During the early 19th century, the Blackfoot peoples of what is now Alberta and Montana lived at the juncture of growing British and American fur trade empires. This essay explores the many ways the Blackfeet used this borderlands position to manipulate and shape the colonial projects expanding into their homelands.
Kristina Ackley, Evergreen State College
The recent explosion of material and object-oriented theories in the Western traditions of philosophy, anthropology, literary studies, and rhetoric, among others, resonate with the millennia-long traditions of American Indian ontologies that recognize humans’ role as one, equal entity among others in vast webs of interrelationships.
This essay explores the complexities of Cherokee-British interaction along the Tennessee River. Between 1670 and 1758 Europeans became aware of a “corridor” that could connect British Carolina with the Ohio Valley, the Wabash River, and the Illinois country via the Tennessee.
We know far more about the iconic birch bark canoe than we do about the large wooden dugout canoes that were central to Native American life along vast sections of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers at the time of European contact, and for many centuries before that.
The 1850s were marked by the rapid expansion of U.S. territory. Almost all of these physical extensions of empire were joined by heated debates about Indigenous sovereignty. A site of particular interest was Cuba, as evidenced by the popularity of Narciso López’s various filibustering attempts.
For much of the 20th century many scholars have claimed that indigenous farmers in North America were marginal producers who often sowed the seeds of their own downfall through their negative impacts on the resource base. I use an agronomic analysis to deconstruct this argument, focusing on soil and crop characteristics that shape agricultural systems.
While scholars generally assume that villages and tribes ordered Indian Country in the past, there are few community studies to either support or challenge this view. Reconstructing local life along the Wabash Valley through maps, language, and ethnobotany illustrates how people (Miami, Shawnee, and others) practiced their ethnicities in the late eighteenth century.
When Native Studies as a discipline was first launched in 1969, it was a movement to indigenize a space within the academy. After mainstream universities’ initial rush to initiate Native Studies programs, indigenizing a space, even after four decades, has proven difficult.
In 1576, John Dee claimed that Prince Madoc of Wales colonized North America in 1170. Via the “Doctrine of Discovery” and England’s absorption of Wales, Dee voided Spanish claims and justified British colonization. The legend resurfaced in the 1790s, when Anglo-Americans claimed western lands, the Mississippi valley.
Contemporary maps of the overland trail tend to lay the routes across present-day state borders. Embracing these anachronistic boundaries deflects attention from the defining feature of the overland trail, namely, that Euro-Americans journeyed through lands occupied and controlled by American Indians.
Despite the large number of faculty trained in American Indian history very little has changed and most college level students who enroll in large survey courses in U.S. history learn about Indians during the initial stages of encounter and then, Indians are often depicted as succumbing to epidemic diseases or being pushed off their lands by westward expansion.
Submission Deadline: 29 April 2013
The paper examines how California Indians resisted the pull of assimilation to non-Indian culture and undermined the homogeneity of federal Indian citizenship policy in the early twentieth century. Prior to 1924, Indians wishing to become United States citizens had to first demonstrate their assimilation to American culture through the ownership and appropriate use of land.
In June 1843 American and British abolitionists convened in London for the second General World’s Anti-Slavery Convention. On the second day, delegates were treated to a visit from a Seminole Indian boy, who was introduced to the crowd as “a young Seminole Indian prince” named Nikkanochee.
The Extermination of Kennewick Man’s Authenticity through Discourse examines the intersection of Baudrillard’s simulation and simulacra with Foucault’s construct biopolitics in the media discourse surrounding Kennewick Man—a 9,400 year‐old skeleton discovered in 1996.
This paper analyzes and compares the roots, patterns and priorities of place-making in American Indian, Hispanic and Anglo and traditions in New Mexico. The relative importance given to values of permanence, propinquity, sustainability and land tenure, and the perceived relationship between manmade and natural landscapes will be interpreted through both legislation and legend.
From 1933-1945, the Office of Indian Affairs used the publication Indians at Work to document and promote the various emergency work programs that employed Native peoples in the United States.
In contrast to considerable scholarship on Iroquoian diplomacy, warfare, and religion, there is surprisingly little research on post-contact eighteenth-century Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) women.
Insisting that history must be understood as a series of subjective interpretations of events, Choctaw writer LeAnne Howe changes canonized histories, rewriting and narrating those events to propose reconsidered Choctaw subjectivities.
This paper examines the extent of the “Covenant Chain” of the Iroquois Confederacy in terms of its connections to other Indian Nations of the Northeast during the 18th and 19th Centuries. Over the past decade a number of remnant Eastern tribes, have attempted a renewal of these past relationships.
My research project will contribute to the expansive work Theda Perdue has accomplished in her seminal text, Cherokee Women: Gender and Culture Change, 1700-1835 (London and Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998). I plan to write a monograph exposing how Cherokee males revered Cherokee females and elevated them to realms of utmost respect and honor.
