These papers are all Indigenous history, not just “history of Indigenous individuals/people.” They reevaluate sources or entire historical methodologies from Indigenous points of view: North American, Central American, Near Eastern.

 

What’s the difference between “histories of Indigenous peoples”…and Indigenous history? Come to this panel and find out! These papers seize control of the Indigenous past—North American, Central American, Near Eastern—by reevaluating not just history but historical method itself.

Moderated by Elle Ransom. Elle holds a B.A. and M.S. in anthropology. Her research focuses on Native North American history, demography, structural violence, resistance, and accommodation and explores how the toxic cocktail of colonialism, including the indigenous slave trade, instigated warfare, territorial displacement, resource deprivation, and introduced infectious disease, working in tandem to create an unhealthy world for Native American populations in the years following contact. She currently works in the medical field.

Countering Cultural Erasure Through Community History: The Case of the Baharna, by Ali Al-Jamri

The proposed paper discusses the erasure of Baharna history and the digital community efforts in response to it. It will provide an overview of the Baharna, their history, and how local historians and community enthusiasts are working to combat erasure.

The Baharna are the indigenous Arabs of the Bahrain islands and surrounding Arabian coastline. They are ‘settled Arabs’ whose ties to the land stretch back centuries, who in the modern era were subjected to serfdom and dispossession. This historic disruption coincided with British colonialism and is still felt powerfully today. The Baharna’s history is subjected to erasure; young Baharna are switching away from their parents’ dialects.

In response, members of the Baharna community are organising digitally. This paper will be instructive of efforts to democratise and decolonise history and presents the Baharna community's activities as a case study.

Ali Al-Jamri is a writer, poet and member of the Baharna community. He holds an MA in Near & Middle Eastern Studies (School of Oriental and African Studies) and his dissertation was on the modernisation of the Bahraini state. He has campaigned to decolonise university education, written on local Bahrani history and worked on cultural preservation. His principle interest is in making history and education accessible to marginalised people.

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Rupture and Resilience: The Muckleshoot People, by Wayne Buchanan

The now Muckleshoot Indian Tribe of Washington State has experienced a ruptured event of unrivaled proportions since the arrival of the first settlers in the territory.  Pre-Colonization of Washington Territory, the Tribe relied on kinship wealth, potlatches, traditional knowledge, and salmon for their subsistence.  Each of these elements were the foundation of the political governing system.  The arrival of settlers ruptured this system by disavowing prominent headmen within the Tribe; declaring open season to any Indian or Indian sympathizer; committing massacres on women, young, and elderly; and limited Tribal sovereignty through reservations.  Additional elements rupturing the daily function of Muckleshoot include the Fish Wars, a further attempt to limit the Tribes self-determination.  Each of these actions have drastically changed the way the Tribe functions today.

Today, the Tribal community continues to experience the ramifications of this colonial rupture. Though the Tribe is strong, they continue to face further attacks to limit Tribal sovereignty.  To protect this sovereignty, we must recognize that the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe has been here since time immemorial.  This paper seeks to explore how the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe has persevered this catastrophe and continues to strengthen themselves, and empower all of Indian country.

Wayne Buchanan was born and raised in Washington State in Auburn, Washington, where he is a registered member of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe.  He holds an Associate of Arts from Centralia College and a Bachelor of Arts from Evergreen State College, where he majored in Native studies.  He is a Cultural Researcher at the Muckleshoot Culture Division, where he is also a current puller within the Muckleshoot Canoe family.  He is a Masters Indigenous Games athlete, as well as a Wellness Warrior for the National Aboriginal Diabetes Association.

Inherent Sovereignty: Disruptions to Indigenous Nationhood, by Kyle Pittman

Indigenous communities of the Americas have experienced constant and dynamic changes since the arrival of Europeans, an event that ruptured longstanding institutions and societal norms. Prior to colonization, the Native Nations of North America operated with many of the same characteristics of functioning civilizations that we can identify today: we maintained formal ties between polities; we exercised territorial control over geographic regions; and we developed our own systems of government to meet the needs of our peoples. Each of these activities is an expression of sovereignty, a necessary indicator of self- Determination.

Colonization, however, drastically changed the political landscape in which we could express said sovereignty. Today our communities continue to experience the ramifications of this historical uproar. Though many Native Nations have survived to our current day, we are constantly beset with challenges to the inherent sovereignty we have maintained over the centuries. To preserve and expand this sovereignty, we must first recognize that Native Nations have possessed this quality before settlers arrived to the Americas. This paper seeks to explore the ways in which Native Nations have historically expressed our sovereignty and to articulate the basis for our continued expression of sovereignty today.

Kyle Pittman is a Nez Perce and Yakama descendant who was raised on the Puyallup Reservation in Tacoma, Washington. He is currently a graduate student at George Mason University studying Digital Public Humanities and is a moderator of the largest online public history forum known as AskHistorians. Kyle’s academic areas of interest include Native American & Indigenous studies, American Indian histories, federal Indian law & policy in the United States, and Indigenous research methodologies.

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Remembering Malinche: The Evolving Role of Language in the Events and Memory of the Early Spanish Conquest, by Miguel Rivas Fernandez

The early conquest of the Americas represents a massive change in world history, uniting two worlds previously separated. The role of language is central to understanding these events, and understanding how language has been used to record them is essential to comprehend the modern portrayals of the conquest. This paper looks at the role of language in the events themselves as well as in the historical record by focusing on the role of Doña Marina (La Malinche), who was the interpreter to conquistador Hernán Cortés, as well as the conversation between Cortés and Aztec ruler Moctezuma and the accounts of the events by both Spaniards and Native Americans.

Using contemporary sources, accounts written in subsequent decades, as well as modern interpretations of the events, the paper will explore the key role that language played in the conquest, as well as how the use of language has changed the way we remember the events in historical memory, particularly the homogenization of Natives, the apparent surrender of Moctezuma, and the evolution in the image of Doña Marina from mother of mestizos to most despised woman in Mexican history.

Miguel Rivas Fernández  is a third-year History and French student at Manhattanville college, originally from the Dominican Republic. He has twice received the Excellence in History award, as well as participated in the Manhattanville Virtual Undergraduate Research Fair. His interests include US History, focusing primarily on the Gilded Age, Progressive Era, and New Deal/Truman Era, as well as modern World History, with the current paper focusing on early Latin America. Future research interests include the Truman Presidency, Gilded Age politics, the Arab Diaspora in Latin America, and US-Latin America foreign relations. 

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