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Not a Nation of Immigrants: Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion

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Debunks the pervasive and self-congratulatory myth that our country is proudly founded by and for immigrants, and urges readers to embrace a more complex and honest history of the United States Whether in political debates or discussions about immigration around the kitchen table, many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, will say proudly that we are a nation of immi Debunks the pervasive and self-congratulatory myth that our country is proudly founded by and for immigrants, and urges readers to embrace a more complex and honest history of the United States Whether in political debates or discussions about immigration around the kitchen table, many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, will say proudly that we are a nation of immigrants. In this bold new book, historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz asserts this ideology is harmful and dishonest because it serves to mask and diminish the US's history of settler colonialism, genocide, white supremacy, slavery, and structural inequality, all of which we still grapple with today. She explains that the idea that we are living in a land of opportunity--founded and built by immigrants--was a convenient response by the ruling class and its brain trust to the 1960s demands for decolonialization, justice, reparations, and social equality. Moreover, Dunbar-Ortiz charges that this feel good--but inaccurate--story promotes a benign narrative of progress, obscuring that the country was founded in violence as a settler state, and imperialist since its inception. While some of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants, others are descendants of white settlers who arrived as colonizers to displace those who were here since time immemorial, and still others are descendants of those who were kidnapped and forced here against their will. This paradigm shifting new book from the highly acclaimed author of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States charges that we need to stop believing and perpetuating this simplistic and a historical idea and embrace the real (and often horrific) history of the United States.


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Debunks the pervasive and self-congratulatory myth that our country is proudly founded by and for immigrants, and urges readers to embrace a more complex and honest history of the United States Whether in political debates or discussions about immigration around the kitchen table, many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, will say proudly that we are a nation of immi Debunks the pervasive and self-congratulatory myth that our country is proudly founded by and for immigrants, and urges readers to embrace a more complex and honest history of the United States Whether in political debates or discussions about immigration around the kitchen table, many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, will say proudly that we are a nation of immigrants. In this bold new book, historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz asserts this ideology is harmful and dishonest because it serves to mask and diminish the US's history of settler colonialism, genocide, white supremacy, slavery, and structural inequality, all of which we still grapple with today. She explains that the idea that we are living in a land of opportunity--founded and built by immigrants--was a convenient response by the ruling class and its brain trust to the 1960s demands for decolonialization, justice, reparations, and social equality. Moreover, Dunbar-Ortiz charges that this feel good--but inaccurate--story promotes a benign narrative of progress, obscuring that the country was founded in violence as a settler state, and imperialist since its inception. While some of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants, others are descendants of white settlers who arrived as colonizers to displace those who were here since time immemorial, and still others are descendants of those who were kidnapped and forced here against their will. This paradigm shifting new book from the highly acclaimed author of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States charges that we need to stop believing and perpetuating this simplistic and a historical idea and embrace the real (and often horrific) history of the United States.

30 review for Not a Nation of Immigrants: Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion

