Indian Cities: Histories of Indigenous Urbanism

A Joint Symposium in 2018-19 Sponsored by New York University and the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University, and convened by Kent Blansett (University of Nebraska-Omaha), Cathleen Cahill (Pennsylvania State University), and Andrew Needham (New York University).

Urban history has been, to borrow Philip Deloria’s term, an “unexpected place” to find Indians.   Despite some notable case studies, Native people have been largely excluded from stories of the development and social experience of urban North America.  And yet, Native and First Nations communities have been vital to the making of America’s cities. At the same time, urban spaces have been central to key narratives of American Indian history. Urban life gave rise to new Intertribal Indian identities. It also encouraged Native people,to participate in and transform various cultural forms, from radio broadcasting and film-making to the writing of novels and operas.

"Indian Cities” will explore what it means to consider American Indians as agents of urban history.  Participants include: 

Maurice Crandall (Dartmouth College), Jennifer Denetdale (University of New Mexico), C. Joseph Genetin-Pilawa (George Mason University), Mishuana R. Goeman (UCLA), Nathaniel Holly (William & Mary), David Hugill (Carleton University), Ari Kelman (UC-Davis), Douglas Miller (Oklahoma State University), Elaine Nelson (University of Nebraska-Omaha), Dana E. Powell (Appalachian State University), Sasha Suarez (University of Minnesota), and Daniel Usner (Vanderbilt University) along with co-conveners Kent Blansett (University of Nebraska-Omaha), Cathleen Cahill (Pennsylvania State University) and Andrew Needham (New York University)..

The symposium will occur in two stages and in two places. The first meeting was in September 2018 at SMU’s campus in Taos, NM, where there was a private workshop for participants. The scholars then gathered to workshop again and held a public symposium at New York University in the spring of 2019. Each Clements Center symposium follows a similar model and each has resulted in a book published by a prominent academic press. 

Mural by Gregg Deal and Votan Henriquez , Hotel Figueroa, Los Angeles CA