From an interview with Debbie Reese, co-founder of Center for American Indians in Children’s Literature and co-author of a book with Jean Mendoza titled, An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People.
This is a book that has factual nuances and complexities and episodes from history that had been left out before that, and they matter because I think part of what [co-author] Jean [Mendoza] and I believe is that idea that a lot of people talk about, that if you don’t know the history, then you’re going to make the same mistake. And I think about the United States, its actions on a global scale, and they have repeated mistakes. And maybe if they had had more honest histories, earlier, it may have made a difference. Of course, we can’t know that, but we should have those kinds of histories be part of everybody’s education.
These are cycles. I don’t know how to make it better, but there’s a tendency to think that “Oh, right, we don’t think that way anymore,” but it doesn’t take long at all to find someone who will think that way. So this idea that the United States is an exceptional place of people that are enlightened, racially or with regard to gender or sexuality, none of that’s true. It’s not an enlightened place, it’s not a special place, and it never was. So it’s better to talk about, I guess, the country as having aspirations. As human beings, as a nation, we aspire to something better than we are at present.