Many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, whether in political debates or discussions about immigration, proudly state 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 genocide, white supremacy, slavery, and structural inequality, all of which we still grapple with today.
While some of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants, others are descendants of those who were here since time immemorial and others are descendants of those who were kidnapped and forced here against their will. This acclaimed author suggests that we need to stop believing and perpetuating this simplistic and a historical idea and urges readers to embrace a more complex and honest history of the United States.
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz grew up in rural Oklahoma in a tenant farming family. She has been active in the international Indigenous movement for more than 4 decades and is known for her lifelong commitment to national and international social justice issues. Dunbar-Ortiz is the winner of the 2017 Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize, and is the author or editor of many books, including An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, a recipient of the 2015 American Book Award. She lives in San Francisco. Not A Nation of Immigrants is scheduled to be released in August 2021 by Beacon Press.