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Indigenous Enslavement and Incarceration in North American History

Gilder Lehrman Center's 15th Annual International Conference
November 15-16, 2013

Luce Hall Auditorium, 34 Hillhouse Avenue
Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut


Conference Participants



The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair
Chair, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Justice Murray Sinclair was appointed Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in June 2009. He was born and raised on the former St. Peters Indian Reserve in the Selkirk area north of Winnipeg, Manitoba. His traditional Anishinaabe name is Mizhana Gheezhik (Pictures in the Sky). He is a member of the Water Clan (Rainbow Trout) and is a Third Degree Midewiwin.

He graduated from his high school as Class Valedictorian and Athlete of the Year in 1968. He attended the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba, and graduated from the University of Manitoba Faculty of Law in 1979. Manitoba's first Aboriginal judge, and the second in Canada, he was appointed Associate Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Manitoba in 1988 and to the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba in 2001.

In 1988, he was appointed Co-Commissioner of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba along with Court of Queen's Bench Associate Chief Justice A.C. Hamilton.

In his legal practice, Justice Murray represented a cross-section of clients and was known for his representation of Aboriginal peoples and his expertise in Aboriginal legal issues. He is the recipient of a National Aboriginal Achievement Award and many other community service awards. He holds honourary degrees from the University of Ottawa, St. John's College at the University of Manitoba, Dalhousie University, the University of Winnipeg, Ryerson University, Red River College, Keewatin Community College, and the University of Manitoba for his work in the field of Aboriginal justice. Justice Sinclair and his wife Katherine have been together for 33 years. He is a father of four and a Mooshim (Grandfather) to Sarah.



Ned Blackhawk

Ned Blackhawk (Western Shoshone) is a Professor of History and American Studies at Yale and was on the faculty from 1999 to 2009 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A graduate of McGill University, he holds graduate degrees in History from UCLA and the University of Washington and is the author of Violence over the Land: Indians and Empires in the early American West (Harvard, 2006), a study of the American Great Basin that garnered half a dozen professional prizes, including the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize from the Organization of American Historians. In addition to serving in professional associations and on the editorial boards of American Quarterly and Ethnohistory , Professor Blackhawk has led the establishment of two fellowships, one for American Indian Students to attend the Western History Association's annual conference, the other for doctoral students working on American Indian Studies dissertations at Yale named after Henry Roe Cloud (Winnebago, Class of 1910).



David W. Blight

David W. Blight, the Class of 1954 Professor of History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University, is the author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (Harvard University Press, 2001), which received seven book awards, including the Bancroft Prize, the Abraham Lincoln Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Prize as well as four awards from the Organization of American Historians, including the Merle Curti prizes for both intellectual and social history. He is also the author of a book of essays, Beyond the Battlefield: Race, Memory, and the American Civil War (University of Massachusetts Press, 2002); and Frederick Douglass's Civil War: Keeping Faith in Jubilee (LSU Press, 1989). Blight participated closely in the discovery and bringing to light of two new slave narratives in 2004 and edited and introduced the book, with Harcourt Press, A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation (2007). Blight's newest book, American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era (Harvard University Press, published August 2011), received the 2012 Anisfield-Wolf Award for best book in non-fiction on racism and human diversity; the work is an intellectual history of Civil War memory, rooted in the work of Robert Penn Warren, Bruce Catton, Edmund Wilson, and James Baldwin. Blight has also been a consultant to several documentary films, including the 1998 PBS series, "Africans in America," and "The Reconstruction Era" (2004). Blight has a Ph. D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has also taught at Harvard University, at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, and for seven years was a public high school teacher in his hometown, Flint, Michigan.



Christine DeLucia

Christine DeLucia is an assistant professor of history at Mount Holyoke College. Her work examines the Northeast/New England during the late 17th-century conflict of King Philip's War, and traces how that violence has continued to shape memory, land, and politics for Native and settler communities. A critical dimension of this work is the wartime enslavement of Algonquian Indians, their forced dispersal across a Red Atlantic World, and contemporary re-connections among descendant communities. Her current book project, The Memory Frontier: Memorializing King Philip's War in the Native Northeast , is under contract with Yale University Press, for the Henry Roe Cloud Series on American Indians and Modernity. Her writings on violence, colonialism, and indigenous histories have appeared in The Journal of American History, Studies in American Indian Literatures, Re-thinking History , and Common-place . DeLucia received her Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale and did previous degrees at the University of St. Andrews and Harvard.



Alejandra Dubcovsky

Alejandra Dubcovsky is Assistant Professor of History at Yale University. Her forthcoming book, tentatively titled Colonial Communication, Networks of Information in the American South from Pre-Contact to 1740 (Harvard University Press), focuses on the acquisition and transmission of news in a pre-postal, pre-printing press colonial world. Dubcovsky's other publications include: "One Hundred Sixty-One Knots, Two Plates, and One Emperor: Creek Information Networks in the Era of the Yamasee War," Ethnohistory 59.3 (Summer 2012) (winner of the John H. Hann Award from the Florida Historical Society), and "A Snapshot of the Southeast," Common-Place, vol. 12, No. 4. July 2012. Her teaching and research focus on Early America, colonial interactions, and the history of information. She has two future projects. The first is a comparative study of the role of language and interpreters in the colonial world, and the second is a history of the Tuscaroras. Her awards and fellowships include the Kettner Dissertation Prize from UC Berkeley, where she received her Ph.D., George H. Guttridge Prize, the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowships in Humanistic Studies, the Librarians for Tomorrow Grant, and a Research Fellowship for the Study of the Global South.



