November 8 * Zoom discussion with Mary Kathryn Nagle (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma), author of the play “Sovereignty”

Sunday, November 8, 2020 at 2:00 pm Eastern
Live online Zoom discussion and reading. Registration required. Free.
Hosted by: The Michael C. Carlos Museum.

An online discussion and play reading, in collaboration with the Decatur Book Festival, by Mary Kathryn Nagle (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma), author of the play Sovereignty, about the Cherokee Nation’s legal fight for sovereignty and also violence against women.

Written by Mary Kathryn Nagle, lawyer, playwright, and direct descendant of nineteenth-century Cherokee leaders John Ridge and Major Ridge, Sovereig unfolds over two parallel timelines. In present-day Oklahoma, a young Cherokee lawyer, Sarah Ridge Polson, and her colleague Jim Ross defend the inherent jurisdiction of Cherokee Nation in the U.S. Supreme Court when a non-Indian defendant challenges the Nation’s authority to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence. Their collaboration is juxtaposed with scenes from 1835, when Cherokee Nation was eight hundred miles to the east in the southern Appalachians. That year, Sarah’s and Jim’s ancestors, historic Cherokee rivals, were bitterly divided over a proposed treaty with the administration of Andrew Jackson, the Treaty of New Echota, which led to the nation’s removal to Oklahoma on the infamous Trail of Tears.

October 12 * Zoom Panel Discussion on McGirt V. Oklahoma: Understanding the Implications of the Recent Supreme Court Decision Across Native America

Monday, October 12, 2020 at 4:00 pm Eastern.
Live online Zoom panel discussion. Registration required. Free.

Creek Nation Council House, Okmulgee, Oklahoma

In celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Emory University Professor of English Craig Womack (Creek) chairs a panel discussion titled McGirt V. Oklahoma: Understanding the Implications of the Recent Supreme Court Decision Across Native America

Sarah Deer (Creek), University of Kansas Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Barbara Creel (Jemez Pueblo), University of New Mexico School of Law; and Andrew Adams III (Creek), Muscogee Creek Nation Supreme Court; and Professor Womack will explore the implications of the decision regarding the Creek Nation for Oklahoma tribal nations and other parts of Indian Country.   

This lecture is made possible through the generous financial support of the Hightower Lecture Fund and is co-sponsored by the Native American and Indigenous Students Initiative, the Michael C. Carlos Museum, and the School of Law Health Law, Policy & Ethics Project.

ZOOM registration link for webinar:

Dancing with Synthetic Moccasins

by Klamath Henry (C’19)

Native American students who attend primarily white institutions are constantly dancing between two different worlds. In one world, they are their authentic selves: Indigenous. In another, they try to morph themselves into what the white man wants them to be: assimilated.

My 2018 website was named “dancing with synthetic moccasins,” because that is what it feels like for Native students who are in all-white spaces. They are constantly dancing and walking with prayer throughout their college journeys. Yet, somehow this dance must be done in shoes. Instead of wearing leather moccasins, Native students must wear shoes in order to be succesful. They must appear to be tamed, and non-threatening.

Yet, dancing through their campuses, they do not forget who they are. From the outside they appear to be everything the dominant culture wants them to be. Little does the dominant culture know what the Native people are doing.

Regardless of what is on their feet, in dancing, they resist.

North American Indigenous People

by Klamath Henry (C’19).
Originally published in 2018

It is tricky to define what exactly a “North American Indigenous person” is. Issues of sovereignty, blood quantum and recognition all occur when speaking about a particular tribe.

It is first of all important to recognize that there still ARE Native peoples living in the United States. These people all are descendants from varying tribes, all of which have different identities, languages, spiritualities and ways of being. 

In short, not all Indians are the same.

Image result for tribal nations and names

Self-identification is especially important when speaking about Indigeniety.  The map above lists tribes with the labels that they individually gave themselves (decolonized versions of their own names). With the creation of the UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples), all peoples are allowed to self-identify as being an “Indigenous” person.

