An Indigenous Peoples’ History
The history of the U.S. is one of settler colonialism. The state was established on the basis of white male supremacy, slavery, land theft and genocide. “From sea to shining sea” the Native nations were decimated and dispossessed. The survivors herded into concentration camps. The genocidal policy reached its peak under President Andrew Jackson. Its ruthlessness was best articulated by Army general Thomas Jesup, who, in 1836, wrote: “The country can be rid of them only by exterminating them.” Native people are still here. Today, there is growing support for their movements such as the campaign to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The Dakota Access Pipeline resistance led by the Standing Rock Sioux was joined by many non-Native allies. The action, though unsuccessful, captured the imagination of people everywhere. The struggle for indigenous rights continues.
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz grew up in rural Oklahoma, the daughter of a tenant farmer and part-Indian mother. A distinguished scholar, she has been active in the international Indigenous movement for many years and is known for her commitment to social justice issues. She is the recipient of the 2017 Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize. Her 1977 book The Great Sioux Nation was the fundamental document at the first UN conference on Indigenous peoples of the Americas. She is the author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, winner of the 2015 American Book Award, Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment, All the Real Indians Died Off and 20 Other Myths about Native Americans and Not a Nation of Immigrants.
“Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is a one-woman wrecking ball against the tower of lies erected by ‘official’ historians.”- Ishmael Reed
Katharine Lloyd –
This is an excellent discussion and moves us (or, me, at least!) to look at our history through a truly alternative perspective. Our culture is indeed based on white supremacy, and it makes me very uncomfortable to have to admit that.
Maggie 2 Charsley –
Thank you for this informed and important perspective.
Mary Francis –
A mesmerizing and authentic chronicler. From her early Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie to her hard-hitting and meticulously researched Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz pulls no punches. Read everything she writes.