The following stories, published over the last few years, honor specific Indigenous cultural practices and histories, dispel myths about Indigenous people in North and South America, and help us understand the systemic racism that has contributed to the suppression of Native American cultures and people.

Wounded Knee, Standing Rock, and Resistance

An illustration of Incan ceremonies

How an Incan Nobleman Contested Spanish History

Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala left behind a one-of-a-kind object that undermines the crónicas de Indias.
Nicholas Black Elk

Wounded Knee and the Myth of the Vanished Indian

The story of the 1890 massacre was often about the end of Native American resistance to US expansion. But that’s not how everyone told it.
Wounded Knee march

Remembering Wounded Knee at Standing Rock

Have you been wondering about the history of Standing Rock protests and the American Indian Movement? Learn why and how we “Remember Wounded Knee.”
Mural by Diego Rivera of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan and life in Aztec times, 1945

Indigenismo in the United States

The adoption of Aztec cultural iconography by modern activists has roots in Mexican nationalist policies of the 1920s.
Cassava

The Taínos Refused to Grow Food. The Spanish Starved.

Rebellion against invasion triggered a series of events that would take a "swift and violent toll" on a Caribbean island's native biodiversity.
Dakota pipeline protestors

Standing Rock and the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Day and learn about the history of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Alaskan woman and child

Alaska’s Unique Civil Rights Struggle

A generation before Rosa Parks, a young Alaska Native woman was arrested for sitting in the "whites only" section of a Nome, Alaska movie theater.

Education

Susan La Flesche Picotte

The First Native American to Receive a Medical Degree

Susan LaFlesche Picotte was first Native American to be licensed to practice medicine in the U.S. She opened her own hospital, but didn't live to run it.
Alpha Pi Omega in UNC's Yackety Yack, 2003

Inside the First Indigenous Sorority

Alpha Pi Omega, the first historically Native American sorority, supports Native students and creates cultural space for them on university campuses.
Carlisle Indian Industrial School

How Native Americans Taught Both Assimilation and Resistance at Indian Schools

In the nineteenth century, many Native American children attended “Indian schools” designed to blot out Native cultures in favor of Anglo assimilation.
Classroom of students with their teachers inside a Walapai school at Hackbury, Arizona, circa 1900

Life in Indigenous Boarding Schools

Survivors of schools in the US spoke with scholars about their experiences of cruelty, neglect, and cultural degradation.
Ancient human footprints found at White Sands National Park in New Mexico

Why Academic-Indigenous Collaboration Is Tricky

Although many archaeologists are trained to prize objectivity, Indigenous scholars approach research with a different sort of grounding.
An illustration from America's story for America's children, 1900

How (Not) to Teach Kids about Native Cultures

Even well-intentioned books for children can romanticize (or demonize) Native Americans. But better materials exist.

Kinship, Families, and Women

A Hudson Bay Company trading post

Why the Dakota Only Traded among People with Kinship Bonds

“Trapping was not a ‘business for profit’ among the Dakota but primarily a social exchange,” one scholar writes.
An image of Native Americans swapping wives

Polygamy, Native Societies, and Spanish Colonists

Having more than one wife was an established part of life for some Native peoples before Europeans tried to end the practice.
MacArthus Fellow Sarah Deer standing in front of the sign for William Mitchell College of Law

Interview with MacArthur Fellow Sarah Deer: Native Women and the Law

MacArthur Fellow Sarah Deer discusses her legal work in preventing sexual violence among the Native American population.
A seminole town

The History of the Black Seminoles

The community's resilient history speaks of repeated invasions and resistance to enslavement.
The Native American village of Secoton

Yes, Americans Owned Land Before Columbus

What you were taught in elementary school about Native Americans not owning land is a myth. The truth is much more complicated.

Horticulture and Hunting

Tepary Beans, Squash and Corn

Returning Corn, Beans, and Squash to Native American Farms

Returning the "three sisters" to Native American farms nourishes people, land, and cultures.
fire lights the hills from a controlled burn off of maize stubble on a farm property at Makikihi in South Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand.

The Global Suppression of Indigenous Fire Management

Indigenous peoples' techniques to manage and benefit from fire are threatened, even as wildfires burn more frequently and intensely.
From The Mountains of California, by John Muir (New York: The Century, 1898)

Plant of the Month: White Sage

An important part of Indigenous spirituality and identity, the aromatic evergreen shrub is being threatened by poachers and over-commercialization.
Gwich'in warrior and his wife

How Gwich’in Hunters Protect Caribou Herds

An Arctic indigenous community has developed complicated but flexible "rules" for its own hunters to follow. Respect for animals is paramount.
Hare Indian Dog

The Dogs of North America

Dogs were prolific hunters and warm companions for northeastern Native peoples like the Mi'kmaq.
Ayecohtli (pictured left) as the scarlet Runner Bean (Phaseolus coccineus): 1931-33 reproduction of The Badianus Manuscript, 1552; Rare Book Collection, Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University, Washington, DC

Plant of the Month: The Runner Bean

From Aztec medicinal remedies to Darwin’s study of flower pollination, local knowledge about the runner bean reveals the importance of biodiversity.
Hot Shot members from Zuni, NM

How Native Americans Came to Fight Southwestern Fires

The practice began with the 1933 creation of the Civilian Conservation Corps, and, specifically, its Indian Division.

