Walsh By Pollock
"Progress is the elimination of the savage". These words of General

Terry, a character in Sharon Pollock's "Walsh", demonstrates how he
and his fellow white men feel towards Native Indians. The Indians see Canada as
their homeland, but the Canadian government will not let them stay and will do
anything in their power to make them leave to the United States. They are
cheated against, lied to, and betrayed by their government, because of their
ethnic background. Especially Sitting Bull, the head of the Sioux nation, who is
being accused for the death of General Custer. Walsh, Sitting Bull, and General

Terry contribute to this theme of prejudice towards the Sioux by the government
and Walsh's struggle to keep his responsibility as an individual and his high
principles. Major Walsh of the North West Mounted Police who attempts to prevent

Sitting Bull and the Sioux from being sent back from Canada to the United

States, apparently to stand trial for the death of General Custer and his men at
the battle of Little Big Horn. Walsh has sympathy for Sitting Bull and the

Sioux. He feels, as a member of the force he should do everything in his power
to help them: "An able and brilliant people have been crushed, held down,
moved from place to place, cheated and lied to.....and now , they hold here in

Canada, the remnants of a proud race, and they ask for some sort of
justice....which is what I thought I swore on oath to serve!" Walsh has a
responsibility for Sitting Bull and the Sioux as a friend to help them in their
struggle for justice and respect but Walsh was forced against his better
judgment, to sacrifice his own high principles by his fellow police men and
friends. The government, which Walsh represents lies and makes excuses to the

Sioux of why the should be going to the United States. Walsh is a man who knows
that there is a nobility to his struggle, but he surrenders responsibility as an
individual. Walsh is a well-meaning but ultimately ineffectual white man whose
potentially tragic status is undermined by his decision to go back on his
promise of his responsibility to Sitting Bull and the Sioux. His moral dilemma
is at a disaster when he agrees to his governments demands and sends Sitting

Bull and the Sioux to his certain death in the United States. His mentality has
totally been altered and he almost feels no sympathy for them anymore: "And

I can give you nothing! God knows, I've done my damnedest and nothing's changed.

Do you hear that? Nothing's changed! Cross the line if you're so hungry, but
don't, for Christ's sake, come begging food from me!" Now Walsh is just
like the rest of the men, careless and heartless. He has hardly no feelings
towards Sitting Bull and the Sioux and he is trying to send Sitting Bull and the

Sioux to the United States, thinking that they're going to get food and shelter.

Sitting Bull, the head of the Sioux nation, and the Sioux are not blind to see
what's really going on. They know the Canadian government is prejudice against
them and that they don't want them on their land or in their country. They know
the government is lying to them so they can go to the United States to be in an
even worse situation then they are in, in Canada. Sitting Bull and the Sioux are
being betrayed by their own government. Sitting Bull says that to Walsh:
"When I was a boy, the Sioux owned the world. The sun rose and set on our
land. We sent 10,000 men to battle. Where are those warriors now? Who seen them?

Where are our lands? Who owns them? Tell me...what law have I broken? Is it
wrong for me to love my own? Is it wicked of me because my skin is red? Because

I am a Sioux, because I was born where my fathers lived, because I would die for
my people and my country? ....This white man would forgive me....and while he
speaks to me of forgiveness, what do his people say in secret? 'Seize their guns
and horses! Drive them back across the line! The more we kill this year, the
less we have to kill next year.'" Sitting Bull's contribution to this theme
is that he lets Walsh know that he knows what they're thinking. He lets him know
that even though Walsh seems to care for the Sioux, the others are planning
something else.