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

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,235 ratings  ·  185 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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 ·  1,235 ratings  ·  185 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
Amy | Foxy Blogs
Perfect time to read this book: Thanksgiving is coming up this weekend and it's Native American Heritage Month.

Are you curious about common phrases you hear about Native Americans such as:
“Columbus Discovered America”
“Thanksgiving Proves the Indians Welcomed Pilgrims”
“Indians Were Savage and Warlike”
“Europeans Brought Civilization to Backward Indians”
“Sports Mascots Honor Native Americans”
“Most Indians Are on Government Welfare”
“Indian Casinos Make Them All Rich”
“Indians Are Naturally Predis
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
mad mags
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
Hilary "Fox"
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is best known for An Indigenous History of the United States, a book which by all accounts is the bummer that it's expected to be but is universally praised for its good history and explanation of Native American issues and where they stand today. This book, on the other hand, is a joint effort of hers to dispel the commonly held myths about Native Americans - history, culture, and religions. It's an interesting examination into how the beliefs came about as well, and the ...more
This should be read in school history classes. Very well put together book that will make you think and reconsider things you thought to be true about history.
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
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
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. ...more
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. ...more
Kris Patrick
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book made me uncomfortable, in a good way.

Thanks, Andee, for the recommendation. Andee is a good follow for unique library finds and downloads.
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
Stephanie Griffin
In Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker’s book, “ALL THE REAL INDIANS DIED OFF”, attempts are made to turn aside 21 myths that some people have about the North American people who call themselves by their tribal name. One of those myths is “Native Americans Can’t Agree on What to Be Called”. “Indians”, “Indigenous”, and “Native Americans”, are all wrong, they say, though Dunbar-Ortiz has used all these names in titles of her other books.
There are of course 20 other myths to deal with but
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 and ...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. ...more
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
Jun 18, 2020 added it
"what is certain, is that when progress does occur, it is almost always because of native people's proactive organizing to demand change. those mobilizations rely on alliances with non-native people. ...this process of decolonization must be seen as an ongoing, multigenerational prospect."
everyone needs to read this book. seriously, everyone.

not only are you faced head-on with perpetuated, negative, and harmful stereotypes, but you're also given the reality of our prejudices in an accessible w
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.
Sean Estelle
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very clear, no-nonsense writing grounded in history while also bringing in lots of source material and new information - this is one of those books you’ll want to read before having persuasion conversations with coworkers or family members about racist assumptions they may hold.

“Today it is clear that Indigenous peoples everywhere are - and always have been - the miner’s canary on a global scale.”
May 17, 2021 rated it it was ok
I got to the end of the book and didn’t realize it. It just..sort of..was over. This is a glorified list. I don’t claim to be a genius on Native American history, culture or anything of that subject but I also don’t think I learned much from this book. Each chapter title I would acknowledge that yes, that’s the common stereotype but then the unpacking of that wasn’t detailed. I wasn’t dazzled by this book.
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.
Emily Parrott
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was worth reading just for the timeline at the end. However, the breakdown of common myths was also valuable, well reasoned, and necessary. It left me sitting in the discomfort of my own complicity with colonization. I was also left in awe of the vastness and complexity of the native nations for centuries prior to their genocide. All this to say, it's a great primer for understanding native culture/history past and present. ...more
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. ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a good intro to things I've consciously or unconsciously believed about Indigenous peoples and how to see from their perspectives. There are parts I wish had more information, but I guess I'll just have to go out & read more! ...more
Erica Zutz
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great quick read very informative and educational.
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A very eye-opening collection of myths that are considered to be true for most but aren't. A good read that has taught me many things about the Indigenous culture and its peoples. ...more
Courtney Johnson
Aug 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Even though I like to think of myself as a white person who has a fair grasp of the unjust policies that have shaped Native lives, I still learned a lot of new information from this book. I was especially horrified to learn about tribal termination (which was completely new to me and warrants further investigation). For anyone wanting a broad overview of issues facing Native Americans in the US, this is a great start.
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
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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

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