This is the last of three programs on the Indigenous People’s History of the US. On October 11, 2017 Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz gave a talk at the Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe New Mexico. In this last segment Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz makes inspiring comments on two questions asked by Nick Estes. He is member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, and doctoral candidate at the University of New Mexico.
First she remembers the forgotten history of the Green Corn Rebellion in Oklahoma. When Woodrow Wilson declared war in 1917 the poor tenant farmers in Oklahoma forged a coalition of Whites, African Americans and Indians. They were united by the recognition that the family would starve if they lost their sons. Under leadership of the Seminole Indians they wrote a manifesto, created a liberated zone by blowing up brides and tried to embark on an anti war march through the South with the goal to establish a socialist commonwealth. Their movement was betrayed by an informer and mostly white militia members confronted them and ended the uprising.
This program ends with a moving argument that the tending of corn and most vegetables that are know today by peoples in the Western Hemisphere had created extraordinary civilizations from Terra de Fuego to the Subarctic. They were on par with the other – more famous – civilizations in the Middle East as well as China. European Colonialism appropriated these already existing civilizations, shoved the people aside, and then privatized the wealth.
Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz is not only professor emerita of ethnic studies with a focus on history but has also been part of the International Indigenous movement for more than four decades. Along with groups such as the International Indian Treaty Council she advocated up to the level of the United Nations for indigenous sovereignty and land rights.
She is the author of many books including Roots of Resistance, The Great Sioux Nation, and An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. Her upcoming book is Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment – to be published by City Lights in early 2018.
Thanks to the Lannan Foundation for permission to use the audio from the pod-cast they produced. It was recorded in Santa Fe on October 11, 2017. You can find the pod-cast or film at their web site lannan.org/