Please join Laura Waterman Wittstock on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 as she talks about the book The Great Sioux Nation: Sitting In Judgment on America with book editor Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, attorney Larry B. Leventhal, author of an article reprinted in the book, "Indian Sovereignty, It's Alive", and William Means, former executive director of the International Indian Treaty Council. Amazon says, "It features pieces by some of the most prominent scholars and Indian activists of the twentieth century, including Vine Deloria Jr., Simon Ortiz, Dennis Banks, Father John Powell, Russell Means, Raymond DeMallie, and Henry Crow Dog. It also features primary documents and firsthand accounts of the activists’ work and of the trial."
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is Professor Emerita of Ethnic Studies at California State University, East Bay. Since retiring from university teaching, Dunbar-Ortiz has been lecturing widely and writes.
Born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1938 to an Oklahoma family, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz grew up in Central Oklahoma, daughter of a sharecropper and a half-Native American mother. Graduating in History from San Francisco State College in 1963, she began graduate study in the Department of History at the University of California, Berkeley but transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles completing her doctorate in History in 1974. In addition to the doctorate, she completed the Diplôme of the International Law of Human Rights at the International Institute of Human Rights, Strasbourg, France in 1983 and an MFA in Creative Writing at Mills College in 1993. In 1974, she accepted a position as Assistant Professor in the newly established Native American Studies program at California State University at Hayward, near San Francisco, and helped develop the Department of Ethnic Studies,designing curriculum and teaching Native American Studies. In the wake of the Wounded Knee siege of 1973, she became active in the American Indian Movement (AIM) and the International Indian Treaty Council, beginning a lifelong commitment to indigenous peoples' right to self-determination and to international human rights.
Her first book, The Great Sioux Nation: An Oral History of the Sioux Nation and its Struggle for Sovereignty, was published in 1977 and presented as the fundamental document at the first international conference on Indians of the Americas, held at United Nations' headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The book was issued in a new edition by University of Nebraska Press in 2013. It was followed by two other books: Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico (1980) and Indians of the Americas: Human Rights and Self-Determination (1984). She also edited two anthologies on Native American economic development, while heading the Institute for Native American Development at the University of New Mexico.