  1. 5 out of 5

    Randall Wallace

    As Mahmood Mamdani brilliantly reminds us, “If Europeans in the United states were immigrants, they would have joined the existing societies of the New World. Instead, they destroyed those societies and built a new one that was reinforced by later waves of settlement.” Settlers, unlike immigrants, demand they carry their sovereignty with them (Zionism, anyone?). Mamdani also said that a deracialized U.S. would still remain “a settler society and a settler state.” Roxanne’s book’s central thesis: As Mahmood Mamdani brilliantly reminds us, “If Europeans in the United states were immigrants, they would have joined the existing societies of the New World. Instead, they destroyed those societies and built a new one that was reinforced by later waves of settlement.” Settlers, unlike immigrants, demand they carry their sovereignty with them (Zionism, anyone?). Mamdani also said that a deracialized U.S. would still remain “a settler society and a settler state.” Roxanne’s book’s central thesis: “The nation of immigrants myth erases the fact that the United States was founded as a settler state from its inception and spent the next hundred years at war against Native Nations in conquering the continent.” US Liberals and the Right still see our Revolutionary War as anti-colonialists overthrowing British colonists. Progressives today see Revolutionary War as devotees of both settler-colonialism and racial capitalism (ex-land surveyor and slave holder GW and crew) mortally threatened by the Royal Proclamation of 1763 (stop your settler-colonial land-dispossessing crimes) and the British Somerset Decision of 1772 (stop your backwoods racial capitalism crimes - a.k.a. $LAVERY). The 1763 Proclamation was opposed to continued stealing through plunder the thousand-year-old native villages in the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region. In the Smithsonian locked away is a photograph taken by a US Cavalry soldier of an Indian baby lying in a field of snow shredded by a Gatling gun. We are not supposed to see this photo.” The first US immigration law was the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. The NRA was once a rather benign organization until taken over by the white nationalist Second Amendment Foundation, actually founded by the border chief of “Operation Wetback”. The Second Amendment at that point became a white nationalist cause. The average number of guns by US gun owners today? Eight. Picture westward expansion through native land with “settlers armed to the teeth”. A full third of the continental US was “brutally annexed through a war of conquest” in 1848. Note that: “Trump was not against European immigrants.” In the hit play “Hamilton”, Hamilton and Lafayette both laughingly proclaim after the battle of Yorktown: “Immigrants: We Get Things Done”. What rubbish. Hamilton was then (1781) a citizen of Great Britain and Lafayette was a French militarist soon to return to France. Miranda’s Hamilton is based on a hagiography written by a guy not even trained in history (Ron Chernow). In real life, Hamilton was a hard liner on the presence of foreigners. Experts on Aaron Burr thought the play depicted Burr wrongly. Burr was a man of the Enlightenment, championing press freedom, criminal justice reform, and the rights of women and immigrants. “George Washington raffled off slave children to pay his debts.” Hamilton sided with the French during the Haitian Revolution and not with the Blacks seeking freedom and liberty. This play wouldn’t dare tell you that Hamilton himself bought and sold slaves; instead, the play Hamilton is a liberal feel-good US origin fantasy which erases both slavery and the indigenous while turning racist founders (signing documents to EXCLUDE all non-whites) conveniently into men of color. No wonder, progressives didn’t buy such selling of the deeds of wealthy white men as musical entertainment, even with the buttered popcorn. Hamilton even talked about sending the US army into Spanish Florida, and then continuing on to Central and South America. What a douchebag. Our founders were neither oppressed nor colonized. Instead, call them imperialists who envisioned the taking of the entire continent as spoils. The 1787 Northwest Ordinance had provisions taken from prior British settler-colonialism in Ulster. One thing that separated our founders from the British, was that our founders were collectively able to say the rather contradictory expression “empire of liberty” without breaking out laughing. The primary motive for settler-colonialism is not race, but territory. The US was founded as a “settler-colonial, fiscal military state” promising free land to white males in order to push “recruiting and motivating settlers to squat on Indigenous people’s lands.” Much native land division was done with surveyor’s Gunter chains placed twenty-two yards apart. Daniel Boone is an icon of US settler-colonialism. Our Western Territories stayed territories so long because of clear continued native resistance to US settler-colonialism. Let’s listen to Union General Sherman explaining his US army directives: “We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women, and children… during an assault, the soldiers cannot pause to distinguish between male and female, or even discriminate as to age.” US state violence clearly against those who committed no crime permeates our history, if you allow yourself to see it. Did you know US military annals STILL lists the Wounded Knee Massacre as a victorious “battle”? Most of us have learned years back about the Trail of Tears under Andrew Jackson but not that the Navajo and Dakota Nations were also forced to march away from their homelands during the Civil War. Remember that it was the theoretical “good” Union side of the Civil War that actually committed the Sand Creek Massacre. Conservative Christians will love that Colonel Chivington, who led that massacre was nothing less than a Methodist pastor; no doubt their Constantinian Jesus would have loved Chivington’s wanton killing of infants for future crimes. Where did the US Army go after the Civil War? Injun hunting – six of the seven divisions went west of the Mississippi – as Zionists know, settler-colonialism can’t dispossess people without keeping up some nasty looming threat of ultimate violence. This led to the brutal murder of “tens of millions of bison” by countless white wetiko losers. Don’t forget: This Wild West violence by gun shitshow started east of the Mississippi not west of it. Don’t buy the hype: genocidal intent you can repeatedly see since the founding of the US. Roxanne refers to the “settler state of Israel”. You can’t have an effective UN when the five most powerful nations have veto power for ANY resolution (and when two nations get to clearly act as rogue states defying international law). Roxanne says the nasty Doctrine of Discovery is still a fundamental law of the Unites States. Check that out. Jefferson said Doctrine of Discovery was international law – voila! Clear theft backed up by law. Brazil has more slave-descendants (65,000,000) than the US (41,000,000). However, the Caribbean imported more enslaved Africans than even Brazil. Slave Insurrections and the Haitian Revolution taught the Slave Trade a lesson: you are probably safer these days not importing but breeding your own slaves, so