An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States

By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz,

Book cover of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States

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Why read it?

5 authors picked An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is the correct history of the United States told from an Indigenous perspective. Spanning four centuries of violence, genocide, and devastation of Indigenous peoples, cultures, and economies, this book debunks the myth that the United States was formed as a democracy for all. Dunbar-Ortiz chronicles how the Doctrine of Discovery made the conquest and subjugation of Indigenous peoples a holy war.  She writes like a poet, squeezing lots of material into a small space—an essential read for those who want the truth about our country. Debbie Reese (Nambé Pueblo) and Jean Mendoza adapted the book for young people in…

This book should be required reading for every high school junior in the United States! If I had read this as a teenager, I would have understood the political landscape of the US much earlier in life. Dunbar-Ortiz shows the real history of the US through Indigenous perspectives. In doing so, she shows why dismantling White supremacy is so hard, and so necessary at the same time. This is an accessible, powerful book that could be passed around multiple generations of families, stirring up all kinds of new dinner-time conversations.

An Indigenous People’s History of the United States does exactly what the title says—it tells the history of the territory that became the United States from the perspective of various and different indigenous communities since before the arrival of Europeans. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz tackles a difficult task—writing about a wide array of people for an audience interested in learning a more expansive and inclusive account of the United States. In the process, she creates an expansive yet nuanced view of historical trends impacting indigenous peoples across North America, and therefore is a good starting point for understanding the topic.

Howard Ziinn’s work led to a proliferation of Peoples’ Histories, and none are as important as this telling of history from the perspective of America’s indigenous people. Dunbar-Ortiz refocuses attention to the lives of Native Americans and their centuries-long struggle against settler colonialism and manifest destiny. The book is part of a Revisioning History series that includes works on Queer History, Disability History, and Black Women’s History.

From Louis' list on the real history of America.

A riveting narrative history of the United States refracted through the Native American experience. Absolutely devastating in its moral clarity. Dunbar-Ortiz examines the violence that routinely accompanied the country’s founding, beginning with genocide and colonial land grabs; overtly racist federal land policy; and ceaseless discrimination, political neglect, and cultural blindness directed at contemporary Native American communities. A clarion call for a national reckoning with the country’s founding, a troubling vision of itself.

From Mckay's list on environmental justice.

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