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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Index of Terms


Assimilation is an attempt by a dominant culture to convince less dominant cultures to adopt its values. This takes several forms throughout the history of the United States, including Christian missions and boarding schools. But even well-intended endeavors often come from a perspective of White supremacy, as Indigenous peoples faced beatings for following their traditional practices. Massacres of the Moravian Delaware also demonstrate how assimilation did not necessarily protect Indigenous peoples from violence.


Calvinism is John Calvin’s 16th century interpretation of Christianity. In addition to strict adherence to biblical doctrine, Calvinists believed in predestination—that humans have no free will or control over their spiritual fate. As one of the “elect,” however, obedient Calvinists have the highest prospect for salvation and should interpret material wealth as a sign of divine favor. Calvinist beliefs, extreme even for their time, influenced American exceptionalism and disdain towards disadvantaged populations.

Doctrine of Discovery

The Doctrine of Discovery is a set of Catholic Church communications in the 1400s CE proclaiming that any Europeans who “discover” Indigenous land have ownership over it. These instructions drove the invasion of peoples in the Western Hemisphere, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. This doctrine continues to shape history classes by presenting conquests as exploration and settlements.

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