By Don Allen
As the title of this post suggests, the book “All The Real Indians Died Off” And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz and Dina Gilio-Whitaker, is a book that I have yet to read. It came into the library only a few days ago, but when I first saw it it immediately struck me because the title is a phrase I have heard in my own life several times. The idea that the Native Americans of today are somehow not “real” Native Americans is absurd on its face, but one that is still common.
Reading the books back cover, Dunbar-Ortiz and Gilio-Whitaker trace “how these ideas evolved, and drawing from history, the authors disrupt long-held and enduring myths” such as: “Columbus Discovered America”; “Indians Were Savage and Warlike”; “Sports Mascots Honor Native Americans”; and “Most Indians Are on Government Welfare” among others. While by the time of my public education throughout the ’90s these issues were no longer being taught like this (at least in my area of New England), changing to a far more accurate depiction of what actually occurred, without question the generations before me were taught these subjects as they are presented above.
I look forward to reading this book at some point when my studies allow. It looks absolutely fascinating. But for now, if you are interested in learning the history behind these myths, come in and check it out. Or do so online here. And if you happen to stop by after reading it, let me know what you think.