Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: Not “A Nation of Immigrants”

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Friday, February 11, 2022, at 7:30 PM EST on Zoom

Author Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz will be joined in conversation with Detroit-based activist and writer Frank Joyce. Q and A with the audience will follow. The program is free and open to the public. Register in advance for this meeting

The eye-opening and transformative new book from the author of An Indigenous People’s History of the United States will challenge what you believe about U.S. history. An essential text for the twenty-first century, Not “A Nation of Immigrants” charges that it’s time to stop perpetuating simplistic and ahistorical fantasies and embrace the true, complex and often sobering history of these United States.

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. She lives in San Francisco.

Frank Joyce is a lifelong Detroit based writer and activist.  He is co-editor with Karin Aguilar-San Juan of The People Make The Peace: Lessons From the Vietnam Antiwar Movement and he is currently writing a book about unlearning white supremacy. 

This is Part II of Cleveland Peace Action’s series on Recognizing Settler Colonialism. The series begins with Mazin Qumsiyeh on “Orientalism and Settler Colonialism in Palestine, Tuesday, January 18th, 7 pm, on Zoom.

More about Not A Nation of Immigrants:

Whether in political debates or discussions about immigration around the kitchen table, many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, will say proudly that we are a nation of immigrants. In this bold new book, historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz asserts this ideology is harmful and dishonest because it serves to mask and diminish the US’s history of settler colonialism, genocide, white supremacy, slavery, and structural inequality, all of which we still grapple with today.

She explains that the idea that we are living in a land of opportunity—founded and built by immigrants—was a convenient response by the ruling class and its brain trust to the 1960s demands for decolonialization, justice, reparations, and social equality. Moreover, Dunbar-Ortiz charges that this feel good—but inaccurate—story promotes a benign narrative of progress, obscuring that the country was founded in violence as a settler state, and imperialist since its inception.

While some of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants, others are descendants of white settlers who arrived as colonizers to displace those who were here since time immemorial, and still others are descendants of those who were kidnapped and forced here against their will. This paradigm shifting new book from the highly acclaimed author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States charges that we need to stop believing and perpetuating this simplistic and a historical idea and embrace the real (and often horrific) history of the United States.

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