their only memories will be of being captive. The majority of profits from slavery came from “increased value of slaves’ bodies.” Today’s industrial hog and cattle farm owners can look nostalgically back to the forced breeding of black bodies in direct homage. Here’s wonderful party trivia: We know Hugo Boss gained fame designing for the Nazi’s, but did you know Brooks Brothers was heavily involved in the Slave Trade? When you want to adorn your human property to impress fellow racists, who else would you call, but Brooks Brothers? Bloodhounds were weaponized dogs trained “from pups to identify and hunt black people.” “Wanted” fliers could attract bounty hunters from 100 miles away. A loophole in the Thirteenth Amendment after the Civil War allows the incarceration of blacks in the South as an effective way to place them technically back in slavery (civiliter mortus). US Troops then couldn’t both enforce Reconstruction in the South by staying there, as well as get full-on settler-colonial on the remaining natives out West. The divisions had to choose. So, they went West. Theft of the West (under Sherman, Sheridan, Crook, Custer, et al) easily won out over continuing the now conveniently forgotten “end slavery” motif of the Civil War. In 1871, an Army commander said the entire US Army couldn’t protect the entire South. The Confederate Army would informally reconstitute itself as the Ku Klux Klan. Here’s a joke: The country that has the most money and recently contributed most violence to wars around the world, is (here’s the punch line) unwilling to allow the refugees it generated to move to the US. Racial codes were invented to justify genocide. Go beyond the 1846 invasion of Mexico and look at the 1806 US spy mission into Mexico in hopes to annex it. See US imperialism as there from inception, and NOT as a period (the way it is taught). Replace the words expansion and manifest destiny with imperialism. Howard Lamar traces US colonialism to the 1787 Northwest Ordinance. Jefferson sent off Lewis & Clark as well as Zebulon Pike on two military missions out West to scout native lands and map military strength and Spanish assets. The first job of the Texas Rangers was ten white men hired to kill resident locals who didn’t voluntarily leave their homes. The Rangers were born as, and long remained, a semi-autonomous ethnic-cleansing machine. 500 Mexicans ended up being lynched by people related to the Texas Rangers. When Marines sing “The Halls of Montezuma…” they actually are glorifying the illegal US invasion of Mexico and brutal six-month occupation involving burning fields and villages and murdering and torturing civilian resisters. Hey, if you can’t sing in a crew cut about being a brutal aggressor defying international law, how else can you be patriotic? It’s important to know that the Pueblos also have a case against the Spanish for settler-colonialism: they reduced the Pueblo landbase to 5% while reducing the population by 90%. During US desegregation, the longest anti-busing battle happened not in the South, but in Boston (right wing populism). In 1155, England invades Ireland, but colonization is only completed in 1801. The plantation of Ulster is forced on Ireland and acts as the settler-colonial template for the British. The settlers were Protestant on an all-Catholic island. “Traditional songs and music forbidden, whole clans exterminated, and families crushed with debt and hunger.” The Irish Potato Famine (1,000,000+ died) was colonial genocide. The Irish were deemed a surplus population, like the people of the Slavic regions were deemed by Hitler (for lebensraum). Irish food was exported from Ireland by Britain during the famine (Britain did this same forced genocidal famine thing to India and Iran as well). An Ulster Scot scientist wrote the settler-colonial concept out clearly: The race [Celtic] must be forced from the soil; by fair means, if possible; still, they must leave. England’s safety requires it.” The solution to Cecil Rhodes for social problems was taking by force new lands “to settle the surplus population”. Cecil said, “The Empire, as I have always said, is a bread and butter question. If you want to avoid civil war, you must become imperialists.” Engels wrote of Ireland that “the country has been completely ruined by the English wars of conquest from 1100 to 1850.” Who were the settler-colonials in Northern Ireland? The Protestant Scots-Irish. Who were the hung-ho settler-colonialists and the biggest thieves of the hunting grounds and farmlands of Natives on the US drive westward? The Protestant Scots-Irish, had lots of years of prior experience in taking other people’s land by force back in Ireland. In the US, they created a “veritable human shield of colonial civilization.” They were “good foot soldiers” of both empires. After 1840, even the Catholic Scots-Irish joined the settler-colonial bandwagon because settler-colonialism became one of the fastest tickets out of Stigmatown for Irish Catholics in the anti-Catholic United States. The Irish become “white” in the US, by openly becoming patriotic settlers. While committing acts of violence against natives you could sidetrack yourself with the thought that the US once fought England just as you as Irish once fought England. And you could get your brutality out in that kinky new American Style – by clearly violently targeting specifically those who did you no wrong. The fatal mistake of the Irish Catholic settlers was that they did not also see clearly how “settler colonialism in the US was patterned after the English settler-colonialism in Ireland.” Fredrick Douglas after visiting Ireland noted how easily the recently oppressed Irish are “instantly taught when they step upon our soil to hate and despise the Negro.” As a Quaker and half-Irish reader, learning the role of Protestant Scots-Irish in US settler-colonialism (although before my ancestors arrived) was depressing but important corrective news for me. If the 150-foot-long DC memorial to US war dead in Vietnam were adjusted to cover the length of the names of the Vietnamese dead instead (with the same font and size), it would be nine miles long. In Hitler’s sequel to Mein Kampf (I’m guessing Dein Kampf?) he accurately called the US a “race-state”. “After World War II, the US was paying 75 percent of the cost of French military operations in Vietnam.” Lieutenant Calley explained after My Lai, “I looked at communism as a southerner looks at a Negro, supposedly. It’s evil. It’s bad.” The US in Laos tried to destroy the Pathet Lao but even after dropping a whopping 2 million tons of cluster bombs, failed pathetically. Did you know that not one, but five US administrations tried to assassinate Muammar Gaddafi of Libya? Ah, the joys of being a shamelessly bipartisan rogue state. It’s past time to really look at the immigrant’s role in US settler colonialism, and Roxanne’s book is an excellent way to do that. What a perfect book for descendants of immigrants to not just understand settler-colonialism in the US past but also how the Americanization process “sucks them into complicity with white supremacy and erasure of the indigenous peoples.” I rarely vote a book five stars on Goodreads because it means “amazing”, but this book exactly fills a critical niche that must be filled. Bravo.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bookworm