Tribes in the United States, however, have to prove their Indigeneity through blood and DNA screening, archaelogical records, etc. No other grouping of people in the United States has to do this. This is modern day colonialism.

Being “Indian” means different things to different people, just like being “American,” does to some.

It is important to educate yourself on the history of colonization and genocide. But, it is just as important that you educate yourself on how resilient the tribes who survived colonization are, and how they are managing the remnants of that genocide today.

Attached are links to important articles and resources of generalized material:

Genocide or Holocaust?

What Native American Heritage Month Means to Me

Who decides who counts as Native American? 

“What does it mean to be a Native American today?” 

Word Association: Reservation

A Conversation with Native Americans on Race

October 8 * Zoom Lecture on Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory

Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 7:30 pm Eastern.
Live online Zoom lecture. Registration required. Free.
Hosted by: The Michael C. Carlos Museum.

Professor Claudio Saunt, Richard B. Russell Professor in American History; Co-Director, Center for Virtual History; Associate Director, Institute of Native American Studies, University of Georgia

In May 1830, the United States formally launched a policy to expel Native Americans from the East to territories west of the Mississippi River. Justified as a humanitarian enterprise, the undertaking was to be systematic and rational, overseen by Washington’s small but growing bureaucracy. But as the policy unfolded over the next decade, thousands of Native Americans died under the federal government’s auspices, and thousands of others lost their possessions and homelands in an orgy of fraud, intimidation, and violence.

Claudio Saunt, Richard B. Russell Professor in American History at the University of Georgia, discusses his new book Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory, in which he explores how expulsion became national policy and describes the chaotic and deadly results of the operation to deport 80,000 men, women, and children in order to secure new lands for the expansion of slavery and to consolidate the power of the southern states.

In telling this gripping story, Saunt shows how the politics and economics of white supremacy lay at the heart of the expulsion of Native Americans; how corruption, greed, and administrative indifference and incompetence contributed to the debacle of its implementation; and how the consequences still resonate today.

“One of the most important books published on U.S. history in recent years and should be required reading for all Americans.  — Sven Beckert, Laird Bell Professor of History, Harvard University, author of Empire of Cotton

Unworthy Republic offers a much-needed corrective to the American canon, showing how a heavy-handed president, a deadlocked Congress, and a lust for profit combined to construct a shameful national legacy. This book is timely, provocative, heart-wrenching, and original―a riveting story that invites us all to reflect on how we got where we are today.”   — Elizabeth Fenn, Distinguished Professor, University of Colorado Boulder       

Registration link for this free Zoom program:

To purchase a copy of Unworthy Republic, email the Carlos Museum Bookshop at mburell [at] emory [dot] edu. Please include your name and phone number and let us know if you would like the order shipped to you or if you would like to arrange for curbside pickup outside the museum.

This program is made possible through the generous support of the Grace Welch Blanton Lecture Fund.

September 28 * Zoom Lecture on Geographies of Latinx Indigeneity

Monday, September 28, 2020 at 12:00 noon
Live online Zoom lecture. Registration required. Free.

Presenter: Dr. Maylei Blackwell, Associate Professor in the César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies and Women’s Studies Department, and affiliated faculty in the American Indian Studies and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies, UCLA.

Sponsored by: James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference
Race & Difference Colloquium Series

September 10 * Zoom Lecture “Cherokee Art: Past, Present, and Future”

Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 7:30 pm

Hosted by: The Michael C. Carlos Museum

The Cherokee have a rich artistic heritage, stretching back centuries.  These traditions were carried on the Trail of Tears, these traditions continued in Indian Territory. In a lecture titled “Cherokee Art: Past, Present, and Future,” Jace Weaver, Franklin Professor of Native American Studies and Director of the Institute of Native American Studies at the University of Georgia, will examine the enduring legacy of Cherokee art, focusing especially on masks and basketry.

This lecture is made possible through the generous support of the Grace Welch Blanton Lecture Fund. It is free and open to the public.