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We Are Not Canada, But We Could Learn A Thing or Two

We Are Not Canada, But We Could Learn A Thing or Two

In a speech delivered last week before the United Nations, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke about his country’s history of relations with its indigenous population.  He wanted to show the world that Canada could take responsibility for the “terrible mistakes” of its past. Whether or not Canada has succeeded in doing, so, Trudeau spoke of the enduring legacies of colonialism.  “Early colonial relationships,” he said, for Canada’s First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples, “were not about strength through diversity,…

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One Ring to Rule Them All: Roanoke and that Signet Ring

One Ring to Rule Them All: Roanoke and that Signet Ring

Recently Smithsonian Magazine published a piece by Andrew Lawler on the signet ring found on Hatteras Island by archaeologist David Sutton Phelps. Phelps, who taught at East Carolina University, died in 2009. As Lawler correctly points out, The 1998 discovery electrified archaeologists and historians. The artifact seemed a rare remnant of the first English attempt to settle the New World that might also shed light on what happened to 115 men, women, and children who settled the coast, only to…

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We Are Teachers

We Are Teachers

Many years ago I served on a search committee for a position in the history of American Foreign Policy. For many reasons it was an odd search, and we ultimately did not succeed in hiring anyone for the opening.  We interviewed one candidate over the phone, with an exceptional record of publication, and a strong, Ivy League academic pedigree. He was doing a post-doc at some thinktank somewhere and, when asked about teaching said that, yes, he did enjoy it,…

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The Treaty of Big Tree–Let’s Follow the Money

The Treaty of Big Tree–Let’s Follow the Money

The anniversary of the “Treaty of Big Tree,” signed on the 15th of September in 1797, is approaching. According to a New York State historical marker, the agreement was negotiated on land that now provides parking for students who attend the college where I teach.  It is a big deal in Geneseo. It is the one, big, historical event that occurred within the town’s bounds. One thing that I think a lot of non-historians do not realize is the amount…

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Creative Destruction: Or, Let’s Bash Some Monuments

Creative Destruction: Or, Let’s Bash Some Monuments

It’s what we do, at least metaphorically. For historians, the destruction of monuments can be a good thing, a visceral and often-times important act of revision. It is an opportunity to replace dated and damaging interpretations of the past with more complicated, nuanced, and correct stories. We do not necessarily need to destroy Confederate statues to do this, but certainly we can reinterpret them, knock them down a few pegs, and re-write the stories that these racist monuments to white supremacy…

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What You Need To Read, September 2017

What You Need To Read, September 2017

The following items have made it on to my bibliography of things I must see. I hope you find this helpful.  If you feel that I missed something that ought to have been included, by all means feel free to let me know and I will update this list.  Next update will appear in December:   Alexie, Sherman. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir, (New York: Little, Brown, 2017). Baires, Sarah E. Land of Water, City…

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Why I Should Probably Boycott the NFL this Season

Why I Should Probably Boycott the NFL this Season

It’s not because the Buffalo Bills will be terrible.  As a long-suffering fan, I am used to all that the Bills give their supporters–strange draft choices, poor coaching, fluky management, and a game-day environment that all-too-often can resemble an afternoon on the Ice Planet Hoth but with way more shitty, over-priced beer. In part, it is because of the increasing evidence of the danger of the sport.  Years ago, both of my sons played football in high school.  Today, I…

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On Charlottesville, and Our National Character

On Charlottesville, and Our National Character

In what ways does the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville matter? In the past two weeks I have listened to the Attorney General of the United States announce his determination to investigate discrimination on college campuses against…..wait for it….white people.  This move was endorsed by a President who has called Mexicans “rapists” and “animals,” and who has in as many words endorsed police brutality against African Americans and other people of color.  A sheriff’s deputy in Oklahoma, meanwhile, who gunned…

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Thanks!

Thanks!

At long last, Native America has hit the shelves.  I received my authors’ copies the other day, and there are several dozen copies on my campus bookstore’s shelves awaiting the students who will arrive in two weeks or so.  The first edition appeared in 2010, so it this version has been a long time coming. I hope that it will not be another seven years before the next edition appears. And that is because so much wonderful scholarship is being…

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Red Lives Matter-Recent News

Red Lives Matter-Recent News

An Ontario First Nations man, Romeo Wesley, was beaten by police in 2010, blasted with pepper spray, handcuffed, and stepped on. He died.  On the 20th of July, a coroner’s inquest ruled his death “accidental.”  According to the CBC report, Wesley had approached the nursing station at a medical facility in the Cat Lake First Nation, well north of Thunder Bay.  He was, according to the nurses, acting erratically. Police were called.  Then, “two officers pepper sprayed Wesley, tackled him…

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