Embracing Our History of White Supremacy – addendum

No sooner did I finish work on my 4.18.2023 post “Starting down the path to embracing White Supremacy” than I came upon a powerful essay on the Time website, “Without Indigenous History, There Is No U.S. History” by Ted Nighthawk, a professor of history and American studies at Yale University.

Here is an excerpt from that essay.

A reorientation of U.S. history is required for many reasons. It cannot be accomplished simply by adding new cast-members to existing dramas. Our history must reckon with the fact that Indigenous peoples, African Americans, and millions of other non-white citizens have not enjoyed the self-evident truths of equality, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness proclaimed at the Founding as being inalienable rights belonging to all. Native peoples were not granted U.S. citizenship until 1924, by which time the federal government had seized hundreds of millions of acres of land from Native nations in over 300 treaties. Tens of thousands of Native peoples were killed by settler militias and U.S. armed forces during the Civil War era while government-sponsored campaigns of child removal thereafter resulted in forty percent of Indian children forcibly separated from their families and taken to boarding schools by 1928.

Pervasive violence and dispossession are more than sidebars or parentheses in the story of American history. They call into question its central thesis. The exclusion of Native Americans was codified in the Constitution, maintained throughout the Antebellum era, and legislated into the twentieth century. Far from being incidental, such exclusion and dispossession enabled the development of the United States. U.S. history as we currently know it does not account for the centrality of Native Americans.

Nighthawk’s Time essay is an excerpt from his newly published From The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of American History, by Ned Blackhawk. Published by Yale University Press on April 25, 2023.

I recommend that you read this fairly brief essay. From my perspective, further reasoning about the need to embrace White Supremacy and deal with it concretely.