tv Book Discussion CSPAN October 11, 2014 8:30pm-9:51pm EDT
if not this microphone very similar to this one. when we are done speaking if you could hold your questions until i'm in your face with a microphone that would be wonderful just to make sure everyone can hear you and it will be heard on broadcast. tank you all so much for coming to book people tonight. we are an independent bookstore and your business is the single reason we exist. we could not put on events like this without you. for some energy why do we give ourselves a round of applause. [applause] we are thrilled to be joined tonight by author and activist roxanne dunbar-ortiz. tonight will be learning about roxanne's eighth book making us all feel lazy, "an indigenous peoples history of the united states." roxanne has been active in the international indigenous movement for more than four decades. she received her ph.d. from
ucla and went on to teach and a newly established native american studies program at cal state university. while there she helped found both the ethnic studies and women's studies departments. her 1977 book the great new nation was the fundamental document at the conference on indigenous peoples of the americas held at united nations headquarters in geneva. we are so thrilled to have you here tonight. please join us in welcoming roxanne dunbar-ortiz. [applause] >> thank you to all of you for coming out. this beautiful fall weather you are having. a little warm. [laughter] first i want to acknowledge that we are standing at this moment
on the traditional unseeded lands of the comanche and the apache peoples and its unseeded land. the translation of that is stolen. this book, i want to really thank book people. it's such a pleasure to be here. i so admired the show. i have never been inside. i have only seen it on c-span. they have recorded several times before here i think. it's a wonderful place, great audiences asking intelligent questions, so it's very nice to be here. this book "an indigenous peoples history of the united states" is part of beacon presses american histories -- america's history
inspired by beacon press. the peoples in my title has a possessive apostrophe after the s to refer to the more than 500 native american nations and communities in north america. it is their history of the united states that i have attempted to write about. i want to read from the introduction to the book which i call this land and i'm going to quote carlos williams against the american grain. this land, don't you feel it? doesn't make you want to go out to steal from them? as if it must be clinging to their corpses some authenticity.
so under the crust of that portion of the earth called the united states of america, from california to the gulf stream waters, the villages fields and sacred objects of american indians. they cry out for their stories to be heard through their descendents who carried the memories of how this country was founded and how it came to be as it is today. it should not have happened that the great civilization to the western hemisphere, the very evidence of the western hemisphere were wantonly destroyed. the gradual progress of humanity interrupted and said upon a path of greed and destruction.
the moment in which we now live and die as her planet shrivels overheated. to learn and know this history is both a necessity and a responsibility to the ancestors and descendents of all parties concerned but it's also an act of survival. what historian david cheng has written about that became oklahoma applies to the whole united states. nation race and class converged in land. everything in u.s. history is about land. who oversight and cultivated it, finished its waters, maintained his wildlife. who invaded, stole it, how it became a commodity, real estate broken into pieces to be bought and sold on the market. u.s. policies and actions related to indigenous people
often termed racist or discriminatory are really depicted as what they are, classic cases of imperialism and a particular form of coloniali colonialism. as australian apologist patrick wolf writes the question of genocide is never far from discussions of colonialism. land is life, or at least land is necessary for life. while writing u.s. history from an indigenous peoples perspective requires rethinking, the consensual narrative of the united states. that narrative is wrong or deficient not in its facts or details but rather in its essence. inherent in the meth we have
been taught it's an embrace of settler colonialism and genocide. that myth persists not for lack of free speech or poverty of information but rather the motivation to ask questions that challenge the core of the scripted narrative of the origins story. how might acknowledging the reality of u.s. history worked to transform the society? that is the central question this book pursues. teaching native american studies for a hate to admit it 35 years i always begin with a simple exercise. i ask my students to quickly draw a rough outline of the united states at the time it gained independence from brita britain. invariably most draw the approximate present shape of the united states from the atlantic to the pacific.
