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“All the Real Indians Died Off”: And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  420 ratings  ·  76 reviews
Unpacks the twenty-one most common myths and misconceptions about Native Americans

In this enlightening book, scholars and activists Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker tackle a wide range of myths about Native American culture and history that have misinformed generations. Tracing how these ideas evolved, and drawing from history, the authors disrupt long-held and
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Beacon Press
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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  420 ratings  ·  76 reviews

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Colleen Browne
I recently read another of Ortiz' books, An Indigenous People's History of the United States so I was prepared for her style but I was still made irritated by the way that with some of her arguments. She ignored facts that would expose the fact that everything is rarely black and white. Two examples come to mind. The first, when discussing the Supreme Court Case, Worcester v Georgia the decision rendered by Justice John Marshall, ruled that Georgia had no rights to enforce state laws in the terr ...more
David Lucander
A quick read that I really wanted to love but wasn't really into. The individual pieces had some interesting facts once in a while, but even though the chapters were only a couple of pages they were disorganized and the authors went off on awkward tangents. For example, "Native American Culture Belongs to All Americans" (Myth 14) discusses commercialization of Native American religion and overarching ethnic fraud, but then goes off on a lengthy rant about professors fabricating their identity - ...more
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Belongs in high school libraries everywhere.

(Full disclosure: I received an electronic ARC for review through Edelweiss.)

Non-Natives thus position themselves, either wittingly or unwittingly, as being the true experts about Indians and their histories—and it happens at all levels of society, from the uneducated all the way up to those with advanced college degrees, and even in the halls of Congress. [...]

The result is the perpetual erasure of Indians from the US political and cultural landscape.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A necessary primer on many myths that USians are brought up believing about Native Americans. Reading books like this just makes me angry about how miseducated I was as a child, and how that miseducation continues to this day. I think it covers some really necessary topics about how racism and white supremacy has conspired over the years to try and eliminate the presence of indigenous peoples on this continent. There were definitely some things I would have liked to have read more about, but I g ...more
Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
This book is arranged into several short chapters - each no more than a few pages long - that deal with Indian "myths". Each myth is then busted, but not in a Mythbusters kind of way. Rather, the structure of each chapter works like this:
*Introduce myth (example: Indians are anti-science)
*Give current event that relates to this myth (Indians refuse to contribute to DNA testing for prehistoric human bone finds)
*Brief synopsis of Indian history as it relates to the myth (in this case, the author r
Keegan Livermore
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A good survey of many issues that indigenous people argue about on a daily basis. Definitely a "greatest hits", even if that's the wrong connotation to put onto topics like these. Structured brilliantly. Provides plenty of academic ammunition in the form of citations for those who continue fighting and want to back up their arguments. Glad to continue supporting these authors.
Laura Trombley
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a good, brief, and enlightening read. I was pleased and undeservedly smug to already be aware of some of this but a lot of the history and treaty information was news to me. Read it, please. Read this and "Between the World and Me" and " "Tears We Cannot Stop" and "Hidden Figures" and, oh goodness, just read and learn.
Jan 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Forceful and at times pedantic & one-sided, this volume of assertions and answers can get away with it due to its ability to deal in harsh truths while accomplishing the most important of missions: shutting down ignorance. Exhaustively researched and coming from a place of weariness with the platitudes of people who simply don't want to look at the ugly origins of this place we're in, this book isn't really designed to be read alone; rather, it should be accompanied by a classroom discussion ...more
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is useful at debunking common stereotypes and myths about Native Americans. Each small chapter is devoted to a different myth. I appreciate that this book is very accessible. It doesn't have to be read all the way through. Each topic is thoroughly researched and l learned quite a bit from it. This book was a huge undertaking and I felt like some of the topics could have used a few more pages.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
provacative; the book has deeply enlarged my understanding of Native Americans and has led me to wonder about countries throughout the world that have justified harsh cruelty to indigenous people on basis of doctrine of discovery
Shae McDaniel
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing

WOW. I'm so angry and heartbroken and awestruck and, frankly, flabbergasted. There was SO MUCH I didn't know, and SO MUCH ON TOP OF THAT that I thought I knew but was completely wrong about. I know learning is a lifelong process, especially as a person of privilege, but did this book ever drive home how much learning I still have left to do. Many thanks to Tumblr for putting this on my radar and to the National Museum of the American Indian for having it in stock.
Ryan Mishap
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent tome to hand to your well-meaning friends, especially the white ones. Undeniable and easy to read, this is a great introduction to the main myths that perpetuate the marginalization and oppression of native people's and prevent society from actually grappling with reality.

Highly recommended.
Jack Swanzy
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Brief History of Indigenous Genocide

I like the way this polemic is organized. Chapters address 21 misconceptions, which the authors term myths, regarding Indigenous people in the USA. The book is weak on solutions, although some are alluded to. It is very strong in making the indictment of “settler” society.
This is an awesome joint project between Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker, following on Roxanne's An Indigenous People's History of the U.S. The writing is very moving and enlightening. Many thanks to the authors.
So yeah there were problematic things I didn't know about, and a few that I had somewhat assumed/thoughtlessly accepted where I had to check myself. There were bits of history, like the first Thanksgiving, and bits of contemporary knowledge - Native Americans are extremely culturally and racially diverse in part due to frequently living in cities and marrying people from other groups - that all mixed together into this being a good read to expand my image of Native Americans. I'd recommend this ...more
Mar 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting content that should make you think but the writing style is terrible. It wasn't all that long ago that I read Anton Treuer's 'Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask' and thought this would be a good compliment. It also seemed like time to read more books by Native authors so I thought this would be a good read.
You've heard and perhaps believe these myths before. Thanksgiving was a peaceful time that showed Indians welcomed the pilgrims. All Indians go to
Jared Nelson
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Provided perspective on common myths and addressed known biases.

