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Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Revisited

Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Revisited

Peter Feinman does important work promoting the study of New York history. It is important to give him his due. That said, a number of recent posts on his blog touching upon subjects relevant to Native American history struck me as particularly disappointing. Over the past couple of weeks, Feinman has offered his thoughts on the Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day controversy. As many readers will no doubt recognize, a growing number of states, municipalities, and other organizations have replaced their…

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How Does a Story End?

How Does a Story End?

Driving from Rochester to Washington a couple of weeks ago, I saw this historical marker on Route 15, just north of the Pennsylvania state line. It commemorated the “final episode” of the Sullivan-Clinton campaign in 1779. American forces invaded the western Iroquois homelands and burned towns throughout the “Finger Lakes” region of western New York. I tell the story of the Sullivan-Clinton campaign in Native America. I have also written about it on this blog here and here. Because I…

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What You Need To Read, June 2019

What You Need To Read, June 2019

Anderson, Gary Clayton. Massacre in Minnesota: The Dakota War of 1862, The Most Violent Ethnic Conflict in American History, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2019). Arnott, Sigrid and David L. Maki., “Forts on Burial Mounds: Interlocked Lanscapes of Mourning and Colonialism at the Dakota-Settler Frontier, 1860-1876,” Historical Archaeology, 53 (March 2019) 153-169. Barman, Jean. Iroquois in the West, (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2019). Beck, David R. M. Unfair Labor: American Indians and the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, (Lincoln:…

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Dangerous Humors

Dangerous Humors

It was all a joke, they said. You saw the video. The people were laughing. They thought it was funny. Geez. Where’s your sense of humor? Nothing was meant by it. The “it,” of course, was the scene from the President’s latest “rally” in Florida. While riffing on the refugee crisis, the President wondered aloud what might be done about the problem of refugees crossing the border. One Florida Man audience member shouted, “Shoot them!” The white people standing behind…

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Donald Trump is Lying, Again

Donald Trump is Lying, Again

The President tweeted out this morning a call to his fellow Republicans to oppose H.R. 312, the “Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act.” This is rich. Six Republicans have co-sponsored the bi-partisan bill. INDIANZ.COM offered a useful summary of the legislation: The bill was introduced to resolve questions about the tribe’s ability to restore homelands through the land-into-trust process. Congress enacted a similar law in 2014 and did the same in 2018 to clear up doubts that have arisen as…

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On Seeing HAMILTON, In the Ugly Light of Trump’s America

On Seeing HAMILTON, In the Ugly Light of Trump’s America

            I am going to go see Hamilton this weekend, and I have been invited to share my impressions of the award-winning musical on a local NPR-affiliate the week following.  I will be teaching the American Revolution next semester, and as some of my posts over the past several months make clear, I have been thinking about the stories we should tell quite a bit.             I have also been thinking a lot about the American constitutional system that emerged…

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The Problem of Racial Sterotypes–It’s Not Just Native Americans Who Are Victims

The Problem of Racial Sterotypes–It’s Not Just Native Americans Who Are Victims

Oh, Penfield. For years you have held a lacrosse tournament the first weekend in May. You call it “Cinco de Laxo,” an obvious play on that made-up American holiday that takes place every May 5th. To promote this tournament, like most lacrosse tournament organizers and promoters, you produce posters and t-shirts. Nothing surprising in this at all. But in your promotional efforts, you utilize racist caricatures of Mexicans, images as deeply offensive as the Cleveland Indians’ “Chief Wahoo” logo, and…

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What’s In A Name

What’s In A Name

In Native America I spend quite a bit of time writing about the Dakotas in Minnesota, and on a handful of occasions, Fort Snelling enters the narrative. It is an important place in Dakota history. In part that is why the Minnesota Historical Society, one of the finest in the country, chose to rename the historic site as “Historic Fort Snelling at Bdote,” a nod to the location’s indigenous place name. It was a shift, an important change, in that…

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This Is Not A Lament

This Is Not A Lament

We all know that we live in tough times. A number of small, private, liberal arts colleges have gone belly up, a product of mismanagement, declining enrollment, or a combination of the two.  Funding for public higher education is either flat or falling, and some schools have dramatically cut back on programs.  Western Kentucky University, for instance, recently announced an end to 101 academic programs. Faculty members do more with less.  Demographic changes, meanwhile, have made their impact felt, as…

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Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and the Yakama Decision before the Supreme Court

Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and the Yakama Decision before the Supreme Court

As Nina Totenberg pointed out in her report on the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Washington State Department of Licensing v. Cougar Den, Inc., Trump-appointee Neil Gorsuch joined with the Court’s more liberal members in a significant defense of the Yakama tribe’s rights under its 1855 Treaty. Those treaties are discussed in the current edition of Native America. Justice Gorsuch wrote a concurring opinion with Justice Ginsberg that tells us much about where he stands on treaty rights. This is…

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