BOOK REVIEWS

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People (ReVisioning American History for Young People) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-09-08 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings
ISBN:0807049395
LANGUAGE:English

" The history of the United States written for young people and told from an indigenous perspective. Informative and engaging. A great addition to the classroom. " said.

" I will review this on Rich in Color soon. " said.

" This should be required reading in every US history class. " said.

" An absolutely essential addition to every collection - school library, classroom, public library, & curriculum. " said.

"Review copy: purchased

United States history has been taught and told from the dominant cultural perspective since its founding. In this book readers are given the opportunity to see this history from an Indigenous view. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz shared this history in the original book several years ago and now Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza have created a version for young people and educators. These are many facts and stories that have been left out or glossed over in typical history books and media. For many, the facts contained in this book will be completely new and perhaps even shocking. Many times, history texts aim to show U.S. in a positive light and don’t point out some of the evils the government and others have perpetrated in the name of such things as progress or safety. There are also key concepts like sovereignty that have been omitted by design or out of ignorance. Many people in our country do not understand what the word sovereignty means in regards to Indigenous nations. This book and the original work share the history that people need to know in order to understand how our country arrived at present day with situations like the Standing Rock protests. Readers of this book will see that so many things make sense once the blanks have been filled in and the missing puzzle pieces are out on the table.

Even the names of things, which may seem like a small thing to some, tell a different story than the one many have heard before. The Massacre at Little Big Horn rather than the “battle” is not what most non-Native people have been taught. This is one example of how the framing of events have been shaping how we understand the past. Another example is when it is revealed that White people were getting paid for Native scalps. Texts written by White authors have been omitting important details like this for far too long. There are far too many instances of issues like this to note them all.

Debbie Reese and Jean Mendoza have not simply adapted the words and provided facts from the original book, but they have included additional visuals and even more importantly, activities and prompts. These activities and prompts will help make the information more understandable. They will also help readers to become more critical consumers of information and resources of all kinds. Mendoza and Reese provide facts and then encourage the reader to question what we read and consider how the words we read shapes our thinking and how we perceive the world.

Recommendation: Get it now. This is a look into the history of this country that all people should experience. Teachers of all levels should be aware of this history along with young people.
" said.

"nonfiction/history (indigenous/native American perspectives)
As I expected, there was much I didn't know about American history (that really should be included in our textbooks). This was pretty comprehensive--sometimes a bit overwhelmingly so--and unfortunately, it frequently read like a dry textbook. I could only manage about a chapter a day, but it's still worthwhile--an important resource for information that we just don't get in very many places, though I don't think it's necessarily great for most kids' casual reading. I would recommend it to kids who like history, or kids with a special interest in Native Americans and First Nations.

I really liked the suggested reading list on the back, featuring Indigenous authors (as opposed to outsiders pretending to know about native customs and containing various errors and stereotypes/bias) and will need to add some of them to my to-read list. I am including the entire list below because I think this online community of readers should have easy access to it as well--note that I've only so far read a few of these, but I figure the authors' recommended list is much better than anything I could come up with on my own:
Fighter in Velvet Gloves Alaska Civil Rights Hero Elizabeth Peratrovich by Annie Boochever Hidden Roots by Joseph Bruchac Dreaming in Indian Contemporary Native American Voices by Lisa Charleyboy #Notyourprincess Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy Bowwow Powwow by Brenda J. Child Unstoppable How Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team Defeated Army by Art Coulson New Poets of Native Nations by Heid E. Erdrich Original Local Indigenous Foods, Stories, and Recipes from the Upper Midwest by Heid E. Erdrich The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich The Round House by Louise Erdrich If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth Give Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth Mission to Space by John Herrington In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph M. Marshall III When the Shadbush Blooms by Carla Messinger Hungry Johnny by Cheryl Minnema The Wool of Jonesy by Jonathan Nelson Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time by Hope Nicholson Moonshot The Indigenous Comics Collection, Volume 1 by Hope Nicholson The People Shall Continue by Simon J. Ortiz Celebrate my Hopi corn by Anita Poleahla Murder on the Red River by Marcie Rendon The Water Walker by Joanne Robertson Hiawatha and the Peacemaker by Robbie Robertson Rock and Roll Highway The Robbie Robertson Story by Sebastian Robertson Son Who Returns by Gary Robinson The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen by Sean Sherman Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith Rain Is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich Smith Indian Shoes by Cynthia Leitich Smith Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith The Christmas Coat Memories of My Sioux Childhood by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve We Are Grateful Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell Tales of the Mighty Code Talkers #1 (Tales of the Mighty Code Talkers, #1) by Arigon Starr Super Indian, Vol. 1 by Arigon Starr Saltypie A Choctaw Journey from Darkness into Light by Tim Tingle How I Became a Ghost by Tim Tingle When a Ghost Talks, Listen (How I Became A Ghost, Book 2) by Tim Tingle Code Talker Stories = Nihizaad Bee Nidasiibaa' by Laura Tohe Young Water Protectors A Story About Standing Rock by Aslan Tudor Kamik An Inuit Puppy Story by Donald Uluadluak Fall in Line, Holden! by Daniel W. Vandever
" said.

"I highly recommend this account of United States history because it's told from the perspective of peoples who often are erased from our national stories. It's also well-written and engaging, with sidebars that invite young readers to think critically and take action for social justice.

This book dismantles the notion that North America was an uninhabited wilderness when European colonizers arrived in what is now the United States. Descriptions of complex pre-Columbian civilizations are followed by accounts of organized campaigns to subjugate Indigenous populations in the interest of turning their lands over to white colonizers. It ends with an account of the Standing Rock protests in the 2010s, and draws parallels between this nation's previous treatment of Native Americans and its response to their demands to protect their land and water supplies from an oil pipeline.
" said.

"4.5 stars, rounded up.

I am not an educator, but I come from a family of teachers and I will be recommending this book to all of them. This book tackles a difficult, mammoth subject and makes it accessible to middle grade readers (there are references such as "when you were in elementary school," and some of the activities might be too juvenile for high school students, but I'll leave that to educators to decide).

My copy is an ARC, so there are some typos and text errors that should be fixed in published copies. But overall the authors did an excellent job breaking down the subjects into comprehensive chapters and providing historical context to give students a fuller vision of history. It provides necessary information to convey the brutality Indigenous people have faced without being melodramatic or overly gory. This book should be required reading.
" said.

December 2019 New Book:

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