    Decided to read this because of the topic. I had read a few of books by the author, had never been particularly a fan of her writing style, but decided it was worth reading what she might have to say. The premise is probably not difficult to grasp: despite the trope that the United States is one of immigrants, it is actually far more complicated and darker than that. That this was land that was stolen from Native people, and that slaves were brought from Africa to build it is a narrative that doe Decided to read this because of the topic. I had read a few of books by the author, had never been particularly a fan of her writing style, but decided it was worth reading what she might have to say. The premise is probably not difficult to grasp: despite the trope that the United States is one of immigrants, it is actually far more complicated and darker than that. That this was land that was stolen from Native people, and that slaves were brought from Africa to build it is a narrative that does not get discussed remembered enough. Especially when viewed from how people do not understand the historical, societal, political, etc. ramifications that are still felt through this moment. Overall, I thought this was an extremely strange book. I was put off by the author starting off with Alexander Hamilton and the well-known musical production. I understood the author was trying to make, but it felt weirdly like the author really wanted to talk about the musical instead. Like the previous books, I found the writing style really tough to get through. Dunbar-Ortiz is not an author for me, although I fully acknowledge she has very important things to say. But I'd definitely supplement this work with something else. Library borrow for me and that was best.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Benja

    4.5. Def important book. scope is very broad though which makes it a little disorganized and there are times where you want more info. very worth the read though!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Josephine Ensign

    Having liked her previous book, An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, I expected to like this book as well. I found its tone to be off-putting and detracting from the power of the story, as well as unfocused and even confusing in its attempt to cover every possible racial and ethnic group in the United States. Having liked her previous book, An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, I expected to like this book as well. I found its tone to be off-putting and detracting from the power of the story, as well as unfocused and even confusing in its attempt to cover every possible racial and ethnic group in the United States.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Viola

