More Than Mascots! Less Than Citizens? American Indians Talk: Why Isn’t the U.S. Listening?
Long ago and far away – which is to say, the United States of America in 1970 – brilliant Indigenous intellectual Vine Deloria, Jr. wrote a book titled We Talk, You Listen. If current debates over the name of a subpar NFL team are any indication, the U.S. did not get the message. Why is that? Why is willful ignorance about American Indian realities so deeply entrenched and passionately defended? Key answers are embedded in early 20th century federal court cases and legislation, including the 1924 Indian Citizenship Act. Tracing the history of U.S. debates over the status of Native people – are we aliens? Wards? Citizens? – illuminates the challenges and opportunities that surviving, thriving Native peoples pose for U.S. society.
About the Speaker
K. Tsianina Lomawaima (Mvskoke/Creek Nation of Eastern Oklahoma, not enrolled) is a professor of Justice and Social Inquiry in the School of Social Transformation, 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. 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. 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. She is the author of several books including, To Remain an Indian: Lessons for Democracy from a Century of Native American Education (co-authored with Teresa L. McCarty), which received the Outstanding Book Award from the American Educational Research Association; Uneven Ground: American Indian Sovereignty and Federal Law (co-authored with David E. Wilkins); Away From Home, American Indian Boarding School Experiences (co-author and co-editor with Margaret Archuleta and Brenda Child); and They Called It Prairie Light: The Story of Chilocco Indian School, which received the North American Indian Prose Award and the American Educational Association Critics’ Choice Award.