"All the Real Indians Died Off": And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans

by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Dina Gilio-Whitaker


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Unpacks the twenty-one most common myths and misconceptions about Native Americans

In this enlightening book, scholars and activists Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker tackle a wide range of myths about Native American culture and history that have misinformed generations. Tracing how these ideas evolved, and drawing from history, the authors disrupt long-held and enduring myths such as:

“Columbus Discovered America”
“Thanksgiving Proves the Indians Welcomed Pilgrims”
“Indians Were Savage and Warlike”
“Europeans Brought Civilization to Backward Indians”
“The United States Did Not Have a Policy of Genocide”
“Sports Mascots Honor Native Americans”
“Most Indians Are on Government Welfare”
“Indian Casinos Make Them All Rich”
“Indians Are Naturally Predisposed to Alcohol”

Each chapter deftly shows how these myths are rooted in the fears and prejudice of European settlers and in the larger political agendas of a settler state aimed at acquiring Indigenous land and tied to narratives of erasure and disappearance. Accessibly written and revelatory, “All the Real Indians Died Off” challenges readers to rethink what they have been taught about Native Americans and history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807062654
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication date: 10/04/2016
Series: Myths Made in America
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 68,473
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz grew up in rural Oklahoma, the daughter of a tenant farmer and part-Indian mother, and has been active in the international Indigenous movement for more than four decades. She is the author or editor of eight other books, including An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, which was a recipient of the 2015 American Book Award. Dunbar-Ortiz lives in San Francisco.

Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes) is an award-winning journalist and columnist at Indian Country Today Media Network. A writer and researcher in Indigenous studies, she is currently a research associate and associate scholar at the Center for World Indigenous Studies. She lives in San Clemente, CA.

Table of Contents

Authors’ Note


MYTH 1: “All the Real Indians Died Off”

MYTH 2: “Indians Were the First Immigrants to the Western Hemisphere”

MYTH 3: “Columbus Discovered America”

MYTH 4: “Thanksgiving Proves the Indians Welcomed the Pilgrims”

MYTH 5: “Indians Were Savage and Warlike”

MYTH 6: “Indians Should Move On and Forget the Past”

MYTH 7: “Europeans Brought Civilization to the Backward Indians”

MYTH 8: “The United States Did Not Have a Policy of Genocide”

MYTH 9: “US Presidents Were Benevolent or at Least Fair-Minded Toward Indians”

MYTH 10: “The Only Real Indians Are Full-Bloods, and They Are Dying Off”

MYTH 11: “The United States Gave Indians Their Reservations”

MYTH 12: “Indians Are Wards of the State”

MYTH 13: “Sports Mascots Honor Native Americans”

MYTH 14: “Native American Culture Belongs to All Americans”

MYTH 15: “Most Indians Are on Government Welfare”

MYTH 16: “Indian Casinos Make Them All Rich”

MYTH 17: “Indians Are Anti-Science”

MYTH 18: “Indians Are Naturally Predisposed to Alcoholism”

MYTH 19: “What’s the Problem with Thinking of Indian Women as Princesses or Squaws?”

MYTH 20: “Native Americans Can’t Agree on What to Be Called”

MYTH 21: “Indians Are Victims and Deserve Our Sympathy”

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