    Interview with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: Indigenous Peoples’ Day Shared with Columbus Day Is a “Contradiction” October 11, 2021 GUEST Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz historian, writer and author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. President Biden has formally recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a federal holiday, following a growing movement to debunk the myth of Christopher Columbus as a beneficent discoverer and replace it with recognition that the arrival of Columbus in the Bahamas unlea Interview with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: Indigenous Peoples’ Day Shared with Columbus Day Is a “Contradiction” October 11, 2021 GUEST Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz historian, writer and author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. President Biden has formally recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a federal holiday, following a growing movement to debunk the myth of Christopher Columbus as a beneficent discoverer and replace it with recognition that the arrival of Columbus in the Bahamas unleashed a brutal genocide that massacred tens of millions of Native people across the hemisphere. But the holiday will continue to be shared with Columbus Day, which many argue glorifies the nation’s dark history of colonial genocide that killed millions of Native people. “It’s just not appropriate to celebrate Columbus and Indigenous peoples on the same day. It’s a contradiction,” says author and historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. “Genocidal enslavement is what Columbus represents.” Transcript AMY GOODMAN: Today marks the first time the United States as a nation will recognize the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This follows a growing movement to debunk the myth of Christopher Columbus as beneficent discoverer and replace it with recognition that the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Bahamas unleashed a brutal genocide that massacred tens of millions of Native peoples across the hemisphere. President Biden Friday issued the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day to honor, quote, “our diverse history and the Indigenous peoples who contribute to shaping this Nation.” Indigenous Peoples’ Day is now a paid state holiday in Alaska, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon — which celebrates both Columbus Day and Native American Day — and South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin. More than a hundred U.S. cities have also replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Even Columbus, Ohio, the largest city named after the Italian invader, stopped celebrating Columbus Day in 2018. Last year, it declared October 12th Indigenous Peoples’ Day, with the Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin saying, quote, “It’s impossible to think about a more just future without recognizing these original sins of our past,” she said. On Friday, Associated Press reporter Aamer Madhani questioned White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki about Indigenous Peoples’ Day. AAMER MADHANI: The president became the first U.S. president to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Why should the U.S. continue to celebrate Columbus Day? And has there been any talk or discussion of — as many cities and, I think, a few states have shifted from Columbus Day to an Indigenous Peoples’ Day? PRESS SECRETARY JEN PSAKI: Well, today is both Columbus Day, as of now — and this is why you’re asking the question — as well as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. I’m not aware of any discussion of ending that — either of — ending the prior federal holiday, at this point. But I know that recognizing today as Indigenous Peoples’ Day is something that the president felt strongly about personally. He’s happy to be the first president to celebrate and to make it the — the history moving forward. AMY GOODMAN: For more, we’re joined by two guests. In New Mexico, Jennifer Marley, a member of The Red Nation, a grassroots Indigenous liberation organization that helped lead a campaign in 2015 to officially recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she’s a citizen of San Ildefonso Pueblo and a Ph.D. student in the American Studies Department at the University of New Mexico. Also with us, from San Francisco, one of the first cities to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day, is Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, historian and author of many books, including An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States and, most recently, Not “A Nation of Immigrants”: Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and [Exclusion]. It includes a chapter on Columbus and so-called Columbus Day. We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, let’s begin with you. San Francisco, very early on, I believe decades ago, recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Can you talk about the first presidential proclamation, Biden on Friday, recognizing it, the significance of this? ROXANNE DUNBAR-ORTIZ: Well, thank you, Amy. And hello, Jennifer. Yeah, you know, actually, it was Berkeley that first recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 1992 during the quincentennial. San Francisco came, I think, about five or six years later. But Berkeley — you know, things start in Berkeley. People think they’re crazy there, and then suddenly it’s everywhere. So, that was important. It was an effort of Ohlone people, Native people from all over Northern California and wonderful allies in Berkeley. So, that was the beginning. We haven’t gotten rid of Fleet Week, which just was here for a week, warships in our bay and the Blue Angels strafing us for five days to celebrate Columbus, and the Italian parade in North Beach. So, it’s still — you know, Columbus is still being celebrated. But I think it’s important to know that ever since the holiday has been — since Franklin Roosevelt made it a federal holiday, Native people have spoken out against this, and it can be documented back into the 1940s, but especially in 1977, when Indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere went to the United Nations, to the Palais des Nations in Geneva, where the human rights bodies are located, and were welcomed there, a hundred representatives. And one of the main demands they made in the — you know, which finally became the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007, was that October 12th be considered and named the International Day of Solidarity and Mourning with the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. And I think that was when, internationally and nationally, the real movement was set off. And, of course, we had looming ahead of us the quincentenary of 1992, which Spain and the United States, in particular, teamed up to make a huge celebration worldwide. They failed