News Release

Obama Claims U.S. Not Born a Colonial Power


“America was not born as a colonial power.”
— Barack Obama in his interview on Tuesday with al-Arabiya

Author of the forthcoming Myth and Empire: Indigenous History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz said today in response to Obama’s claim: “The United States was founded as a European settler state, with maps and plans already prepared to colonize the continent coast to coast, expanding from the 13 colonies of the founding state. Indeed the U.S. was the first state born as a colonial power, unique in the vast territories it brutally conquered, occupied, and administered, crushing over 300 indigenous nations, force-marching hundreds of thousands east of the Mississippi out of their homelands, crowding them into ‘Indian Territory’ (Oklahoma), along the way annexing half the Republic of Mexico. Plantation agriculture, worked by enslaved Africans, drove U.S. territorial conquests during the first century, creating the economic base for industrial capitalism that would soon dominate the world.”

Dunbar-Ortiz’s books include Roots of Resistance: History of Land Tenure in New Mexico, Indians of the Americas and The Great Sioux Nation. She is professor emeritus in the Department of Ethnic Studies at California State University East Bay in Hayward, California.

Al-Arabiya interview text and video are available online. [above excerpt at 9:45]

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167