Upcoming New Book about Native American Myths

My mother and I at SCIC powwow, circa 2007.

My mother and I at SCIC powwow, circa 2007.

I recently announced on my Facebook page and am now disclosing here that I am currently under contract with Beacon Press for a book tentatively titled ‘There Are No Real Indians Anymore’ and 20 Other Myths about Native Americans. The book is a collaboration with renowned scholar Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz who is known for her work which spans a broad spectrum from North and South American Native studies to Marxism, anarchy, and other radical studies. Roxanne is currently on a book tour throughout the United States promoting her most recent book, An Indigenous Peoples History of United States, which is selling like hot cakes (which I highly recommend) and has already won two major book awards including the American Book Award and a PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature. I am truly honored to be partnered with a scholar of her caliber in this new project.

The book is a  part of a series at Beacon which takes certain aspects of US American culture and dismantles the most common myths about them. The two previously published books in the series tackle immigration and labor unions. Our book takes a strenuous look the most common myths about Native Americans (as opposed to the cultural “mythologies” and stories of Native American peoples). In other words, it is about mythic historical and sociopolitical aspects of indigenous peoples in the United States. We identify what we think of as 21 of the most pervasive myths and dismantle them based on the best social science and historical literature in Native American studies and  related  disciplines. Although it is based on  rigorous academic work, it is written for a lay audience and designed to break down theoretical frameworks into easily digestible and highly informative topics.

We do this naturally through the framework of colonialism, and more specifically settler colonialism. It is based on the premise that the most pervasive myth about indigenous peoples is the vanishing native myth (you can read more about this in my most recent column at Indian Country Today). We argue that every other myth about Native peoples in the US can trace itself in one way or another to this one core assumption, and that the tenacity of the myth continues to misinform how Americans understand indigenous peoples in the US.

The book has tremendous potential to aid educators at all levels of education and will  hopefully be read by people in the highest levels of government as well. Look for its release in fall of 2016.


About Dina

Dina is Policy Director and Senior Research Associate at the Center for World Indigenous Studies, and teaches American Indian Studies at California State University San Marcos. A descendant of the Colville Confederated Tribes of Washington, she holds a bachelor's degree in Native American Studies and a master's degree in American Studies with a research focus on indigenous studies, both from the University of New Mexico. She is a veteran Indian artist, and dancer in the Native American powwow tradition. Along with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, she is co-author of "'All the Real Indians Died Off' and 20 Other Myths About Native Americans" (Beacon Press). As a freelance writer, she writes for KCET Link TV, was a long-time contributor to Indian Country Media Network, Native People's Magazine and numerous other outlets.
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