An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States
A recipient of the 2015 American Book Award.
Today in the United States, there are more than 500 federally recognized indigenous nations that comprise nearly three million people, who are descendants of the fifteen million native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the United States settler-colonial regime 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 that’s told from the perspective of indigenous peoples, revealing how Native Americans actively resisted the expansion of the United States’ empire for centuries.
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. As Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz reveals, this policy was praised in popular culture through writers like James Fenimore Cooper and Walt Whitman, and it was also praised 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 United States 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 United States history and explodes the silences that have haunted our national narrative.