This paper argues that Kiowas composed their nation through family and kinship relations, and I posit that material culture constituted and illuminated kin ties that formed the foundation of the Kiowa nation. Kiowa individuals and families extended, maintained, and cemented these bonds by making and giving material items such as regalia, which manifested kinship bonds that connected them.
This paper examines the public events surrounding Benjamin O’Fallon’s 1822 delegation of Plains Indian leaders. The O’Fallon delegation brought Pawnee, Omaha, Kansas, Oto, and Missouri leaders to Washington DC for the first time, where they met with President Monroe, sat for portraits, attended social gatherings, and were at the center of various public performances.
American Indian Studies Seminar Series, AY 2012-13
Submission Deadline: April 27, 2012
While generally overlooked in circus histories, Native and African American circus employees had a broad impact on entertainment, art and culture at the turn of the twentieth century. This paper examines how they used a window of opportunity in the traveling circus industry to create networks beneficial to their wider careers, education and travel options. Employees used the circus
This seminar is co-sponsored by the Center for American History and Culture
The Federal City and Indigenous Space: Imaging and Imagining Colonialism in Nineteenth-Century Washington DC
Joe Genetin-Pilawa, Illinois College
This seminar is co-sponsored by the Center for American History and Culture
In addition to entertaining, children’s books educate by exposing youngsters to diverse cultures and experiences. In the case of Thanksgiving stories, they provide children’s first, and often only, exposure to “Indians,” while promoting a history that endorses the vanished race stereotype in order to glorify colonization.
This paper analyzes how the leaders of the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory struggled to come to terms with the socio-legal implications of Cherokee migration. In the decades after the Civil War, levels Cherokee migration not seen since the Trail of Tears raised new questions about Cherokee identity.
Europeans misunderstood Indian identity and misrepresented the ethnically diverse villages of the thousand mile-long Ohio River valley in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Ethnicity was complex, villages diverse, and intermarriage commonplace. Villages were united by bonds of kinship, and tribal boundaries were rarely defined.
This paper examines the role of clans and lineages among the Ottawa (especially the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa) and Chippewa (Ojibwa) of northern Michigan from the 17th century to the present day.
The Progressive Era is often depicted as a time of white middle class moral and social reform, and calls for transforming an ever-decaying U.S. society. This period was also marked by U.S. colonial expansion abroad, and, often forgotten, at home. African Americans and Native Americans were also proponents of moral and social change. However, they sought an end to U.S. colonialism at home.
The Jumano have intrigued several generations of scholars because of their ubiquitous historical presence in New Mexico, Coahuila and Texas and their historical relationships with other Native American groups as well with the Spanish and the French.
Recent studies have shown that indigenous peoples played an indispensable role as military allies of European colonial powers in Mesoamerica and Eastern North America. A similar argument can be made about the role of indigenous peoples in the European conquest of Northeastern Brazil.
The Mexican Highland god Quetzalcoatl (Feathered Serpent) has held the imagination of two radically different cultures and peoples living in three different historical contexts: the Late Postclassic, Early Colonial and presently. My eventual goal is to begin interrogating primitivist categories governing selected contemporary images of Quetzalcoatl. I will argue tha
My paper examines the participation of Cochimí Indians from Baja California in the Spanish colonization of Alta California, the modern state of California. This paper describes the context within which Baja California’s Cochimí Indians made their decision to volunteer for Spain’s northward expeditions into Alta California in 1769-1770. I identify the ways in which i
This essay focuses on tribal leader Simon Pokagon and his novel Queen of the Woods, first published in 1899. In it, I explore the ways in which Pokagon’s writing served as a memorial and monument to Native peoples. Simon Pokagon was a celebrity in Chicago during his lifetime and was a featured speaker at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.
In 1974, eight Navajo singers filed a lawsuit, Badoni v.
An excerpt from a chapter of my dissertation (in progress), which explores the ways in which the cultural productions of the arts have contributed to the persistence of a Chicago American Indian community, this essay is an introduction to that community from a multidisciplinary perspective.
By examining the ways in which behavior and perception—culture—maintain a dynamic, reciprocally constitutive relationship with the environment, this essay attempts to bring cultural history into closer negotiation with scientific analyses of environmental development. As landscapes set parameters and physical contingencies, culture assigns meanings and continually infuses
“Geographies of Power: Mapping Indian Borders in the ‘Borderlands’ of the Early Southwest” confronts the problem that, in pursuing inclusive models for the intersections of diverse people across North America, early American scholars have lost sight of the integrity of bordered Indian domains and the power that gave them in their interactions with Europeans. In contrast t
From December 1811 through the spring of 1812, a series of massive earthquakes rattled the eastern half of North America. At a mission site in Cherokee country, Moravians and Cherokees met to discuss the earthquakes’ meaning. This paper uses their earthquake interpretations to trace a wider grappling for interpretive authority between Cherokees and Moravians. Contemporary cult
Today, the story of Winema is part of the collective memory of colonialism in southern Oregon and Northern California. She is remembered as the Pocahontas of the Lava Beds,” and there are hotels, restaurants, streets and schools named after her.