An Indigenous People’s History of the United States
Written by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Beacon Press Boston
Book review and selections from “Introduction: This Land” pp. 1-14
We are here to educate, not forgive.
We are here to enlighten, not accuse.
~Willie Johns, Brighton Seminole Reservation, Florida
In her introduction to this book, Dunbar-Ortiz frames a different way of thinking about basic clashes between European and Indigenous cultural practices. Everything about US history is about land, imperialism and settler colonialism. She makes us aware that writing US history from the Indigenous people’s perspective requires rethinking the consensual national narrative—“it is wrong in its essence.”
“The form of colonialism that Indigenous peoples of North America have experienced came from the expansion of European corporation, backed by government armies, into foreign areas, with subsequent expropriation of land and resources. The colonialist authorities consciously aimed to terminate their existence as peoples—not as random individuals. Settler
colonialism is a genocidal policy.”
Regrettably it continues today in the mythological unconscious belief in manifest destiny. It is time to examine that belief.
“With deep roots in the past, today’s Indigenous nations and communities are societies informed by their resistance to colonialism, through which they have carried their practices and histories. It is breathtaking, but no miracle, that they have survived as peoples.”
In sum, this book “attempts to tell the story of the United States as a colonialist settler-state, one that crushed and subjugated the original civilizations in the territories it now rules. Indigenous peoples, now in a colonial relationship with the United States, inhabited and thrived for millennia before they were displaced to fragmented reservations and economically
This book is available at the Seattle Public Library and at bookstores. There is also a young person’s version available.