Unit 3 Destination Discussion - Lummi Nation

Advance Preparation: Please read Chapters Four and Six of An Indigenous People’s History of the United States, by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz (“Bloody Footprints” and “The Last of the Mohicans and Andrew Jackson’s White Republic”).


Of the stories Dunbar-Ortiz includes in these two chapters, which were familiar and which unfamiliar to you, based on your previous knowledge of U.S. history?

  • Which of these stories stand out to you most? Which ones surprised or disturbed you?
  • Did you learn anything about famous figures in American history that you didn’t know before?

Dunbar-Ortiz states bluntly that the United States carried out a genocide against Indigenous peoples. As she writes in the introduction: “[A] colonizing regime institutionalizes violence. The notion that settler-indigenous conflict is an inevitable product of cultural differences and misunderstandings, or that violence was committed equally by the colonized and the colonizer, blurs the nature of the historical processes. Euro-American colonialism […] had from its beginnings a genocidal tendency.” (p. 8). Now that we have read further into the book, we have a better understanding of what Dunbar-Ortiz’s means in making this claim.

Before trying to decide whether you agree or disagree with the charge of genocide, please identify the feelings that arise for you in thinking about it.

  • Do these stories of violence impact your broader understanding of U.S. history?
  • Is there anything important that you think Dunbar-Ortiz is missing or leaving out? Any perspectives you feel ought to be included in this discussion that are not being featured?
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