“In Cell 16 we decided to make self-defense a priority for organizing, because it seemed really important in Boston. In the summer of 1968 there were mass murders of women, and they were never identified. And the headlines were “More Slain Girls” in the newspapers, on all the newsstands. So we started street patrols for the factories down by the river, where women were constantly being mugged, assaulted and raped. We formed a whole project around rape.”
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz grew up in rural Oklahoma, a child of landless farmers. As a veteran of the Sixties revolution, she has been involved in movements against the Vietnam War and imperialism, union organizing, and was one of the founders of the Women's Liberation Movement in the late 1960s with her Boston group Cell 16. Since 1973, she has worked with Indigenous communities for sovereignty and land rights, and helped build the international Indigenous movement.
A historian, writer, and professor emeritus in Native American Studies at California State University, she is author of many Indigenous related books and articles, including Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico and The Great Sioux Nation, as well as a memoir trilogy: Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie; Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, 1960-1975; and Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War. Her latest book, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, was released in September, 2014.