95 pages 3 hours read

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Jean Mendoza, Debbie Reese

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People

Nonfiction | Book | YA | Published in 2019

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Key Figures

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Born in 1938, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz grew up in poverty in rural Oklahoma. She participated in civil rights movements in the 1960s and 70s, including as a cofounder of the Women’s Liberation Movement and No More Fun and Games, the first women’s liberation journal. Her working-class background and partial Indigenous heritage gave her a unique perspective from others in the New Left. She also supported Indigenous peoples in Nicaragua during the Contra War between US-trained counterrevolutionaries and the Sandinista regime. She documents these events in three memoirs: Red Dirt (1997), Outlaw Woman (2002), and Blood on the Border (2005).

Dunbar-Ortiz earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of California at Los Angeles. At California State University, Hayward, she taught in the new Native American Studies Program and helped create its Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies departments. Her first book, The Great Sioux Nation (1977), covers the Sioux’s efforts to protect its sovereignty and the 1973 Wounded Knee protest. Roots of Resistance (1980) focuses on Indigenous and Mexican efforts to protect its social heritage in New Mexico. Following An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States in 2015, Dunbar-Ortiz published books on common myths in 2016’s All the Real Indians Died Off, the Second Amendment in 2018’s Loaded, and historical revisionism in 2020’s Not ‘a Nation of Immigrants.

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