Native Historians Write Back: Decolonizing American Indian History

Editor’s Note: Occasionally, Unsettling America will select and showcase a featured book. Today, we bring you “Native Historians Write Back: Decolonizing American Indian History”, published in 2011 by the Texas Tech University Press.

Indigenous scholars have their say

Edited by Susan A. Miller and James Riding In


No matter what you know about Lewis and Clark, the Hopi Snake Dance, the occupation of Wounded Knee village, or the Seminole Freedmen claim, you have never before seen those and myriad other historic episodes from these perspectives. In this first-of-its-kind anthology, American Indian scholars examine crucial events in their own nations’ histories. On the one hand, these writers represent diverse tribal perspectives. On the other, they share a unifying point of view grounded in ancestral wisdom: the Cosmos is a live being, Earth is our Mother, the North American tribes are engaged in national liberation struggles, and Indigenous realities are as viable as any other. Fanciful? Read this book and see whether you still think so.

“There is no question that Native Historians Write Back is right on target with its truth seeking and truth telling. This anthology must be commended for its intelligence, courage, integrity, and grace.” —Simon J. Ortiz, author of Speaking for the Generations: Native Writers on Writing


The Origin of the Indigenous Paradigm in Historiography | Susan A. Miller

The Indigenous Paradigm in American Indian Historiography | Susan A. Miller

The Lewis and Clark Story, the Captive Narrative, and the Pitfalls of Indian History | Elizabeth Cook-Lynn

Hopi Culture and a Matter of Representation | Lomayumtewa C. Ishii

The United States Has No Jurisdiction in Sioux Territory | Vine Deloria, Jr.

Wahtohtana héda Ñyút^achi Mahín Xánje Akípa: The Year the Otoe and Missouria Meet the Americans | Matthew L. Jones

Calling Badger and the Symbols of the Spirit Language: The Cree Origins of the Syllabic System | Winona Stevenson (Winona Wheeler)

Looking after Gdoo-naaganinaa: Precolonial Nishnaabeg Diplomatic and Treaty Relationships | Leanne Simpson

Removing the Heart of the Choctaw People: Indian Removal from a Native Perspective | Donna L. Akers

Decolonizing the 1862 Death Marches | Waziyatawin Angela Wilson

The United States v. Yellow Sun et al. (the Pawnee People): A Case Study of Institutional and Societal Racism and U.S. Justice in Nebraska from the 1850s to the 1870s | James Riding In

The Ruby Valley Indian Reservation of Northeastern Nevada: “Six Miles Square” | Steven J. Crum

Chairmen, Presidents, and Princesses: The Navajo Nation, Gender, and the Politics of Tradition | Jennifer Nez Denetdale

Seminoles and Africans under Seminole Law: Sources and Discourses of Tribal Sovereignty and “Black Indian” Entitlement | Susan A. Miller

Countering Colonization: The Albuquerque Laguna Colony | Myla Vicenti Carpio

Six Pawnee Crania: Historical and Contemporary Issues Associated with the Massacre and Decapitation of Pawnee Indians in 1869 | James Riding In

Susan A. Miller of the Seminole Nation is a freelance writer living in Lincoln, Nebraska.

James Riding In of the Pawnee Nation is an associate professor of American Indian Studies at Arizona State University.

5 responses to “Native Historians Write Back: Decolonizing American Indian History

  1. I am a 17 year old resident of Ohio. I have always been fascinated with the ways of natives along with the beauty of nature. As I grow and learn more about myself, I have continued to support the native way of life. I long for a world where the balance of nature rules all. I now spend most of my time in the forest and have completed construction of a 30 ft longhouse and even indigenous tools. I would like to hear back from a group that has similar beliefs as me as I realize the balance of life needs to be restored before its too late.

  2. Pingback: A Lost Covenant

  3. Pingback: Six Pawnee Scouts: a Homecoming

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s