Author, historian and lecturer Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz spoke at Humboldt State on March 20 about her latest book “Loaded.” Photo by Barrie Karp.

“Loaded” is packed with a kick


Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz breaks down the Second Amendment and white supremacy in her new book “Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment.”

Dunbar-Ortiz spoke at Humboldt State’s Van Duzer Theatre on March 20 about her recent book “Loaded,” which explores the origins of the Second Amendment, white supremacy and how guns have controlled American society.

Dunbar-Ortiz addressed gun culture, starting with colonial settler’s slave patrols and Indian militias. She said slave patrols developed into the the Ku Klux Klan. In addition, the police were formed by the Ku Klux Klan. In 1916, high school Reserve Officer Training Corps, or ROTC, began.

“This shooter, Cruz, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was an avid ROTC person,” Dunbar-Oritz said. “He joined the ROTC when he was 11. He was known as the best shooter [and] was honored for that. He had on his ROTC T-shirt and pants when he did the killing. He had become a mad soldier.”

“In the 1960s, we burned down all of the ROTC buildings on campuses across the country,” Dunbar-Ortiz said. “I participated in some of them. I am proud of it. We got rid of military recruiters in schools.”

The National Rifle Association supplies ROTC’s with ammunition, weapons and targets.

“They have some really amazing targets, human forms that can move around,” Dunbar-Oritz said. “They practice this in the school cafeteria. The only mention of this was the military honoring of two ROTC students who died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.”

“You think of this disconnect between gun violence and militarism,” Dunbar-Ortiz said. “I think it is really important to connect up U.S. militarism. The Indian Wars became the basis for all the foreign wars. They all turn into counter insurgency, that is, attacks on civilians, burning their crops and killing people. Vietnam, Central America, Haiti and the Dominican Republic are all examples of this counterinsurgency. We have big responsibilities to do our best to save the world.”

Irene Vasquez is mastering in natural resources at HSU.

“It’s good to know the real history and to be appreciative of people who have worked so hard before us, the native people who are leaders,” Vasquez said. “It’s an inspiration for young native scholars and the people who are trying to change the systems to get into the higher roles to help their communities.”

In 1968, Dunbar-Ortiz helped establish the Women’s Liberation Movement with her group Cell 16 in Boston. Cell 16 was named after the cells of a body.

Dianna Beeler, a resident of Arcata, came out of great respect for Dunbar-Ortiz.

“I was in a feminist consciousness raising group during the mid 60s in Los Angeles,” Beeler said. “Dunbar-Ortiz was out front, she was everybody’s hero. It is super to see that she has kept this going over all these decades.”

The word “sexism” came about during this time.

“The consciousness raising groups were to make people aware of feminism who had lived under a patriarchal society so long they didn’t know any better,” Beeler said.

During her time with Cell 16, Dunbar-Ortiz published a periodical with Lisa Leghorn, “No More Fun and Games,” which helped women avoid male involvement that was not productive to the Women’s Liberation Movement.

Ever since Cell 16, Dunbar-Ortiz has been publishing articles and books on women’s rights, indigenous people of Central and North America and an autobiography titled “Red Dirt: Growing up Okie.”


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