An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People

Beacon. (ReVisioning American History for Young People: Bk. 2). Jul. 2019. 272p. adapted by Debbie Reese & Jean Mendoza. further reading. index. maps. notes. photos. pap. $18.95. ISBN 9780807049396.
Gr 9 Up–This adaptation offers an Indigenous perspective of U.S. history. Beginning with an introduction and moving into the first chapter, which discusses the Indigenous peoples who populated the land and their domestication of corn before Europeans arrived, the narrative follows a chronological track. The adapters’ use of language successfully conveys the complexities of Indigenous societies. Engaging sidebars with headers such as “To Do” or “Did You Know?” provide additional details about the chapter’s topic or suggest critical thinking activities. Proclamations and legislation (Doctrine of Discovery, Proclamation of 1763, and the Morrill Act) that affected Indigenous peoples are contextualized well. Some terms or phrases are defined within a sentence while others are separated out from the text in footnotes. Excerpts from primary sources, by U.S. presidents and other government officials and Indigenous men and women, are interspersed with photographs, paintings, and maps. Each visual is captioned and relevant to the corresponding text. Source notes and a recommended list of fiction and nonfiction titles, picture books, and novels by Indigenous authors are in the back matter.
VERDICT Dunbar-Ortiz’s narrative history is clear, and the adapters give readers ample evidence and perspective to help them to engage with the text. A highly informative book for libraries serving high school students.

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