"All the Real Indians Died Off": And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans

"All the Real Indians Died Off" sheds light on 21 myths about Native Americans that continue to circulate today. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States) and Dina Gilio-Whitaker dissect harmful stereotypes and reveal how these beliefs contribute to and reinforce a system of injustice and violence against indigenous populations. The authors tackle extensively complicated issues, such as the appropriation of Native culture by non-Native people and the false belief that Native Americans are predisposed to alcoholism.

Rooted in academic training, research and writing, as well as Native American experience, the examples and arguments the authors present are thoughtful and persuasive. When discussing overtly insensitive and destructive myths, they also offer examples of positive change and progress toward healthy, respectful understanding. Concerning the argument that naming sports teams after Natives is an honor, the authors demonstrate that the ban of native nicknames, mascots and imagery by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) helps protect Native populations from dominant white society exerting control over ideas of "Nativeness." The NCAA also allows exceptions to the ban for specific tribes when those tribes grant permission--giving power over the use to Native people. Much as how An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States reframed the past and reclaimed it for people silenced by racism and genocide, this book demands that the United States--and the world--reshape national dialogues for healthier and more compassionate treatment of Native peoples. --Justus Joseph, bookseller at Elliott Bay Book Company

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