The 2019-2020 UUA Common Read

The first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples.

Product Code: 6447
ISBN: 9780807057834
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Beacon Press
Pages: 245
Published Date: 08/11/2015
Availability:In stock
Price: $17.95

The 2019-2020 UUA Common Read

2015 Recipient of the American Book Award

2015 PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature

Today in the United States, there are more than five hundred federally recognized Indigenous nations comprising nearly three million people, descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land. The centuries-long genocidal program of the US 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 US empire.

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. 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 US 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 US history and explodes the silences that have haunted our national narrative.

Gail Forsyth-Vail from the Faith Development office has created a discussion guide that helps groups and congregation delve together into the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual challenges of seeing their nation’s history through an unfamiliar and painful lens. It is hoped that discussion groups will find the capacity and the encouragement to take follow-on action afterward. The guide provides plans for a single session or a series of three.Click here for the discussion guide.

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Author's Note

Introduction: This Land
One: Follow the Corn
Two: Culture of Conquest
Three: Cult of the Covenant
Four: Bloody Footprints
Five: Birth of a Nation
Six: The Last of the Mohicans and Andrew Jackson’s White Republic
Seven: Sea to Shining Sea
Eight: “Indian Country”
Nine: US Triumphalism and Peacetime Colonialism
Ten: Ghost Dance Prophesy: A Nation is Coming
Eleven: The Doctrine of Discovery
Conclusion: The Future of the United States

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