Book Review: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz


Greetings.  After a few weeks of The Thugbrarian Review being on hiatus, I am slowly getting back in the swing. Today we have An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, an eye-opening history from the perspective of the vanquished Indigenous population. As promised, I am also pairing this review with a taste of the music that I was listening to while reading this book. This week I listened to Ethyl Meatplow, so be sure to check out the link and listen to them yourself.

History of US


An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Beacon Press (2014), Hardcover, 296 pages

As a life-long student of history, I found it refreshing to read a history book that was written on behalf of those who were conquered, rather than by “the Victors”, as is usually the case. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz offers a unique take on American History, one that paints the early United States not as a protector of freedom, but as a “Colonialist settler-state, one that, like colonialist European states, crushed and subjugated the original civilizations in the territories it now rules” (p14).

The first section of the book offers a great overview of the indigenous cultures that thrived in the America’s for at least 30,000 years, such as the various languages, religions, and trade routes which stretched from present day South America, up into Canada.  Dunbar-Ortiz then goes on to discuss the United States’ drive to eradicate the indigenous population in the name of Manifest Destiny, underlining the hunger for land and resources by settlers, and the American government, which slaughtered whole tribes, and subjugated what was left in its march to settle the entire continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Broken treaties, ethnic cleansing and outright land-grabs become  the historical modus operandi of our forefathers, rather than the Founding Myth that we have all been taught in grade school.

While I found this book to be informative, and extremely interesting,  it is not a comprehensive history, and many of the resources cited are secondary and tertiary resources-but to have all of this information pertaining to Anglo-Indigenous relations throughout our country’s history in one volume makes for an eye-opening lesson.  That said, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States forces one to view our country’s treatment of the indigenous in a more sobering light, minus the patriotic, “White Man’s Burden” mindset that encompasses so much of our history written by Nationalists, or apologist historians..

I am giving this book 4 stars, not because it is particularly stellar, but because it is an important work that goes a long way in bringing more honesty to the history of our country’s founding, particularly our nation’s treatment of the indigenous populations of North America.  I recommend that any and all who are interested in America’s  history should read this book- the new perspective is hopefully just the beginning of a new paradigm in historical research, one that views events and their effects from all points of view, not just the winners.

**** (4 out of 5)

Thugbrarian Set-List: Ethyl Meatplow- Happy Days, Sweetheart

happy days, sweetheart

Ethyl Meatplow were not a well-known band, but they were an amazing mix of Industrial, Disco, Punk, and New Wave. This Cd was sitting in a box for the last 2 years, and I just came across it. I have been listening to it non-stop ever since. Unfortunately, this was their only album. Check out the song Queenie HERE



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November 17, 2014 · 7:33 am

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