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An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  566 ratings  ·  109 reviews
Spanning more than 400 years, this classic bottom-up history examines the legacy of Indigenous peoples' resistance, resilience, and steadfast fight against imperialism.

Going beyond the story of America as a country "discovered" by a few brave men in the "New World," Indigenous human rights advocate Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz reveals the roles that settler colonialism and policie
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 23rd 2019 by Beacon Press (first published July 1st 2019)
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Debbie That depends on the student's existing knowledge and who the child would be reading with.

It is written with teens in mind (13 on up). We were careful…more
That depends on the student's existing knowledge and who the child would be reading with.

It is written with teens in mind (13 on up). We were careful not to be gratuitous with the violent history but we did want to be honest. Some 13 year olds are fine with that; some will not be. (less)

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Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
---- Disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. ---- This is probably the most thorough, & honest history book I have ever come across, aside from the works of Mr. Howard Zinn. I recommend it for all students at an appropriate comprehension level. It's a necessary companion to balance out any more traditional/currently-taught/Euro-centric history studies. If one is in the States, then as far as I'm concerned this should be considered de rigueur. It will definitely provide food for ...more
MCZ Reads
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaway-winners
4.5 stars, rounded up.

I am not an educator, but I come from a family of teachers and I will be recommending this book to all of them. This book tackles a difficult, mammoth subject and makes it accessible to middle grade readers (there are references such as "when you were in elementary school," and some of the activities might be too juvenile for high school students, but I'll leave that to educators to decide).

My copy is an ARC, so there are some typos and text errors that should be fixed in p
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While this book will not be an exhaustive history of Indigenous peoples in America, it is an excellent overview and springboard for learning that helps to put different aspects of history into a coherent narrative. And what is it that enables the authors to have a coherent narrative? It is the beliefs, values, and perspectives that arise out of manifest destiny, the doctrine of discovery and white supremacist world views. The authors articulate the origins and functions of these beliefs in a cle ...more
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, teen
nonfiction/history (indigenous/native American perspectives)
As I expected, there was much I didn't know about American history (that really should be included in our textbooks). This was pretty comprehensive--sometimes a bit overwhelmingly so--and unfortunately, it frequently read like a dry textbook. I could only manage about a chapter a day, but it's still worthwhile--an important resource for information that we just don't get in very many places, though I don't think it's necessarily great f
The 12-year-old and I learned so much about Indigenous peoples' history in the U.S. from this book, and I would absolutely recommend it to all middle grade and YA readers. One thing the book recommends is for readers to turn "knowledge into action" by letting others know if the media misrepresents history. I had no idea that we would recognize the misrepresentation of history so soon after reading the book. The very next day, President Trump closed his State of the Union address with words that ...more
I had read the Queer History for Young People by Beacon a while back and have multiple copies of this one in our library but hadn't gotten to it in part because it was frequently checked out. I was able to settle in and digest the book, which is a retelling of the adult version which I haven't read. I try to read both, but don't know when I'll get to that one, specifically because there was already so much to learn in this one.

My biggest takeaway was certainly the continual lack of transparency
I highly recommend this account of United States history because it's told from the perspective of peoples who often are erased from our national stories. It's also well-written and engaging, with sidebars that invite young readers to think critically and take action for social justice.

This book dismantles the notion that North America was an uninhabited wilderness when European colonizers arrived in what is now the United States. Descriptions of complex pre-Columbian civilizations are followed
Molly Dettmann
Jun 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great intro and start into unlearning much of history that we’ve been taught since we were children, and learning the truth through the lens of those who were here to being with. As an educator I can see where many parts of this work could be incorporated into lessons and units within social studies and English. I liked the “consider this” and “did you know” side bars that would ask the reader to stop and reflect or highlight something little known within the chapter. Lots of maps and pictures ...more
Sharon Van Meter
Sep 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the type of book I wish I read before taking AP US History instead of the biography about Thomas Jefferson I had to read.
This book covers a wide breadth of detail, discussing the origins and consequences of colonization, as well as uprisings and Indigenous figures I had never heard of before. Two activist movements this book covered in great detail was the occupation of Alcatraz in the 1960s, which I hadn’t heard of until reading this book, and Standing Rock, which is covered brilliantly
This is a necessary read for all. I've learned so much and it's inspired me to learn more. Thought-provoking and belief-unraveling. Learning this history can help us all become informed, empathetic, and drivers of change. Great text for teachers, librarians, and anyone else who educates young people (the questions and sidebars here are built for discussion in the classroom). Highly recommended!
Feb 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A whooooooole lotta history I never learned in school.
Suzan Jackson
A stunning, horrifying yet informative & necessary look at American history & its impact on the present. A must-read. I preferred this YA version which included maps, graphics, photos, plus additional info on modern issues. Read my full review plus listen to a sample of the audio book:
Book Riot Read Harder challenge 2020 task # 01: Read a YA nonfiction book.

