cover image An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Beacon, $27.95 (296p) ISBN 978-0-8070-0040-3

American Indian activist and scholar Dunbar-Ortiz (The Great Sioux Nation) launches a full-bore attack on what she perceives as the glaring gaps in U.S. history about the continent’s native peoples. Professional historians have increasingly been teaching much of what Dunbar-Ortiz writes about, yet given what she argues is the vast ignorance of the Indigenous experience, there still remains a knowledge deficit that needs to be rectified. She describes the U.S. as “a colonialist settler state, one that, like the colonialist European states, crushed and subjugated the original civilizations in the territories it now rules.” The conventional national narrative, she writes, is a myth that’s “wrong or deficient, not in its facts, dates, or details but rather in its essence.” What is fresh about the book is its comprehensiveness. Dunbar-Ortiz brings together every indictment of white Americans that has been cast upon them over time, and she does so by raising intelligent new questions about many of the current trends of academia, such as multiculturalism. Dunbar-Ortiz’s material succeeds, but will be eye-opening to those who have not previously encountered such a perspective. [em](Sept.) [/em]