the continental territory is not fully appropriated until after its independence. what became independence in 1783 were the 13 british colonies hugging the atlantic shore. when called on to do this exercise and doing it wrong, students are embarrassed because they know better. they know immediately that that's not right. but i assure them they're not alone. in fact i call this a rorschach test of unconscious manifest destiny and better than minds of nearly everyone in the united states and around the world. this test reflects the seeming inevitability of the united states extent and power is destiny with an implication that they continent had previously been a land without people.
woody guthrie's beloved song or the alternative anthem to the "star spangled banner," this land is your land, celebrates that the land belongs to everyone reflecting the unconscious manifest destiny we live with. that the extension of the united states from sea to shining sea was the intention and design of the countries founders. free was the magnet that attracted european settlers. many became slaveowners who desired limitless land for cash crops and that was the basis for the accumulation of wealth that built the united states, and land in slave labor. after the war for independence with preceding the writing of the u.s. constitution the
continental congress produced a northwest ordinance. this was the first law of the republic revealing the motive for those desiring independence. it was the blueprint for gobbling up the british protected indian territory, the ohio country. at that time ohio was northwest of the new united states. this is land over the appalacian allegheny mountain chain. britain had made settlement there illegal proclamation of 1763 to remain indian country. in 1801, president jefferson aptly described the new settler states and tensions for horizontal and vertical continental expansion stating
however present interest may restrain us we have our own limits. it is impossible not to look forward too distant -- distant times when our rapid multiplication will expand itself beyond those limits and cover the whole northern if not the southern continent with people speaking the same language governed in a similar form by similar laws. this vision of manifest destiny found form a few years later in the monroe doctrine signaling the intention of dominating former spanish colonial territory in the americas and the pacific which will be put into practice during the rest of the century. we are now in some of that territory in spain and was annexed. oh i forgot, it won their freedom. narratives from the people's unifying identity and of the
values that guide them. in the united states the founding and development of the anglo-american settlers involved the narrative about puritan settlers who had a covenant with god to take the land. that part of the origins story supported and reinforced by the columbus doctrine of discovery. i don't know if you have heard the doctrine of discovery. i will explain it. according to a series of late 15th century papal bull's european nations acquired the land who discovered and the inhabitants lost their natural rights to that land after european survived and claimed it. it suggests that from u.s. independence onward colonial settlers call themselves part of the world system of colonization. columbia the poetic latin name
is referenced to the united states to the 19th century was based on the name christopher columbus. the land of columbus was and still is represented by the image of a woman in sculptures and paintings by institutions such as columbia university and by countless place names including that of the national capital, the district of columbia. the 1798 hymn hail columbia was the early national anthem and is now use whenever the vice president of the united states makes an appearance. columbus day is still a federal holiday despite almost never having stepped foot on the continent. traditionally historians of the united states hoping to have successful careers in academia and to offer greater school textbooks became protectors of
the origin myth. with the colonial of people in the academic world during the 1960s which i was proud to have had a role in, some other people here too, engendered by the civil rights movement and activism historians came to call for objectivity and fairness in revision in, in revision in interpretations of u.s. history. they warned against placing blame urging instead a dispassionate culturally relative approach. historian bernard cannon at the time wrote a very influential essay in which he called for a study of cultural conflict of people just not understanding each other that native and
euro-american nations were flocked with cultural conflict. and he even said right out that this approach diffuses the focus of guilt. in striving for balance however historians found platitudes. there were good and bad people on both sides. american culture is an amalgamation of all its ethnic groups. a frontier is the son of interaction between cultures not merely advancing european settlements. later or at the present trendy modernist studies insist on indigenous agency under the guise of collective empowerment making the casualties of colonialism rather responsible for their own demise. perhaps worst of all some claim and still claim, especially the
spanish and the vatican that the colonizer and the colonized experience and encounter and engage in dialogue thereby making reality, masking reality with justifications and rationalizations. in short apologies for one-sided robbery and murder. in focusing on cultural change and conflict between cultures, this kind of approach avoids fundamental questions about the formation of the united states and its implications for the present and the future. this approach to history allows one to safely criticize present responsibility for continued harm done by that past and the questions of reparations, restitution, restoration of land and pre-ordering of society.
