The first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples
Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US settler-colonial regimen has largely been omitted from history. Now, for the first time, acclaimed historian and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples and reveals how Native Americans, for centuries, actively resisted expansion of the US empire.
In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz adroitly challenges the founding myth of the United States and shows how policy against the Indigenous peoples was colonialist and designed to seize the territories of the original inhabitants, displacing or eliminating them. And as Dunbar-Ortiz reveals, this policy was praised in popular culture, through writers like James Fenimore Cooper and Walt Whitman, and in the highest offices of government and the military. Shockingly, as the genocidal policy reached its zenith under President Andrew Jackson, its ruthlessness was best articulated by US Army general Thomas S. Jesup, who, in 1836, wrote of the Seminoles: “The country can be rid of them only by exterminating them.”
Spanning more than four hundred years, this classic bottom-up peoples’ history radically reframes US history and explodes the silences that have haunted our national narrative.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz grew up in rural Oklahoma, the daughter of a tenant farmer and part-Indian mother. She has been active in the international Indigenous movement for more than four decades and is known for her lifelong commitment to national and international social justice issues. After receiving her PhD in history at the University of California at Los Angeles, she taught in the newly established Native American Studies Program at California State University, Hayward, and helped found the Departments of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies. Her 1977 book The Great Sioux Nation was the fundamental document at the first international conference on Indigenous peoples of the Americas, held at the United Nations’ headquarters in Geneva. Dunbar-Ortiz is the author or editor of seven other books, including Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico. She lives in San Francisco.
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Introduction This land
Excerpted from "An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States"
Copyright © 2015 Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz.
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Table of ContentsAuthor's Note
Introduction: This Land
One: Follow the Corn
Two: Culture of Conquest
Three: Cult of the Covenant
Four: Bloody Footprints
Five: Birth of a Nation
Six: The Last of the Mohicans and Andrew Jackson’s White Republic
Seven: Sea to Shining Sea
Eight: “Indian Country”
Nine: US Triumphalism and Peacetime Colonialism
Ten: Ghost Dance Prophesy: A Nation is Coming
Eleven: The Doctrine of Discovery
Conclusion: The Future of the United States
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In examining the formation of the country, An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, sheds strained euphemisms such as "expansionism" and "manifest destiny" and calls the deliberate conquest and destruction of the native peoples across the continent exactly what it was, genocide. Supported by an impressive array of indigenous and non-indigenous writers and historians, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz traces the coalescence of what would eventually be the United States to its undeniable source, "settler-colonialism." Methodically, the case is made that, from the beginning, killing native inhabitants or driving them out from their ancestral homes and replacing them with settlers was the primary method utilized by European invaders. Dunbar-Ortiz argues that the violent, systematic and unceasing dispossession of the indigenous peoples of North America was at its core driven by the insatiable greed for land. This book brings much needed balance the one-sided and triumphalist nationalistic myths that have prevailed for far too long in discussing the origins of the United States. Dr. Dunbar-Ortiz tells us clearly that the so-called winners of history don't always write the whole story and that the history that should and will endure is the truth. An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States is an essential source of information to any serious student of history.
One the most insightful books on American history, and one that does not ignore the beginning of it. The legacy of settler colonialism can still be felt today; this book provides the lens to see through imperialist myth and nationalist discourse. Rich, critical, and an essential reading. I highly recommend this book.