An indigenous Peoples' History of the United states by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Published by Beacon Press
An indigenous Peoples' History of the United states by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Published by Beacon Press

Pete McNally, Hereford and Worcester Socialist Party

If Donald Trump goes to prison he may have time to read ‘An Indigenous Peoples History of the United States’ by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. This is not a big read but there is a lot of information in its 236 pages.

Donald will find that the original human inhabitants of modern America numbered some 15 million and that 3 million of the current inhabitants can trace their ancestry to those people. There were hundreds of tribes. This was no wilderness. There were villages, towns, roads, cultivation of crops and established relations between tribes. The idea that the land was unoccupied and it was the “manifest destiny” of white settlers to populate the country is a lie.

The invaders brought with the thirst for land, disregard for the original inhabitants, modern weapons, and alcohol to weaken the will of the tribes to fight, and imported disease which did the same job.

The newcomers engaged in what today is called total war – defeat the enemy in battle, eliminate their chance to recover by destroying their fields and water sources, and killing the children.

The native tribes lived generally in one place with villages, crops, necessary animals, homes and hunting grounds, and with these destroyed became nomads.

The superior technology of the newcomers meant they were able to defeat the tribes they faced and then try to eliminate them totally.

The author gives a timeline of the growth and development of modern America but also shows the contradictions which exist. The richest country in history is home to millions of poor, and millions more people just keeping their heads above water, their health and wellbeing neglected in favour of more weapons of war and the profits they generate for the ruling capitalist class.

I think this is an important book for socialists to read – a  call to arm the millions of American workers with an understanding of their history and of the urgent need to develop a force to bring about a new, peaceful and abundant, socialist future for America.