In An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz formulates a cohesive argument that dismantles many of the founding myths of the United States. She clearly outlines the events that created the mindset of conquest and describes how the settler colonial government enacted laws and policies to destroy all aspects of Indigenous life. Yet, Dunbar-Ortiz warns readers against promotin
Read Harder Challenge: Read a YA nonfiction book

Essential reading.

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz wrote An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States in 2014 which went on to win the American Book Award in 2015. In 2019 her book was adapted for a younger audience by Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza. Their adaptation was nominated for the American Indian Youth Literature Award Nominee in 2020.

I've only read this adapted version, but I did read Dubar-Ortiz’s author’s note on Amazon which I highly recomme
Carol lowkey.bookish
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you have found yourself saying “they didn’t teach me that in school” at least once in your life, here is a perfect way to start filling some of the gaps in your knowledge. This book is packed with detail in easily comprehensible chapters and sections. I suggest you take each chapter on its own and keep a lot of tabs handy because I found myself marking every other page.

I highly recommend you read this important book. As author Robin D. G. Kelley puts it, “This may well be the most important U
Jeana Lawrence
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This really opened my eyes to the ways history booms portray American history. I knew, of course, that certain things were skimmed over and complex problems and situations were overly simplified to make Americans look good but god, do we really suck. Like really really suck. I wish there would’ve been more information throughout so I’m wondering if the adult version will have more or if it’ll be about the same but maybe without the asides and discussion points throughout the book. This should be ...more
This was a DNF because I found it very aggravating. Some historical concepts are off. The tone of superiority is as wrong as the main thing this book is complaining about. Not all whites/colonialists were bad people. Yes the accepted “creation legend” of the United States is racist but doing the same thing back at all colonists as a single undifferentiated group is wrong too. I’m going to try the original title and see if it is better than this one meant for young people.
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-reads
I have the "grown up" version of this book as an ebook, but wanted to support Dr. Reese and her adaptation, and read something theoretically less taxing on my brain. I'm glad I did - the framing of history is unfortunately so different from how I was taught that reading it at that level has a better chance of shifting my perspective and challenging it as well.
Leigh Ann
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent introduction and overview to a historical and current social justice issue. Even though I'm an adult and have already read Andrés Reséndez's monograph "The Other Slavery", I found this book also very helpful and more holistic, and a little easier to consume in longer sittings. This is a great jumping off point for further research.
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don't know how I didn't mark this as read, but I read this at the beginning of the year and it was INCREDIBLE. It's one of those books that makes your re-think everything you learned in school, and drive you to want to do more to help those who suffer/suffered injustices and educate others on what the true histories are.
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book took me a few months to get thru. Not because it wasnt good, but because I'm not great at reading nonfiction. That being said, I wanted to absorb every single word written! This book is eye-opening and so important. This should be read by everyone. Very happy I took the time to really delve into this. Good for older high schoolers.
Tabby Patterson
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very informative

A great resource that will work well for me to share with my youth. The language is easy to understand and the information is straight forward and enough to give a base of information along with references for us to use as a starting point to delve deeper.
Mary Thomas
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This brilliant history book is an essential purchase for all middle and high school classrooms and libraries.
Jen Deepa
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Required reading for all settlers in the Americas.
Nov 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent resource. I only knocked it down one star because it reads like a textbook.
Katie Proctor
Nov 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is fantastic. I wish it would be required reading in high school history classes everywhere. So much that I wish I’d learned earlier in life.
Shauna Yusko
Obviously you need to add this to your US History resources if you're in middle school/high school. I'm glad to see that a note about Hawaiian history was included!
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, non-fiction
"An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People" was not an easy book for me to complete. Reading this book brought up such strong emotions; the primary one being rage followed by disgust, sorrow, guilt, and helplessness. This unvarnished history needs to be taught in our schools so more young people don't grow up in ignorance of what was done. The depth of deliberate genocide by governments on the native people of this land is absolutely repulsive.

Although difficult for m
Over and over again while reading, I kept saying “This is crazy!” All of the little comments, asides, footnotes about native peoples during the “discovery and settling” of America are all gathered into one book and the reader gets a far more in-depth picture of what life was like for indigenous people who already lived and thrived in these lands and the horrors they encountered when facing those who lived by the Doctrine of Discovery.

This book is prompting me to do some of my own research on nat
Rich in Color
Review copy: purchased

United States history has been taught and told from the dominant cultural perspective since its founding. In this book readers are given the opportunity to see this history from an Indigenous view. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz shared this history in the original book several years ago and now Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza have created a version for young people and educators. These are many facts and stories that have been left out or glossed over in typical history books and media
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“So I realized it was crucial to make the reality and significance of indigenous people's survival clear throughout the book. Indigenous survival as peoples is due to centuries of resistance and storytelling passed through the generations and I sought to demonstrate that this survival is dynamic, not passive. Surviving genocide by whatever means - is resistence.” 0 likes
“Colonization is the process of taking political and economic control of a region, and colonizers are the people or institutions that are part of that process: the military, business interests, people who go there to live, and sometimes representatives of religious institutions.” 0 likes
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