Robbie Ethridge

Robbie Ethridge is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Mississippi. In addition to writing several articles and book chapters, she is the author of Creek Country: The Creek Indians and Their World, 1796-1816 (2003) and the Mooney Award winning book From Chicaza to Chickasaw: The European Invasion and the Transformation of the Mississippian World, 1540-1715 (2010), both published by the University of North Carolina Press. She is also co-editor on three anthologies, The Transformation of the Southeastern Indians, 1540-1715, co-edited with Charles Hudson (2003), Light on the Path: The Anthropology and History of the Southeastern Indians, co-edited with Thomas J. Pluckhahn (2006), and Mapping the Mississippian Shatter Zone: The Colonial Indian Slave Trade and Regional Instability in the American South, co-edited with Sheri M. Shuck-Hall (2009). She is also North American editor of the journal Ethnohistory, published by Duke University Press, and a founding editor of the journal Native South, published by the University of Nebraska Press. Her current research is on the rise and fall of the Mississippian world which examines the rise of the world of the pre-Columbian Mississippian chiefdoms, the 700-year history of this world, the collapse of this world with European contact, and the restructuring of the Native South into the colonial South.



John Faragher

John Mack Faragher is Howard R. Lamar Professor of History & American Studies and Director of the Howard R. Lamar Center. He was born in Phoenix, Arizona and raised in southern California, where he attended the University of California, Riverside (B.A., 1967), and did social work, before coming to Yale (Ph.D., 1977). After fifteen years as a professor at Mount Holyoke College he returned to Yale in 1993. His books include Women and Men on the Overland Trail (1979); Sugar Creek: Life on the Illinois Prairie (1986); Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer (1992); The American West: A New Interpretive History (2000), with Robert V. Hine; A Great and Noble Scheme: The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians from their American Homeland (2005); and Frontiers: A Short History of the American West (2007), with Robert V. Hine. He teaches the history of the American West and directs the Howard R. Lamar Center for the Study of Frontiers and Borders.



Joseph P. Gone

Joseph P. Gone is associate professor of Psychology (Clinical Area) and American Culture (Native American Studies) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He has published more than 40 articles and chapters exploring the cultural psychology of self, identity, personhood, and social relations in indigenous community settings vis--vis the mental health professions, with particular attention to therapeutic interventions such as psychotherapy and traditional healing. In addition to two early career awards for emerging leadership in ethnic minority psychology, Gone most recently received the Stanley Sue Award for Distinguished Contributions to Diversity in Clinical Psychology from the Society for Clinical Psychology within the American Psychological Association.



Margaret Jacobs

Margaret Jacobs is the Chancellor's Professor of History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and was the director of that university's Women's and Gender Studies program from 2006 until August 2011. She teaches courses on the history of women and gender in the U.S. and in the American West, as well as comparative seminars on women, gender and empire. She has published over a dozen articles and two award-winning books, Engendered Encounters: Feminism and Pueblo Cultures, 1879-1934, in 1999, and White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism, and the Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880-1940, in 2009, which won the 2010 Bancroft Prize from Columbia University. Her current project, "Taking Care: The Indigenous Child Welfare Crisis and the Conscience of Settler Colonial Nations, 1950-2000," examines why Indigenous children came to be over-represented in the child welfare systems of the United States, Australia, and Canada, and how Indigenous women activists mobilized to confront this crisis.



K. Tsianina Lomawaima

K. Tsianina Lomawaima is Professor of American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona. Commencing January 1, 2014, she will be Professor in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. An interdisciplinary scholar whose work straddles Indigenous Studies, anthropology, education, ethnohistory, history, legal analysis, and political science, Lomawaima focuses on the early 20th century, examining the "footprint" of federal Indian policy and practice in Indian country. Her research on the federal off-reservation boarding school system is rooted in the experiences of her father, Curtis Thorpe Carr, who at age 9 arrived at Chilocco Indian Agricultural School in Oklahoma. Her recent work focuses on early 20th century debates over the status of Native individuals and nations, and the ways U.S. citizenship has been constructed to hierarchically privilege and/or dispossess different classes of subjects. Professor Lomawaima was President of the Native American & Indigenous Studies Association/NAISA in 2011-2012.



Tiya Miles

Tiya Miles is Chair of the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, Elsa Barkley Brown Collegiate Professor, and Professor of History, American Culture, Native American Studies and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of two prize-winning books, Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom (2005) and The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story (2010), and various articles on women's history and black and Native interrelated experience. She is co-editor, with Sharon P. Holland, of Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds: The African Diaspora in Indian Country (2006). In 2011 she was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.



