The Chosen and the Damned
Native Americans and the Making of Race in the United States
David J. Silverman
The national discussion about race in America has garnered a lot of attention, and deservedly so. But, as David Silverman points out in his new book, The Chosen and the Damned: Native Americans and the Making of Race in the United States, that discussion has not yet grappled with the place of Indigenous people in that four hundred year history.
A book that Professor Silverman has, in many ways, been writing for his entire career, The Chosen and the Damned is a gripping account that follows the ways in which systemic racism has informed the history of Native Americans since the very beginnings of European colonization. From the bloody wars that were waged across the colonies, to the racist roots of the American Revolution, to Jacksonian Indian Removal, and the war of extermination in the west that was justified by the ideology of Manifest Destiny, the threats against the existence of Indigenous people have been unrelenting. And the result has been pervasive oppression. Indeed, by any measure—among them education, health, income, voter suppression, crime—racism has been as insidious among Native Americans as among the members of any other community.
It is past time to add this narrative to the history of race and racism in this country. Our indigenous people’s story needs to be told in full.