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The UU Common Read

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A Common Read invites participants to read and discuss the same book in a given period of time. The UUA Common Read can build community in our congregations and our movement by giving diverse people a shared experience, shared language, and a basis for deep, meaningful conversations.

covers of Indigenous Peoples' History of the US and young people's version

Common Read 2019-20

The UUA Common Read for 2019-20 has been two related books: An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (Beacon Press, 2015) and An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese (Beacon Press, 2019). 

In 2015, Beacon Press published an extraordinary book by Indigenous scholar and activist Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz that challenged readers to learn US history through a narrative that centers the story, the experiences, and the perspectives of Indigenous peoples. In 2019, Beacon Press published an adaptation for young people by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese. Upending myths and misinformation that have been promulgated by leaders and media, it asks readers to reconsider the origin story of the United States taught to every US school child.

The year 2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the much-mythologized encounter at Plymouth between colonists and those native to the land. The UUA General Assembly 2020, in Providence, RI, will speak to the truths that contradict the mythology. At the same time, movements in response to global and local environmental emergencies, many involving UUs, are increasingly recognizing the connection between Indigenous rights and climate justice. This Common Read invites UU congregations, communities, and individuals to learn the story of trauma and resilience that is the Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States.

If you are not familiar at all with this history, we suggest that you read the version for young people. The discussion guide (PDF, 37 pages) for this Common Read (one 90-minute session, or a three-session series) will work for readers of either version. Note: The original version is available to download from Audible as an audiobook.

Share your congregation's participation in this year's Common Read.

Past Common Reads

Put Your Group on the Common Read Map

Congregations and groups often ask about who else is participating in the Common Read. Share your participation with us and with others by putting yourself on the map. Let us know about discussion groups and follow-up actions. Include photos and links, if you have them to share.

Share your participation in this year's Common Read

The discussion guide for the 2019-20 Common Read offers a single 90-minute session or a series of three sessions. Download PowerPoint slides (PPT) to project the discussion questions for a group, rather than write on newsprint. 

Common Read 2019-20 Discussion Guide (PDF, 37 pages)

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People

By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

From Beacon Press

Spanning more than 400 years, this classic bottom-up history examines the legacy of Indigenous peoples' resistance, resilience, and steadfast fight against imperialism

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An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States

By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

From Beacon Press

The first history of the United States told from the perspective of indigenous peoples.

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