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We Cannot Forget What We Do Not Remember

We Cannot Forget What We Do Not Remember

I have told  myself that I would not write about Donald Trump, but the guy is the gift that keeps on giving, if by gifts one means a series of outrages that forebode some national or global calamity. This week, on the Ides of March, our Bronze Creon visited the grave of Old Hickory, Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States. Trump’s affection for Jackson is clear–a portrait of Jackson hangs in the Oval Office and, in a…

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Thinking of Gnadenhutten, 8 March 1782

Thinking of Gnadenhutten, 8 March 1782

I have thought a lot lately about the old charge that University faculty are all left-wingers who distort the minds of the tender children enrolled in their courses.   I have never believed this.  When I took my first job in Montana, my colleagues in the history department included a Missouri Synod Lutheran pastor who despised liberals and loved Rush Limbaugh, an Iraqi Seventh-Day Adventist who worried that African Americans would move to Billings because it was easier there to commit…

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Betsy DeVos Needs to go to School

Betsy DeVos Needs to go to School

What a dark and frightening world it is that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos sees awaiting the young people attending the nation’s colleges and universities. “The faculty,” DeVos warned an audience some time back at the Conservative Political Action Conference, “from adjunct professors to deans, tell you want to do, what to say, and more ominously, what to think.” Oh, Secretary DeVos, you have it all so wrong. I have attended colleges and universities, public and private, as a student…

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Oliphant v. Suquamish: Forty Years Ago Today

Oliphant v. Suquamish: Forty Years Ago Today

  Today is the anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in  Oliphant v. Suquamish, a case that involved a native community along the Salish Sea, a white interloper, and the evisceration of the power of native peoples to govern and preserve order in their communities.  The Court issued its ruling on this date in 1978. When I revised Native America and completed the second edition, I wanted to include more discussion of the role played by the American judiciary in…

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Donald Trump’s Pocahontas Problem

Donald Trump’s Pocahontas Problem

It is difficult to keep up with the sheer quantity of daily news generated by the new administration, but I wrote the following piece after Donald Trump, once again, referred to his principal critic, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, as Pocahontas.  The day after this news broke, I asked my students what they thought of it.  These are bright kids, engaged, and they believed quite strongly that Trump’s behavior was inappropriate, and juvenile.  Many of them volunteered that this sort…

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#NoDAPL: Easement Approved

#NoDAPL: Easement Approved

The news is not surprising, but disappointing nonetheless.  Douglas Lamont, the “Senior Official Preforming (sic) the Duties of the Assistant Secretary of the Army” announced that he had called upon the Army Corps of Engineers to end its Environmental Impact Review.  He has asked that his intentions be published in the Federal Register.  The process will move quickly if the Trump Administration has its way, for Lamont told congressional leaders that the Army will “waive its policy to wait 14 days…

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The Indian Child Welfare Act Remains Under Attack

The Indian Child Welfare Act Remains Under Attack

Today comes news that South Dakota is going to appeal a federal court decision that found the state guilty of violating the rights of Native Americans under the terms of the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act.  The problems in South Dakota have been well documented.  NPR did an in-depth investigation, and the story has been covered widely in the Native American press.  It is devastating to learn about. What has been missing has been historical context.  If you or your…

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American Indian Law and Public Policy

American Indian Law and Public Policy

Welcome Back! It is the first week of classes at Geneseo, and as part of my spring cycle of courses, I am teaching once again my course entitled “American Indian Law and Public Policy.”  The course is required for the minor in Native American Studies, fulfills the college’s Social Sciences and “Other World Cultures” general education requirements, and is an optional course for students minoring in Public Administration. Of course, it is also an elective open to history majors.  The…

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The Obama Legacy and Native American Affairs

The Obama Legacy and Native American Affairs

Outgoing Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has completed her exit memo, touting the accomplishments of her department during the Obama years.  Jewell does not cover everything, but the memo does reveal that government can do important work in Indian affairs, and that it can be a force for good in Indian Country.  I cannot say for sure how many of the men and women staffing the new Trump administration will share that view. In any event, you can read…

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#NoDAPL

#NoDAPL

Last night I appeared on WXXI-TV’s show “Need to Know” to share my thoughts about the Dakota Access Pipeline and what the future looks like in the face of an impending Trump presidency.

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