Music, Sport, and Art

Damien Hooper of Australia listens to advice from his corner during the bout with Juan Carlos Carrillo of Colombia in the Boxing Men's Middle 75kg division on day 11 of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympics at the International Convention Centre on August 25, 2010 in Singapore

How Do Indigenous Athletes Fit into the Olympics?

Olympic athletes are divided into teams of nations. To Indigenous competitors, though, that can mean representing oppressive settler-colonial states.
Shelley Morningsong, 2019 Nammy Arits of the Year, with Fabian Fontenelle

The Native American Music Awards

Native American musicians and performers have been honored since 1998 by the Nammys.
1885-86 Cuban Giants

Integrating Baseball, before Jackie Robinson

Black players were banned from Major League Baseball during the Jim Crow era. Other players walked the color line—gently.
Smoke Signals film

What Smoke Signals Means 20 Years Later

This groundbreaking film was the first movie to be written, directed, co-produced, and acted by Native Americans.
Little Big Horn ledger art

The American Counter-Narrative of Ledger Drawings

Plains Indian ledger drawings offer a rich counter-narrative to the often-glamorized, or forgotten, history of the American West.

Colonialisms, Past and Present

Mary R. Hyde, matron, and students at Carlisle Indian Training School

Mothers Against Mothers in the American West

The participation of white mothers in the "bitter robbery" of Indigenous children from their families was a cruel irony in the colonialist programs of the US and Australia.
Activists march for missing and murdered Indigenous women at the Women's March California 2019 on January 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

Colonial Traffic in Native American Women

Slavery in North America was not an institution of singular evil.
Pueblo Indian Eagle Dance, New Mexico

Why White Women Tried to Ban Native American Dances

In the early 1920s, reformers obsessed over the sexual nature of some Pueblo rituals, and attempted to control their performance.
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, 1941

Suppressing Native American Voters

South Dakota has been called "the Mississippi of the North" for its long history of making voting hard for Native Americans.
Lewis & Clark with Sacagawea

How Sacagawea Became More Than A Footnote

A suffragist searching for a heroine found Sacagawea and lifted her out of historical obscurity.
We-Wa

One Barrier to Two-Spirit History: Settler Archives

Historians need to know more about the roles of two-spirit Native Americans, but relying on written records isn't always productive.
A person's palms presented to the camera

The Trouble with “Native DNA”

Genetic testing to determine who is Native American is problematic, argues Native American studies scholar Kim TallBear.
Amphibian attack of spanish-tlaxcallan force

How Aztecs Reacted to Colonial Epidemics

Colonial exploitation made the indigenous Aztec people disproportionately vulnerable to epidemics. Indigenous accounts show their perspective.
Miss Navajo Nation Shaandiin P. Parrish grabs a box filled with food and other supplies to distribute to Navajo families on May 27, 2020 in Counselor on the Navajo Nation Reservation, New Mexico.

How Influenza Devastated the Navajo Community in 1918

Like COVID-19, the 1918 influenza pandemic moved swiftly through the Navajo community, but firsthand accounts of the devastation are rare.
Native Hawaiian schoolchildren around 1900.

How Public Schools “Americanized” Hawai’i

Colonial education administrators recruited teachers from the mainland, but soon realized another strategy was in order.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Bulldozers Versus Biodiversity, Then and Now

Trump's border wall threatens habitats in Arizona's Sonoran Desert. What happened when the area was bulldozed in the 1950s?
Hawaii

The Struggle for Hawaii

Hawaii has been a state for 57 years, but its history goes back much further. 

Language

Woman standing in a dirt road

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Speaker: Linguistic Isolation in the Modern World

Ayapaneco, an endangered Mexican language, sparked linguistic interest when the last two speakers of the language were not speaking to each other
A collection of Native American utensils and weapons

What We Lose When We Lose Indigenous Knowledge

By mistaking a culture's history for fantasy, or by disrespecting the wealth of indigenous knowledge, we're keeping up a Columbian, colonial tradition.

And More

A large group of Native Americans stage a protest over land rights by occupying the Bureau of Indian Affairs building and steps in front, Washington DC, November 6, 1972.

Native Nations and the BIA: It’s Complicated

Historically, relations between Native Americans and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have been contentious. Is that still the case?
Portrait of Demasduit over a map of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia

Who Were the Beothuk, the Lost People of Newfoundland?

The remains of two of the very last of the Beothuk are finally being repatriated to Canada. Why has it taken almost 200 years?
Cahokia mounds

The Mysterious Pre-Columbian Settlement of Cahokia

Cahokia was the largest pre-columbian settlement north of Mexico. It collapsed centuries before Europeans arrived in the region. What happened?

Find more of the stories we’ve published that honor Indigenous people and cultures. Use the links below to send suggestions for story ideas.


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