Unit 2 Destination Discussion - Lummi Nation
Advance Preparation: Today we will continue our discussion of the Introduction of An Indigenous People’s History of the United States, so there is no additional reading from the book for this session.
Note: You will need a computer and internet connection to watch the following brief videos.
The first video features a brief interview with Jay Julius, a member of the Lummi Nation, who talks about the impact of climate change on his community:
This second video was made by Idle No More, a coalition fighting for Indigenous rights, climate justice, and related issues in Canada. It depicts their participation in the New York People’s Climate March from September 2014.
Please have someone read aloud the following quotation, from pps. 12-13 of the Introduction:
According to the origin narrative, the United States was born of rebellion against oppression—against empire[…]. The narrative flows from that fallacy: the broadening and deepening of democracy; the Civil War and the ensuing ‘second revolution,’ which ended slavery; [….] It’s a narrative of progress. [….] After the 1960s, historians incorporated women, African Americans, and immigrants as contributors to the commonwealth. Indeed, the revised narrative produced the ‘nation of immigrants’ framework, which obscures the US practice of colonization, merging settler colonialism with immigration to metropolitan centers during and after the industrial revolution. Native peoples, to the extent that they were included at all, were renamed ‘First Americans’ and thus themselves cast as distant immigrants.”
Is the narrative of liberation and progress that Dunbar-Ortiz critiques here in accord with the narrative of U.S. history that you were taught? To what extent have you heard other perspectives in the past that challenge this narrative?
In the context of doing anti-racist and immigrant justice work, we may find ourselves as UUs employing some of the concepts Dunbar-Ortiz criticizes, such as multiculturalism, or the image of the United States as a “nation of immigrants.”
- What feelings arise for you when reflecting on her critique of these concepts?
- Are there lessons we can draw from the critique for how we approach justice work in the future?
- Are there things the critique gets wrong or leaves out?
What does this narrative have to say to us in particular, in our identity as UUs?
Additional Materials (Optional):
Northwest Indian News (NWIN) is an online video news project created by Indigenous people in the Pacific Northwest:
This BBC radio documentary talks about the project’s mission and interviews its founders: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0251y1b