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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Introduction-Chapter 2

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Introduction Summary: “This Land”

Like many nations, the United States prefers a unifying origin story that reflects its ideals. This story is that Europeans traveled to the Western Hemisphere in search of freedom and a better life. This ignores the Doctrine of Discovery’s true intent: That Europeans owned any lands that they “discovered” and could suppress the people living there (4). As social advancements make the US’s treatment of Indigenous nations and enslaved Africans impossible to ignore, history books shift the narrative to one of either cultural conflict or multiculturalism. Neither is honest about how the United States engaged in a prolonged campaign of “settler colonialism” that promoted slavery, genocide, and land theft (11). The first law passed by the United States, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, was to let settlers live in Native lands in the Great Lakes region.

More than 15 million people lived in what is now the United States before the arrival of European settlers. That number is now 3 million people representing 500 indigenous nations. Their land base fell to 156 million acres by 1881 and 50 million acres by 1934 with further reductions afterward. Many reside in 300 reservations. Works such as the novel The Last of the Mohicans and the statue The End of the Trail depict Native people as dead or defeated, but they continue to resist

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