Why You Can’t Teach U.S. History without American Indians | Newberry

Why You Can’t Teach U.S. History without American Indians

Benjamin West. "William Penn's Treaty with the Indians when he founded the Province of Pennsylvania in North America," 1771. Photo edited by Catherine Gass, Newberry Library.

Benjamin West. “William Penn’s Treaty with the Indians when he founded the Province of Pennsylvania in North America,” 1771. Photo edited by Catherine Gass, Newberry Library.

A Newberry Symposium Commemorating 40th year of the McNickle Center
Friday, May 3, 2013Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ruggles Hall

Center for American Indian Studies Programs
American Indian Studies Seminar Series

Sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies at Michigan State University

For generations U.S. historians wrote the nation’s story as if Indians did not exist, or at best, they marginalized Indian peoples as unimportant actors in the national drama of revolution and democratic state formation. 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.

The mission of this symposium is to change how historians teach U.S. history. Today, we are fortunate to have a large number of faculty who teach American Indian Studies and the knowledge base that these scholars possess is profound, thoroughgoing, and expansive. These new perspectives need to be better incorporated into the interpretation and writing of history. Repeatedly, we hear faculty proclaim that they would include Indians if they were more central to mainstream history. This symposium intends to challenge that perspective and to provide a new expanded resource for college level faculty.

Scholars will present papers that suggest how Indians can be better integrated into the way we teach and study US history in a symposium to be held at the Newberry in Chicago. We hope that this symposium will provide a public, academic forum for new interpretations of past events, from an Indian perspective, and we plan to publish selected papers in a volume that will be geared toward classroom teaching. We also hope to create a website for the faculty who teach courses in American Indian Studies and US History to post syllabi and engage in a public forum where faculty who wish to develop similar courses can draw on this reservoir of experience.

Friday, May 3, 2013, 9 am – 3 pm

Session One: Land, Borders, and Sacred Spaces
Mikal Brotnov, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Margaret Jacobs, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “Teaching American History as Squatter Imperialism”
Juliana Barr, University of Florida. “Borderlands”
Kiara M. Vigil, Amherst College. “Sacred Spaces: American Indians and National Parks in U. S. Cultural History, 1877 to Today”
COMMENTATOR: Michael Witgen, University of Michigan

Session Two: Religious Freedom, Citizenship, and Education
Jacob Betz, University of Chicago. “In the Eye of the Storm: American Indians and Religious Freedom in U.S. History”
Jeffrey D. Means, University of Wyoming. “Native Americans and Concepts of American Citizenship: American and Oglala Lakota Identity and Citizenship, 1848-1934”
Phillip H. Round, University of Iowa. “America’s Indigenous Reading Revolution”
COMMENTATOR: Justin B. Richland, University of Chicago

Session Three: Colonial to Early Republic
James D. Rice, SUNY Plattsburgh. “Rethinking ‘The American Paradox’: Bacon’s Rebellion, Indians, and the U.S. History Survey”
Sarah Pearsall, Cambridge University. “Re-Centering Indian Women in the American Revolution”
Margaret Newell, Ohio State University. “American Indians and Economic History”
Susan Sleeper-Smith, Michigan State University. “The Fur Trade As Encounter”
COMMENTATOR: Daniel Usner, Vanderbilt University

Session Four: The Opening of the West
Robert Miller, Lewis & Clark Law School, Oregon. “Lewis and Clark and the Doctrine of Discovery”
Adam Jortner, Auburn University. “Cartography, Pedagogy, and the Indian Nations of the Early Republic: Remapping Diplomacy and Power on the Antebellum Frontier”
Jeani O’Brien, University of Minnesota. “The California Gold Rush: Mineral Strikes in Indian History”
COMMENTATOR: John Hall, University of Wisconsin

Saturday, May 4, 2013, 9 am – 3 pm

Session Five: The Civil War Era
Paul T. Conrad, Colorado State University-Pueblo. “Why You Can’t Teach the History of U.S. Slavery without Indians”
Luke C. Ryan, Georgia Gwinnett College. “Indians in Bleeding Kansas: Tribal Survival and the Coming of the Civil War”
Scott Manning Stevens, The Newberry Library. “American Indians and the Civil War”
COMMENTATOR: Dave Edmunds, University of Texas at Dallas

Session Six: Reconstruction and the Progressive Era
Jeffrey Ostler, University of Oregon. “Indian Warfare in the West”
Malinda Maynor Lowery, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. “Race between Reconstruction and Civil Rights”
Brenda Child, University of Minnesota and John Troutman, University of Louisiana – Lafayette. “American Indian Education from Reconstruction to the New Deal”
COMMENTATOR: Fred Hoxie, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Session Seven: From the Indian New Deal to the Postwar Era
Mindy J. Morgan, Michigan State University. “’Working’ from the Margins: Documenting American Indian Participation in the New Deal Era”
Sierra Adare-Tasiwoopa ápi, SUNY Buffalo. “Overcoming Barriers, Battles, and the Home Front: American Indians Helping to Win the War”
Andrew Needham, New York University. “Powering American Indian Energy and Postwar Consumption”
COMMENTATOR: Cathleen Cahill, University of New Mexico

Session Eight: Civil Rights, Indigenous Rights
David Beck, University of Montana. “The Civil Rights Movement and Indians”
John J. Laukaitis, North Park University. “Positioning the American Indian Self-Determination Movement in the Era of Civil Rights”
K. Tsianina Lomawaima, University of Arizona. “Exploding Federalism: Native Nations as Sovereign Partners”
Chris Andersen, University of Alberta. “Global Indigeneity”
COMMENTATOR: Robert Warrior, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Concluding Remarks: Nancy Shoemaker, University of Connecticut

Download Poster

Cost and Registration Information 

The symposium is free and open to the public. RSVP to mcnickle@newberry.org by April 26, 2013.