Sunday, November 9, 2014
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the U.S.
Xochitl, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly; Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (beacon.org)
Today in the United States there are more than 500 federally recognized Indigenous Nations comprising nearly 3,000,000 people, descendants of the 15,000,000 Native [or First Nations] people who once inhabited this land.
The centuries-long genocidal program of the U.S. 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 U.S. empire.
In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz adroitly challenges the founding myth of the U.S. 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 U.S. 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 400 years, this classic bottom-up peoples’ history radically reframes U.S. history and explodes the silences that have haunted our national narrative. More