Continental Imperialism and the U.S. Way of War

Lecture by Professor Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Reception to follow.

Friday, Sept 29, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, 1535 Santa Barbara Street (at Arrellaga) (805) 965-4583, ussb@ussb.org. Free.

A community gathering around the US genocide of indigenous peoples; its pervasive and on-going ramifications including collective trauma; and possibilities for healing. Professor Dunbar-Ortiz is professor emerita in Ethnic Studies at Cal State U. East Bay and author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, recipient of the 2015 American Book Award.

“From earliest British American settlements in the 1600s, to the adhesion of the thirteen British colonies into an independent nation-state, and up to the present, the military has been the engine of United States development and the production and sustaining factor of US patriotism. Yet, generations have had little knowledge of and interaction with the military; it is nearly invisible in everyday life. But the annals of military history reveal the architecture of its formation and function as it can also be observed playing out in the 20th and 21st centuries. The US military originated in the English/US settlers’ genocidal wars against Native Nations along the Atlantic coast and in the South and Ohio Valley and marched across the continent in wars that ended in 1890, at which time, the US military moved into the Pacific and Caribbean, then the world. Air Force officer and military historian John Grenier writes: ‘For the first 200 years of our military heritage, then, Americans depended on arts of war that contemporary professional soldiers supposedly abhorred: razing and destroying enemy villages and fields; killing enemy women and children; raiding settlements for captives; intimidating and brutalizing enemy noncombatants; and assassinating enemy leaders… In the frontier wars between 1607 and 1814, Americans forged two elements–unlimited war and irregular war–into their first way of war.’ From this formative period, Grenier argues, emerged the characteristics of the US way of war and thereby the characteristics of its civilization, which few civilian historians acknowledge. Why is this important?”