Author Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz will be at the Stillwater Public Library at 7 p.m. May 7, to discuss her new book, “Loaded: a Disarming History of the Second Amendment.” Dunbar Ortiz’s book addresses an alternate understanding of the history of guns and the purpose of gun laws in the United States.
In a country with more than 300 million guns, Dunbar-Ortiz does not think ending gun violence using gun control laws is likely. She argues that the Second Amendment was created not to help citizens protect themselves from foreign invaders, but to enable citizens to arm themselves in taking land from Native Americans and in controlling slaves and slave insurrections.
According to Dunbar-Ortiz, learning about this history and investigating the deeper question of how it helped develop an entrenched gun culture in the country is the first step to dealing with gun violence.
“In order to understand the current obstacles to gun control,” said Dunbar Ortiz. “We must understand the history of U.S. guns, from their role in the ‘settling of America’ and the early formation of the new nation, and continuing up to the present.
“America is at a critical turning point. Everyone in America needs to engage in the discussion about our future with an informed, historical perspective on the role of guns in our society.”
Dunbar-Ortiz grew up in rural Oklahoma and is the daughter of a tenant farmer and part-Indian mother. She is the author of many books, including “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States,” “Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico,” and “Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War.”
Her books, “Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie and “Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, 1960-1975” were both finalists for the Oklahoma Book Award. “Red Dirt” was also selected as a finalist for the Oklahoma Centennial’s “Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma.
Dunbar-Ortiz is a graduate of San Francisco State College. She received a doctorate in history from UCLA and earned a Masters of Fine Arts from Mills College. She is the recipient of the Cultural Freedom Prize for Lifetime Achievement by the Lannan Foundation, and she lives in San Francisco.
The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 South Duck.