Unit 1 Destination Discussion - Lummi Nation

Advance Preparation: Please read the Author’s Note and Introduction to An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States.


Dunbar-Ortiz states that the perspective that informs her book does not arise primarily out of her academic training, but rather from her life experience.

  • What perspective do you bring to thinking about the history of the United States and its relation to Indigenous peoples in the Americas?
  • In what ways has this perspective been shaped by your own personal background and upbringing, particularly things you were taught or told about how our country was founded?

Please have someone read aloud the following quotation, from p. 5 of the Introduction:

“Multiculturalism became the cutting edge of post-civil-rights-movement US history revisionism. For this scheme to work—and affirm US historical progress—Indigenous nations and communities had to be left out of the picture. As territorially and treaty-based peoples in North America, they did not fit the grid of multiculturalism but were included by transforming them into an inchoate oppressed racial group, while colonized Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans were dissolved into another such group [….] The multicultural approach emphasized the ‘contributions’ of individuals from oppressed groups to the country’s assumed greatness.”

What feelings arise for you from reading Dunbar-Ortiz’s critique of multiculturalism?

  • What experiences, if any, have you had doing multicultural or anti-racist work in the past, whether in a UU context or outside it?
  • How does Dunbar-Ortiz’s critique of multiculturalism sit with you, in light of your experience doing such work?
  • Are there lessons we might draw from this critique for future anti-racist efforts?
  • Is there anything this critique leaves out or gets wrong, in your view?

Overall, are there places where you “see yourself” in the book’s introduction?

  • Where do you feel you stand as an individual in relation to the themes of this book, as described so far?


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