Beth H. Piatote

Beth H. Piatote is associate professor of Native American Studies and affiliated faculty in American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include Native American/aboriginal literature and history, federal Indian law in the United States and Canada, and Nez Perce language and literature. She is the author of Domestic Subjects: Gender, Citizenship, and Law in Native American Literature (2013) and co-editor, with Chadwick Allen, of The Society of American Indians and Its Legacies (2013).



Rachel S. Purvis

Rachel S. Purvis is the Cassius Marcellus Clay Postdoctoral Associate at Yale University. She received her doctorate from the University of Mississippi in 2012. Her dissertation, "'Maintaining Intact Our Homogenousness': Race, Citizenship, & Reconstructing Cherokee," examined the intersection of race and nationalism in the post-Civil War Cherokee Nation. During her tenure as Clay Fellow, Purvis is working on a manuscript project based on her dissertation. Her research emphasizes the effect of emancipation on the rebuilding of the indigenous nation in the late nineteenth century. Purvis examines the ways in which indigenous nations and indigenous peoples actively participated in the process of Reconstruction by constantly asserting their own ideas about their proper place and role in the newly reunited American nation. In addition, Purvis is also collaborating with Economic Professor's Melinda Miller on a second project that focuses on the emancipation acts passed by a group of Union-allied Cherokees in the winter council of 1863. Although the historical narrative records the emancipation of Cherokee-owned slaves, it does not describe the process in much detail. Their research reveals the far-reaching implications of Cherokee actions in 1863, by connecting the council with the current dispute between Cherokee Freedmen descendants and the Cherokee Nation over access to citizenship in the native nation.



Debbie Reese

Debbie Reese is tribally enrolled at Nambe Pueblo. As a child, she attended Nambe Day School; as an adult, she taught at Santa Fe Indian School. The editor and publisher of the website, "American Indians in Children's Literature," her research is published in books and journals used in Teacher Education, English, and Library Science. She has taught elementary and middle school students at public schools and boarding schools for American Indian children, university students at the University of Illinois, and works collaboratively with tribal librarians and programs.



Howard Sapers

Howard Sapers was appointed Correctional Investigator of Canada in 2004. Previously, Mr. Sapers has been the Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Alberta, an elected member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, Director of the National Crime Prevention Centre Investment Fund and Vice Chairperson (Prairie Region) of the Parole Board Canada. Currently, Mr. Sapers serves as a North American Region member of the International Ombudsman Institute Board of Directors and a member of the Board of Directors for the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman. Mr. Sapers is a member of the Centre for Public Legal Education (Alberta) Board of Directors. Mr. Sapers represents the community of small federal departments and agencies on the Government of Canada Small Department Audit Committee and is the Chairman of the Department of National Defence/Canadian Forces Ombudsman Advisory Committee. Mr. Sapers is an Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University's School of Criminology.



Jace Weaver

Jace Weaver is the Franklin Professor of Native American Studies and Director of the Institute of Native American Studies at the University of Georgia. He is the author or editor of thirteen books. His most recent are Oklahoma Revolution: Radicalism against Racism, 1923, forthcoming from Reacting Consortium Press, and The Red Atlantic: American Indigenes and the Making of the Modern World, 1000-1927, forthcoming from University of North Carolina Press.



Fay Yarbrough

Fay Yarbrough received her doctorate in American history from Emory University. She is an Associate Professor at Rice University and previously taught at the University of Kentucky and the University of Oklahoma. Yarbrough is the author of Race and the Cherokee Nation: Sovereignty in the Nineteenth Century and the co-editor with Sandra Slater of Gender and Sexuality in Indigenous North America, 1400-1850. She has also published articles in the Journal of Southern History and the Journal of Social History. Currently she is researching a project considering Choctaw Indians and the American Civil War.



Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel

Zobel is the Medicine Woman and Tribal Historian for the Mohegan Indian Tribe in Uncasville, Connecticut. She grew up studying tribal traditions under her great aunt and predecessor, Medicine Woman Gladys Tantaquidgeon (1899-2005), who received an honorary doctorate from Yale in 1994. Zobel received an MFA from Fairfield University in Creative Writing, an MA from the University of Connecticut in History, and a BSFS from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

Her publications include Medicine Trail: The Life and Lessons of Gladys Tantaquidgeon (University of Arizona Press, 2000) and two novels: Oracles (University of New Mexico Press, 2004), a futuristic tale in which the fictional Yantuck Indians must find a way to preserve the natural environment that survives on their reservation, and Fire Hollow (Ravens Wing Books, 2010), a gothic Native mystery set in Victorian New England. She is currently completing a young adult novel. Zobel received an Emmy in 2002 for her work on the documentary "The Mark of Uncas," and won the first annual North American Native Writers' First Book Award for The Lasting of the Mohegans in 1992. In 2009, she won the Alaska Federation of Natives national essay contest for her paper on indigenous economics, "The Accomac Model."



Banner images (left to right): "Prisoners take to Fort Marion, St. Augustine, Florida, 1875," Richard Pratt Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library; Catlin, George. Illustrations of the Manners, Customs, and Condition of the North American Indians. 7th Edition (1848),"Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library; "Alcatraz," Art Kane, photographer, courtesy Art Kane Archive, www.artkane.com.