multiculturalism became the cutting-edge of post-civil rights movements in the u.s. -- revising u.s. history. for this to work and a firm u.s. historicahistorica l progress and indigenous nations and communities had to be left out of the picture. as territorially entreaty-based people's in north america it did not fit into the grid of multiculturalism but were included by transforming them into an oppressed racial group and colonized mexican-americans and puerto ricans were dissolved into another such group variously called hispanic or latino. and then the whole question of the mexican border is blurred and not matter as well.
the multicultural approach emphasizes the contribution of individuals from oppressed groups to the countries assumed greatness. indigenous peoples were those credited with quarantines buckskin log cabins maple syrup canoes thanksgiving and even the concept of democracy and federalism. but this idea of the gift giving indian helping to establish and enrich the development of the united states was an insidious smokescreen meant to obscure the fact that the very existence of the country is the result of looting an entire continent and its resources. the fundamental unresolved issues of indigenous lands treaties and sovereignty could not be scuttled the premise of multiculturalism for indigenous peoples.
awareness of the settler colonialist context and history writing is essential if one is to avoid the laziness of the default position and the trap of a mythological unconscious belief and manifest destiny. the former colonialism and indigenous peoples of north america have experience with what -- was modern from the beginning. the formation and expansion of european corporations backed by government armies into foreign areas for subsequent expropriation of land and resources. settler colonialism as david cheng pointed out and patrick wolf is a genocidal policy inherently. native nations and communities while struggling to maintain fundamental values have from the beginning resisted colonialism using both offensive and
defensive techniques including modern forms of arms resistance, national liberation movements and what is now even called terrorism. and every is -- and since they have called for survival of peoples. the object of the u.s. colonialist authorities was to terminate their agency has peoples not as individuals. this contrasted with pre-modern instances of extreme violence that did not have the goal of extinction of a particular group. the united states is a socioeconomic and political entity is a result of a the centuries long and ongoing colonial process. modern indigenous nations and communities or societies warned by their resistance to colonialism for which they have carried their practices and histories. it is breathtaking that they
have survived as peoples because it was not the intention of the colonizers. to say that the united states is a colonial settler state is not to make an accusation but rather to face historical reality. without much consideration not much in u.s. history makes any sense at all. indigenous people are simply erased. but indigenous nations have survived and bear witness to this history. in the era of worldwide decolonization the second half of the 20th century, the former colonial powers and their intellectual apologists offer to counterforce often called neocolonialism for which multiculturalism and post-modernism and merged. although much revision of u.s. history reflects neo-colonialist strategy, an attempt to
accommodate new realities in order to retain the dominance. neo-colonialist method signal a certain victory for the colonized, for native peoples. such approach is a long kept -- one result has been the presence of significant numbers of indigenous scholars in u.s. universities for changing the terms of analysis. the main challenges these scholars have in revising u.s. history in the context of colonialism is not lack of information nor is it one of methodology or theory. certainly difficulties with documentation are no more problematic than they are in the other area of research. rather the sources of the problem has been the refusal or inability of u.s. historians to comprehend the nature of their
own history, u.s. history. the fundamental problem and the absence of a colonial framework. and in part also seeing history as civics as arthur schlesinger jr. said it. their economic penetration of indigenous societies the european and euro american colonial powers created economic dependency and imbalance of trade incorporated into nations. control them indirectly or as protector with indispensable use of christian missionaries and alcohol. in the case of u.s. settler colonialism is a primary commodity. with such obvious indicators of colonialism at work why should so many interpretations of u.s. political economic development be convoluted and obscured avoiding the obvious?