Each chapter was a different myth but it didn’t go too in depth on any one of them. It would have been nice to have included some personal interviews about each bias to provide a little perspective.

I much prefer an author who will present the argument from both sides and let me decide.

Overall not very convincing!

Nicole Means
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Our country's history is built on social racism in which the white settlers believed they were dominant and more civilized than the native population. Sadly, this history is repeated throughout parts of the world that were touched by colonialism. This racism can be seen throughout various societies since the beginning of time and it makes me wonder where this sense of entitlement derives. What a sad lot humans are when we are willing to sacrifice human lives for the sake of land acquisition and ...more
Susan Oleksiw
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, history
In 21 chapters, the authors investigate the myths that have arisen around American Indians from colonial times to the present. In this manner, the authors explore the distortions of history and fabrications of politicians, and resurrect a more accurate and honest depiction of the many groups within the world of American Indians. In Myth 1, which provides the title of the book, the authors point out that over 5 million people identify as Indians, but it's more convenient for the general populatio ...more
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, history, nonfiction
I'm a white girl. Have I mentioned that recently on this blog? I'm a really white girl. Middle-class upbringing, suburban schools, gifted and talented program, the whole privileged bag. So I've been attempting to educate myself, and this was another step on that program. Plus, apart from that, it's just a really damn good book.

Dunbar-Ortiz and Gilio-Whitaker have put together twenty-one myths about Native American people in the United States, traced their developments, and thoroughly debunked ea
Anju Mai
May 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
I felt conflicted about this book. On the other hand, it really touched me and made me dream about Native Americans on two nights. The dreams were very emotional and since then, I've been very pro indigenous rights. (Out maybe even before that. I don't remember really.) The bits about how racist and cruel American leaders and presidents were in the beginning of American history were disturbing.

On the other hand, the book felt a bit too much like a political manifest for my taste. The thing I'm t
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of All the Real Indians Died Off by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker from LibraryThing's Early Reader giveaway program in exchange for an honest review. The current skirmish over the Dakota Access Pipeline makes this book even more timely. The authors address and array of stereotypes about Native American Indians, from Thanksgiving proves the Indians welcomed the Pilgrims to Indians should move on and forget the past. They substantiate their perspectives with resear ...more
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This has some good information in it and was a good read. There was something about the information felt like there was a lot of missing information. It makes me want a better more complete story but I also know it's a tough thing to read about so this is a good way to dip into the topic.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Though it took me a little longer than I had initially expected to finish, I learned a lot, especially from the historical timeline in the back. There was information that was unsurprising and definitely some that were surprising.

Overall, I think this books gives a pretty nice and short overview of any of the issues Native Peoples face in the U.S. and globally. I wouldn't recommend it if a person was to give it to someone else to change their mind, but if one is already familiar with the histor
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
The authors makes very compelling arguments and do a good job in deconstructing historical events to verifiable facts versus romantic self-justification taught in schools and perpetuated in the media. I would have liked a suggestion on how "non-natives" can help work towards a solution. The only point where the authors lost me was the obvious political bias in pointing blame towards conservatives, letting non-conservatives off the hook. None of us is blameless, and to encourage everyone to work ...more
marcus miller
Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
First, I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

This is a good introduction to issues faced by Native Americans and the cultural misconceptions many have about Native Americans. In short chapters the authors examine twenty-one myths related to Native Americans from "the first immigrants" and Columbus's discovery of America, to sports mascots, alcoholism, genetics and U.S. policies towards Indians. Those who have read and studied issues related to Native Americans will likely
Linda Lipko
I usually try to find something good about a book, even if, after spending time reading it, I still cannot find a lot to say .Therefore, in saying little about this book, it reinforces that I don't like it.

Usually, I am kind, but in saying that I don't find a lot of redeeming value, this also indicates how I feel.

I like autobiographies and biographies. Before joining, it was my genre of choice. So, in saying that this book seemed to be incredibly self centered and boring, I rema
Shari Suarez
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
A fantastic read about the misconceptions about Native Americans. It covers everything from Columbus discovering Native Americans. (He did not) to whether sports teams should have Native American mascots. It is very well researched and includes a Native American timeline. There is a lot of information about tribal law which if you're not familiar can be confusing but it is well researched and eye opening.
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: native, nonfiction
This book was a very informative overview of challenges modern Native Americans face. Each chapter was well researched and well cited for anyone who wants to delve more deeply into a particular myth. I highly recommend this book and agree with many reviewers that it would be a great inclusion in school curriculum. If you have followed the #NoDAPL movement also, this book provides such great context and insight into how important this cause really is.
April Lowe
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
As a white woman raised to believe soMe of these myths. I found the book very informative in relation to my Native American husband's perceived prejudice from the white man. The book collaborates some of the things he has said in contradiction to my beliefs.
Anyone wanting to understand the life of the American Indian can get some insights with this book.
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Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz grew up in rural Oklahoma, the daughter of a tenant farmer and part-Indian mother. She has been active in the international Indigenous movement for more than four decades and is known for her lifelong commitment to national and international social justice issues. After receiving her PhD in history at the University of California at Los Angeles, she taught in the newly establi ...more
“We can think of the land bridge theory as a master narrative that for a couple of centuries has served multiple ideological agendas, lasting despite decades of growing evidence that casts doubt on the way the story has been perpetuated in textbooks and popular media.” 0 likes
“Cultural appropriation is especially egregious when it involves the co-optation of spiritual ceremonies and the inappropriate use of lands deemed sacred by Native peoples.” 0 likes
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