miserably, thanks to Native people mobilizing, not just in the Western Hemisphere but really all over the world. So, I think the developments at the U.N. with the Indigenous peoples going onto the world stage has really made this possible. I never thought I would see it, you know, in the 1960s or '70s. It didn't seem like there would ever be any questioning of the role of Columbus. But it will be a long struggle still. It’s just not appropriate to celebrate Columbus and Indigenous peoples on the same day. It’s a contradiction. One is a genocidal enslavement, is what Columbus represents. And the situation of Native people today, still under colonialism, with shrunken land bases and not true sovereignty, is the fruit of that beginning, and they’re completely contradictory. So, it would require an act of Congress, and that would be difficult. The Italian community and the Catholic Church would definitely oppose this, so we have really a long ways to go to make it real. But, as Jennifer said, it’s the Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and it cannot be coopted into tolerating Columbus being alongside it. AMY GOODMAN: You write in @TeenVogue, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, “As of 2020, there were some 150 statues of Columbus across the US, most but not all of them the work of the Catholic lay organization, the Knights of Columbus and Italian communities. During the Black Lives Matter mass mobilization in 2020, at least 33 of the statues were either pulled down by protestors or removed by authorities for safe keeping storage.” Can you talk about the forces behind this recent activism? ROXANNE DUNBAR-ORTIZ: Well, I think the most significant part of that — and Jennifer knows it, you know, on the ground — is the #BlackLivesMatter-led movement teamed up — I think it was when it was Albuquerque and Minnesota, especially, where the fusion of — and solidarity like I’ve never seen came together to take down those Columbus statues in Albuquerque and Minneapolis, and also in Albuquerque the Spanish conquistadors, who are so worshiped by the Hispanos there. And that was really significant. I think one thing that surprised me was, when they were taking them down in the state Capitol, I actually was not aware that they had a Queen Isabella statue there, too, so that was taken down, as well, you know, the Spanish conqueror of Mexico and where New Mexico and, of course, California are. So we had a double whammy here in the Southwest and California of the Spanish conquest and Columbus really being closer to the grain than most U.S. Anglo people really understand. So I think that’s why you find such profound actions in New Mexico and Tano-Tewa land that Jennifer is in. This is going to be the — this is a real leadership, you know, really, of the national Native movement. AMY GOODMAN: And we’re going to go to New Mexico in one minute, but I wanted to ask you about your latest book, Not “A Nation of Immigrants”: Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and [Exclusion]. Before that, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. Not an immigrant nation — you’re sort of debunking that term that President Kennedy coined, right? “An immigrant nation.” ROXANNE DUNBAR-ORTIZ: Yes, yes. John F. Kennedy, when he was senator, wrote a little book, published it, which has been a best-seller ever since, and it really seeped into the whole liberal culture, I would say. I don’t think right-wingers carry that book around. But it was called A Nation of Immigrants. And, of course, he was Catholic and a child of Irish immigrants, and this had never happened before, president that was not Anglo-Saxon or Scots-Irish and descended from the original settlers. So he had quite a hill to climb to make himself palatable. So, I think that the way was already paved, I think, by the previous half-century or more with the work of the Knights of Columbus. The Knights were formed in 1882 and by Irish clerics. Most of the Irish famine immigrants who had come in the 1840s, really refugees, had — it took, you know, 20 or 30 years to sort of assimilate into — they had an advantage of speaking English, unlike the Italians, who came in the 1890s and turn of the century in great numbers. So, they absorbed. They really presented — the Catholic Church presented to the Italians this idea of the lineage of Columbus. And it was already there in the political or mythical culture in the United States. They actually discussed — I didn’t know this 'til I did the research — they actually discussed, the Founders, naming the United States Columbia, which is Latin for “the land of Columbus.” And that really was surprising to me, because I thought it was really more an invention of the late 19th century with the Knights of Columbus. But there is this mythology of Columbus as the founder of the United States, the actual founder of the United States. So, I think that attachment — that makes me better understand that attachment to Columbus statues everywhere, that is kind of in the — it's not spoken about, but it’s just kind of in the culture. And, of course, it is greatly amplified by Italians taking it up as a way of becoming Americanized. And, of course, there was no Italy when Columbus — he was from Genoa, a city-state. He died in Spain. So, you know, it’s a very weak link to Italianness. And, of course, Italians have such illustrious people they can celebrate, that everyone celebrates — Michelangelo, Vivaldi and, of course, for us on the left, Sacco and Vanzetti. You know, it really is — I think we have to really talk about this, and I think it’s important. You know, these symbols are very important for how people think, a kind of Americanism and, you know, a patriotism that is based on such falsehood, and the reality of slavery, enslavement of Africans, which is a part of that package of Columbus. The Holy See, the papal bulls had already given Africa to the Portuguese when Columbus came to the Americas, and then they gave — through a papal bull, 1493, gave all the Americas to the Spanish. They could enslave. It was the permission to enslave, legally, under the Holy Roman Empire. So, yeah, it’s a very, very deep history I tried to do, and not making it too archival and hard to read but just laying it out. And I think the book has a dynamism simply because I was learning so much as I wrote it. AMY GOODMAN: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, I want to thank you for being with us, historian and author of many books, including An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United Statesand, most recently, her book Not “A Nation of Immigrants”: Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and [Exclusion]. Next up, we go to New Mexico, a site of major Indigenous activism. We’ll speak with a member of @RedNation, which helped lead the campaign for @Albuquerque to recognize #IndigenousPeoplesDay. Stay with us. Source https://www.democracynow.org/2021/10/...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carl

