In my haste to fulminate on the quasi-criminality of celebrating Columbus Day, I omitted to reference one very clever and useful book, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz(Beacon Press). MS. Dunbar-Ortiz does ground-breaking work in the burgeoning focus on “bottom-up peoples’” histories with the first history of USA told from the perspective of indigenous peoples (of which there are currently more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations). When the Europeans arrived in now what is known as the United States (of America), there were fifteen million living and thriving Native people. After 400 years of regnant genocidal characters from Columbus and his ilk to Andrew Jackson and G.A. Custer there are 3 million descendants.An Indigenous Peoples’ History gives vivid snapshots of some of dark and shameful episodes of the US’s past.
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz elucidates:
The charge of genocide, once unacceptable by establishment academic and political classes when applied to the United States, has gained currency as evidence of it has mounted , but it is too often accompanied an assumption of disappearance> So I realized it was crucial to make the reality and significance of Indigenous people’s survival clear throughout the book Indigenous survival as peoples is due to centuries of resistance and storytelling passed through the generations, and I sought to demonstrate that this survival is dynamic, not passive.Surviving genocide, by whatever means is resistance: non Indians must know this in order to more accurately understand the history of the United States.
Currently reading Something Rich and Strange by Ron Rash (ECCO)