictures that he stops to explain or to show the entire slideshow before his conclusion. This would allow the audience to be moved by the images and ready to accept what he is trying to persuade.

    Irene Tsai

  2. jdavis0136 on

    This speech was very powerful and emotional, but I feel the majority of emotions stemmed from the pictures and not from the speech. I believe the speech could have been more effective if there had been a greater array of emotion and if the organization and delivery were improved. I agree whole hardly with Irene in the comment above that by having both a oral history and modern pictures became confusing and honestly a little annoying. When you through the date 1824 on the screen and then show a picture of a men in a NWA shirt your audience will become confused. The speech became boring after a while in the sense that there was know real change of emotion. He was always on the verge of tears. However, with all this said the speech was still powerful and effective. This just proves the power of one emotion or visual image. Yes, it was not the best organized speech; and yes by the end I was ready for him to end. But, I understood and agreed with his message and felt a connection. The photographs were amazing at those alone produced a powerful performance.

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