settler colonialism as an institution requires violence or the threat of violence to attain its goals. people do not hand over their land resources children and futures without a price -- fight in that fight is met with violence even if it's nonviolent in resisting. and the amount necessary to accomplish these expansionist goals is often extreme exemplary violence, seemingly insane if you look at andrew jackson's career as an indian hater but he was a cold calculating colonialist. and the extreme violence is an example to everyone else to behave. the notion that settler
indigenous conflict is in the evitable product of cultural differences and misunderstandings or violence was committed equally by the colonized in colonizers blurs the nature of the historical process. euro-american colonialism and aspect of the capitalistic globalization again in the 15th century had from its beginning a genocidal tendency. so i want to talk about genocide for a moment. i have used that word several times but it's a term of international law. the term genocide was first coined the following the show the holocaust and enshrined in the united nations convention adopted in 1948, the u.s. convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide.
the convention is not retroactive but it is applicable to united states indigenous relations since 1986 and other peoples in the united states and african-americans. in 1986 the u.s. senate finally ratified it after 40 years. very explicitly stalling for fear of accusations and genocide for native people and african-americans. the terms of the genocide convention are useful to those for historical analysis for the effects of -- in any area. the convention any one of five acts that are considered genocide if quote committed with the intent to destroy in whole or in part in national, ethnic racial or religious group. within that society.
so any one of these five things, obviously killing members. another is causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group it's doesn't require killing at all. another is deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of calculation to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. again it would not necessarily involve killing. imposing measures intended to prevent -- within the group. of course we have evidence of decades of sterilization of native women in puerto rican women. african-american women. and finally forcibly transferring children of the group to another group, boarding schools, federal religious ones.
in the 1990s the term ethnic cleansing became a district -- a descriptive term sort of to avoid using the term genocide but it's the same thing. it was just invented to water down, while it's not a war crime but it is not a good thing, sort of morally wrong because it's not written anywhere in international criminal law is clearly genocide is. raphael lemkin who coined the term genocide, noted in his book on the subject access rule in occupied europe, is often misunderstood and needs to be clear. he was also very important in
and forced to know launders speak their language of religion or cultural practices, even with that slightest bit of regret or tragedy in the annual celebration there is said deep disconnect. so in terms of the genocide convention with the case of the british north american colonization not only extermination but also of the prior existence of indigenous people this continues to be perpetuated. the historian o'brien says
it should be bursting and lasting and that is a book by highly recommend. with monuments of the story. and if there has never been occupancy. on the other hand, the last indians the last tribe such as the last of the mohicans ended the trail of this culture by james frazier. the documented policies on the administration can be identified in four distinct periods the jacksonian era of u.s. independents the
to the sellers. not all colonialism very few areas were under colonization under imperialism. in those colonies of australasia and with spanish colonization. and those that were very similar under the nation's policies. under classic colonialism the indigenous population is wanted for labor. in south asia, south america. so the project is not
limited to government policy but all kinds of agencies and the settlers themselves acting on their own but never being punished or curtail. any grants are brought over by the scandinavian immigrants and to the people are firming. the farmers' are put on top of them and they had to fight. they had to call the military in to do the job. that is how woodworks over and over. but the way many have the knowledge to genocide to write off native americans
as politics. but never recovering the original 10 million. but it is now the united states, and maybe one day but robust members. but this is the new erasure because with the winner takes all what does it matter? this is what anthropologist's called terminal narrative's. it is walking a fine mind. that's so sad but they are gone.
soviet to dismantling of indian history is. which did disappearance of indigenous people. with the termination can indigenous people african-american's civil rights movement and the broad base social justice the indigenous movement succeeded to reverse termination policy. with those legislative attempts again and again in the late '70s. at the indigenous movement. and the united states.
