Event—Public Programming

From Sea to Shining Sea: Travelers, Tourists, and Tribal Sovereignty

Join scholars Katrina Phillips and Joseph Whitson in conversation as they draw on the interconnected themes of tourism, American expansion, and Native histories.


This program will be held in person at the Newberry. Please register for free in advance here. Learn about our COVID-19 safety policies.

What does it mean to be a traveler in the United States, whether voluntarily or involuntarily? What does it mean to be a tourist? How does tourism shape (or warp) our understanding of American history?

Historian Katrina Phillips explores these questions in the context of Native American history. Through her examinations of late 19th and early 20th-century tourism across the United States, Phillips argues that tourism, nostalgia, and history converge to form what she calls “salvage tourism”—a set of practices that documented the histories, languages, and cultures of Indigenous people while reinforcing a belief that Native American societies were inevitably disappearing.

Join scholars Katrina Phillips and Joseph Whitson in conversation as they draw on the interconnected themes of tourism, American expansion, and Native histories. Placing these themes within the history of the forced removal of Native nations from their homelands, Phillips and Whitson will explore what it means to move through spaces and places.

Katrina Phillips, an enrolled member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, is Assistant Professor of American Indian History at Macalester College and author of the new book, Staging Indigeneity: Salvage Tourism and the Performance of Native American History.

Joseph Whitson is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the Kaplan Institute on the Humanities at Northwestern University.

This event is part of programming for our exhibition Crossings: Mapping American Journeys, which will open at the Newberry on February 25, 2022.

Purchase Staging Indigeneity online from the Newberry Bookshop.

Your generosity is vital in keeping the library’s programs, exhibitions, and reading rooms free and accessible to everyone. Make a donation today.

COVID-19 Safety Policies

This is an in-person event at the Newberry. We continue to require that all visitors wear masks and be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. (The CDC’s definition of full vaccination can be found here.)

You may be asked to show proof of vaccination before the program begins. Proof of vaccination can include a physical vaccine card, a photocopy of the card, a digital record or app on your phone, or a printed record from a vaccine provider. A valid photo ID is required as well.

Thank you for your understanding as we take measures to ensure a safe learning environment for our visitors, volunteers, and staff.

In addition, we are limiting capacity to ensure social distancing is possible. If you feel sick on the day of the event, or have been in contact with someone who is sick, please stay home and visit us another time.

In compliance with an emergency travel order issued by the Chicago Department of Public Health, some visitors arriving from outside Illinois must take certain safety measures before visiting the Newberry.

Learn more about the Newberry’s visitor policy.

We are closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19 in Chicago and will move this program online if recommendations from public health officials change.