Challenging the Continued Erasure of Indigenous Histories

AHA Session 168
Sunday, January 5, 2020: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Bowery (Sheraton New York, Lower Level)
Joshua Reid, University of Washington
Christine DeLucia, Williams College
Doug Kiel, Northwestern University
Jean M. O'Brien, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Alyssa Mt. Pleasant, State University of New York, University at Buffalo, and American Philosophical Society
Melanie Yazzie, University of New Mexico

Session Abstract

Despite the exponential growth in Native American and Indigenous Studies programs and scholarship, Indigenous peoples remain largely absent from many larger historical narratives. In new histories of the United States, popular musicals and books, classroom curricula, and museum exhibits, for example, Native peoples remain faceless and nameless, with a few exceptions in the distant past. These continued erasures both reflect and perpetuate the “logic of elimination” at the heart of settler colonialism. The continued erasure of Indigenous histories has real consequences—it makes it difficult for most to understand the needs of Native nations today.

This roundtable seeks to address the continued erasures of Indigenous histories, highlighting not only the problems and consequences of these erasures, but also revealing ways that scholars and Native peoples have sought to overcome this challenge. The participants have all addressed this issue in various ways, from publications to classroom curriculum to public events. Unlike more traditional roundtables, during which participants speak for 10-15 minutes each before engaging in discussion and fielding questions, this roundtable will be organized around a handful of questions that participants will address. Potential questions include, “How does your scholarship seek to counter the erasure of Indigenous histories,” and “What are the consequences of the erasure of Indigenous histories?” Participants will also be invited to speak specifically about steps we can take to restore Indigenous histories to larger narratives of the past. Ample time will be left to invite the audience to pose their own questions for the panelists.

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