strengthening indigenous self-determination to prevent the further loss of the native plants will take general public outrage and demand that in turn will require the general population those of settlers and immigrants know their history and assume responsibility. with the powerful corporate forces that prey on the land from indian country, continues to have a profound implication for the future of the united states. but to have a little clearer picture there are more then
500 federally recognized indigenous communities in the united states that term is important because there are probably three times that many native people who don't have acknowledgement of the native people were moved east of the mississippi or indian territory during to jackson administration. not just the trail of tears but not everyone but again
that identity from eastern mississippi they're regrouping and reforming their communities and reconstructing there nation's and attempting to get federal in acknowledgement. >> of the original inhabitants of the land the majority of farmers this is a very important point just like other parts of the world. but the bison or the other animals. from farmers most of them
today that sustain us the wealthy people in terms of culture and sustenance that is another myth. were only a few people running around to because they did not own it individual as communities are as a collective. united states established the system of indian reservations which does not include all the people by any means. and some of the larger ones like navajo are the largest.
so within the limits of 310 federal recognized reservations indigenous resources extend to all federally acknowledged indigenous communities whether they have reservations or not. most reservations are severely fragmented each privately held land under multiple was in jurisdictions the navajo have the largest contingent land-based among the native nations nearly 16 million acres or 25,000 square miles.
larger than about 25 gates that have membership in the united nations. and you get the other aspect of this book is a major theme when it was at war with much of the world with indigenous people in the 19th century. demanding than enemy surrender unconditionally or face annihilation. it was inevitable the earlier wars against indigenous people have not acknowledge your repudiated through the world.
this has been written on this subject and called regeneration through violence. in the 20th century they overlap in to the caribbean with annexation in 1890. according to the oregon native it is more of a rebellion against oppression in that narrative flows of balding a deepening of democracy in the 20th century mission to save
europe from itself twice in the triumphant flight against communism with the burdensome task a narrative of progress in 1960 social revolution from the african american liberation to complicate the narrative but it is up period left intact. this incorporation of women and immigrants and latinos as contributors, this narrative produced a nation of immigrants from working and rhetoric which skews the practice with colonialism with immigration where we all come from somewhere
else. through the metropolitan centers through the industrial revolution many people to the extent they were included at all were renamed first american and cashed -- cast as immigrants it makes it difficult for effective resistance -- revisions in several gonopore in indigenous scholars tend to rectify and the findings are rejected on the basis to the thinking that has emerged in the colonized world these thinkers creatively apply to
marxism was developed in latin america. of social analysis end of the relative impose modern theory. and due to the exceptional nature of colonialism but it is engaged to explore new approaches. in this book i claim it is the history from the indigenous perspective but there is no such thing as a collective indigenous peoples perspective just like an african peoples
perspective and it is not in history that they can survive the gulf of mexico and canada between via atlantic ocean and pacific these are written now an extremely important i could not have written this book without access to all of them. and other indigenous communities and nations that have survived. they have a chance to tell the story of the united states that the european territories that the rules. with the united states
inhabited before they were displaced economically. but they're here today and there is still a colonized situation so we have a colonial situation in the united states today but will tell the history is understood it is hard to understand at and what that means for the whole society one implication is there will have to be political rearrangement is an changes because of the 100 million acres of land total including alaska and hawaii.
they were taken illegally outside of treaties and they need to be restored. the sacred areas that were taken like the black hills. of course, they have the sacred places so if we think about it that don't have to ask permission it doesn't mean being excluded but being responsible to those who are the stewards.
