So much has happened for Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States in the ten years since it was originally published. It won the American Book Award. It made the New York Times Best Sellers list in 2021. Filmmaker Raoul Peck used it as source material for his HBO docuseries Exterminate All the Brutes. The young adult version adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese came out in 2019. Since then, the YA adaptation has earned the honor of becoming a banned book in Texas. With the momentum going strong, it was time to put out a new edition celebrating the ten years the book has been centering Indigenous voices and narratives to wig-snatch US foundation myths.
For this occasion, the tenth-anniversary edition features new material. Raoul Peck himself wrote a foreword, telling us how, with his docuseries, his purpose was “to deconstruct the theological, political, and civilizational discourse the USA has been built on.” Dunbar-Ortiz’s book was necessary to reframe the legacy of European colonialism that trekked across the Atlantic to displace and destroy Native lives in the “New World” in the name of white supremacy. Today, we reject the mythos dressing up white supremacy as “discovery” because, as Peck noticed, her work “provide[s] the meticulous blow-by-blow testimony of this bloodiness, of this thoroughly planned, systematic elimination of the ‘natives,’ this country’s from-the-start open-book agenda for a conquest ‘from sea to shining sea.’”
In addition to Peck’s foreword, Dunbar-Ortiz wrote a new introduction. She takes stock of the transition from the Obama to the Trump administration. The despotic Cheeto years, in particular, prompted a nationwide soul-searching—you could call it an identity crisis—to ask how a supposedly post-racial country could ever vote for a former reality TV star/real estate magnate for president. “White nationalism and European/US colonialism are major themes in the book,” Dunbar-Ortiz writes, “but in my talks they had not been raised as much as other aspects until Trump openly expressed and celebrated white supremacy and armed white nationalist militias became normalized.” She has more than 400 years’ worth of receipts to show how a tyrant in chief could happen, to show the United States’ racist settler-colonial foundation for the bloody conquest that it is.
The tenth-anniversary edition also calls for a tour! It’s already underway and continues through Native American Heritage Month. These are the hubs Dunbar-Ortiz is visiting, many of which are hosting virtual events.
- October 9: City Lights, San Francisco, CA, virtual conversation with Manu Karuka Vimalassery
- October 10: Busboys and Poets, Washington, DC, virtual conversation with Professor Maylei Blackwell
- October 21: Sausalito Books by the Bay, Sausalito, CA, in-person book signing
- November 4: Book Passage, San Francisco, CA, in-person event
- November 11: Charis Books & More, Decatur, GA, virtual conversation with Dina Gilio-Whitaker
- November 18: Let’s Learn! Lloyd International College of the University of North Carolina, virtual author event
If you aren’t able to attend in person, you can catch her online. She has new insights to share for our post-lockdown timeline and what radically reframing our history with Native American struggle and resistance means today.
About the Author
Christian Coleman is the digital marketing manager at Beacon Press and editor of Beacon Broadside. Before joining Beacon, he worked in writing, copy editing, and marketing positions at Sustainable Silicon Valley and Trikone. He graduated from Boston College and the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop. Follow him on Twitter at @ and on Bluesky at @colemanthe2nd.bsky.social.