    Carries identity politics off the deep end making me feel like - gasp - a Republican. For me, Jared Diamond is the book to read about the wrongs of colonialism & maybe the only book to read. As for racism, it might suffice to recognize the dichotomy between "us" and "other". We are not the only racist society, just one of the very few struggling to come to terms with our racism. Think this is a case of academics having no clue about "enough is enough"! Carries identity politics off the deep end making me feel like - gasp - a Republican. For me, Jared Diamond is the book to read about the wrongs of colonialism & maybe the only book to read. As for racism, it might suffice to recognize the dichotomy between "us" and "other". We are not the only racist society, just one of the very few struggling to come to terms with our racism. Think this is a case of academics having no clue about "enough is enough"!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Em Hoggatt

    (dnf) This book is full of important, rarely discussed, U.S. history, but readers need to be willing to read something more academic than many of the other popular books being published now about racism and colonialism. This isn't a critique at all, the history covered in here deserves somber and thorough treatment. I want to revisit this book again someday, but it's too intense and dense for me to finish right now. (dnf) This book is full of important, rarely discussed, U.S. history, but readers need to be willing to read something more academic than many of the other popular books being published now about racism and colonialism. This isn't a critique at all, the history covered in here deserves somber and thorough treatment. I want to revisit this book again someday, but it's too intense and dense for me to finish right now.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Wayfaring_Jessica

    This is an amazing book. I think this is so important for every American to read. This is full of the facts and information that gets swept under the rug and needs to be aired out, faced, understood, and accepted. In order to truly understand our country and the issues faced by those who live in it, we must face the facts of our history.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Grant

    It’s funny reading reviews of this book when they get mad that Hamilton wasn’t historically accurate. Dunbar-Ortez has managed to succinctly bust a lot of myths around America’s colonised history. I highly recommend reading the books referenced in here especially Chomsky’s works.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Pie Resting-Place

    There is something liberating about calling a spade a spade, I appreciate what Dunbar-Ortiz has done here.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sydne

    A good introduction to the topic

  12. 4 out of 5

    Suzen

    Such an amazing book. I am a history nerd this is not just good information about racism but about little realized history facts. Accurate history is so important!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn Sue Michel

    The material is excellent, but a YA version or study guide would be helpful. It might also be helpful to read the last chapter first.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Audacia Ray

  15. 4 out of 5

    Zachary Ware

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Beatson

  17. 5 out of 5

    E Sucia

  18. 5 out of 5

    Conor Anstett

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nezka

  21. 4 out of 5

    Liz

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Nolan

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

  24. 4 out of 5

    Erika Piquero

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jack Emerian

  26. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mark Heintz

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Tiede

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lian Mann

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alan Marwine

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