so hopefully you will think about these things and have some questions thank you very much. [applause] speeleven --. >> as most of us understand history but with the extraordinary hostility ibm and non patriots from the united states why don't i move somewhere else? it is a conflict of world views that you lay out in a difference of philip -- values to use modern terms
of genocide. they don't even want to pay attention to is the data it doesn't matter 97% of historians agree or not. >> if anyone has a better answer? [laughter] i have been committed to working on that but perhaps you are from my generation see you can say it has changed somewhat. for those of us who started to make this analysis starting in the '50s whose
have such great potential were crushed and all kinds of dictatorships and horrible governments came to power and going for the resources. is more difficult now that we refer started there were eight or nine. and trying to go to these different scholar of the association's and to the conferences he would write a
modern society that is colonized. but now i have decided to write this book as a way has clearly as possible i have a really good fortune that my publisher beacon press part of the unitarian church naming the doctor that discover of their own congregations with their committed with their own community get the word out
it seems like a small thing but it is very important maybe something like this is a way to reach conceptualize to talk as a defensive in my own family and i am a devout settler as we hear from settler is from a the beginning. so with my own family i have those accusations with a pat buchanan accusation trying
and of course, i was hooked. the leadership triose -- trials had ended-- served some prison time so i have done my dissertation. i was in the plays were pre-colonialism had taken place. said mexican state that was an interesting period of time and how they worked. so what is my specialization and? looking at oklahoma as the
different situation. but i was not asked to do this oral history of the treaty. but when you were asked by a group of elders to do something it is very hard or impossible to say no because they don't ask the question. [laughter] so i did a great sioux nation it was my first published book and the other thing is behind this to take it to the international level. these treaties behind the
united states while to remove the cherokee from georgia, they would've been locked them up they had us newspaper in that cherokee language then what handpick tueber three random cherokees but they agreed to go to that territory. so that is not legitimate. so the work i have been doing since we went to geneva 1977 going to a u.n. conference on indigenous
are almost always based on survival we're all getting on a survival mode it is important to look get these strategies. but the work of the united nations is important for people to be doing because by any government body, a government of governments they will go off on their own as politicians do there was the push not the international treaty with the world wide movement that had it not been for child advocates all over the world or the treaty against torture. it did not make a difference
in the united states with the government that was a completely useless body its own thing was completely separate it was the problematic institution with all of the committee's. at the end of the book i explain but also just go to you and.org the whole movement of the history and what we have accomplished their. >> talk about your research process. were there any unusual
documents or interviews thew encountered in the process of putting this book together? >> that is a really good question of. i have to say my long term discussed with santry jackson i did not know after they annihilation in alabama before he was president as a major general in the army he had soldiers strips the body of the dead and using it to make horseracing i did not
know that fact. but the rebellion comes from the genocidal campaign of the britons against the native people of massachusetts state. they also stripped the slave bodies as a medieval practice also in europe and ireland in english america with the conquest of ireland to end of body without skin is read literally that is why it is so reclusive. it is almost nauseating to
you then talk about it because they don't like to be called the other names like indian. but this is a racial slur is a symbol of genocide something more recent i came across were the cases being used as president of the decisions what to do that never existed in international law that bush invented better usually called pows but to lock them up in guantanamo but that
it was a crime the of the idea of the el lot because that is outside the law. and then the seminal case -- the seminole indians case and was not aware this is military justice the military judicial system is actually using, as a legitimate cases a genocidal war against the native people in the 19th century touche justified genocidal wars taking place right now. so i comment disturbing but i should not have been so
surprised. it is not just history but that is what i try a to get across in the book. >> one more. >> you mentioned you had worked a lot in new mexico. could you talk about the disappearance in the 16 fifties that happened very early in the day were huge thriving pueblos unlike the other indians that are still well known today they never survived. >> you tell me about them. >> they lived in new mexico
centered around there in the mountains. there were every bit as amazing. >> now i know what you were talking about. >> there were 98 pueblos when the spanish came in 1598. there was 500 settlers. they settled there and within one generation their reduced at 21 from 98. that was a culmination but mainly warfare because the pueblos fought back and day
to not have a patchy fighting alongside them and then drove the spanish are completely in kept them away in with different policies to allow their religious practices it was a different kind of colonization. but part of its was they were shifting around the typical settler colonialism to make the colony
self-sufficient it was experimental because everywhere else all they wanted was kalanchoes and silver to establish the colony the british were successful. sol of the things that they talk about here so the pueblo's already had a practice that was endemic to the regina irrigations so when the plague would hit it would burn down the whole city scape. in the apartment building a wood burning down and build
a new one. everything was for the best of the human beings. but you cannot replace the people who are dead. it is a wonderful concept but material things are not the most important. so in some cases they laughed to join in a the navajo and the apaches that were that contained but they were never conquered by the spanish but some of that's was then taking over these villages forcing people out.