by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Debunks the pervasive and self-congratulatory myth that our country is proudly founded by and for immigrants, and urges readers to embrace a more complex and honest history of the United States
Whether in political debates or discussions about immigration around the kitchen table, many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, will say proudly 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 settler colonialism, genocide, white supremacy, slavery, and structural inequality, all of which we still grapple with today.
She explains that the idea that we are living in a land of opportunity--founded and built by immigrants--was a convenient response by the ruling class and its brain trust to the 1960s demands for decolonialization, justice, reparations, and social equality. Moreover, Dunbar-Ortiz charges that this feel good--but inaccurate--story promotes a benign narrative of progress, obscuring that the country was founded in violence as a settler state, and imperialist since its inception.
While some of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants, others are descendants of white settlers who arrived as colonizers to displace those who were here since time immemorial, and still others are descendants of those who were kidnapped and forced here against their will. This paradigm shifting new book from the highly acclaimed author of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States charges that we need to stop believing and perpetuating this simplistic and historical idea and embrace the real (and often horrific) history of the United States.
"From being deeply shaken and disturbed, to ultimately feeling exhilarated and optimistic by Dunbar-Ortiz's conclusion and 'call to arms, ' this is a paradigm-shifting work." -- Patrick Higgins, anti-imperialist historian and activist
"This is a must-read to finally discard unquestioning settler American liberalism and patriotism." -- Harsha Walia, author of Border and Rule: Global Migration, Capitalism, and the Rise of Racist Nationalism
"Once again, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz demonstrates why she is one of the foremost historical scholars we have today, and Not 'A Nation of Immigrants' is her most crucial offering yet, opening new insights on this country's sordid history of systemic oppression, exclusion, and erasure." -- Tim Z. Hernandez, author of All They Will Call You
"With characteristic grit and brio, Dunbar-Ortiz demonstrates how profoundly the settler-colonial history of the United States and the ideology of 'white nativism' have shaped both immigration policy and immigrant identity." -- Mike Davis, author of Prisoners of the American Dream
"Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz's sweeping revisionist history challenges received versions of US origins, arguing convincingly that United States society was the product of settler colonialism and slavery rather than immigration. She demonstrates how the destruction of Indigenous nations was airbrushed out of history, to be replaced by the self-indigenization of both the earliest settlers and waves of later immigrants. Building on her magisterial Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz makes a significant contribution to our understanding not only of the United States but of settler colonialism as a mode of domination and elimination of Indigenous peoples and cultures." -- Rashid Khalidi, author of The Hundred Years' War on Palestine
"Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is a one-woman wrecking ball against the tower of lies erected by generations of official and television historians--people who make a living glorifying slave traders and exterminators of Native Americans." -- Ishmael Reed
About the Author:
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.