2024-25: Rethinking the 'Indian Wars'

Co-sponsored by Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University and the Arizona Historical Society co-organized by Catharine R. Franklin (Texas Tech University), Maurice Crandall (Arizona State University), and Lance R. Blyth (United States Air Force Academy)

Indian Wars group black and white photoThe so-called “Indian Wars,” once the subject of great interest by scholars, have become practically the exclusive domain of popular historians. If, as recent work suggests, we cannot understand U.S. history without understanding American Indian history then it follows that we cannot understand Native history without understanding the conflicts between Indigenous groups and the United States. We believe that it is time to “rethink” the Indian Wars—the series of armed clashes in which Native peoples sought to defend their land (at times with the aid of Indigenous allies) from Euroamerican encroachment. By emphasizing Indigenous agency and acknowledging the limitations of an approach that stresses only the power of the U.S. federal government, we seek to complicate this story.

Participants include:

Ryan Booth, Washington State, "Reassessing US Army Burial Practices during the 'Indian Wars'"
Nathan Braccio, Lesley University, "Alternative Forms of Conquest and Violence in 17th-Century Northeast Algonquian Cultures"
Bonnie Cherry, Berkeley School of Law, "Alternative Forms of Conquest and Violence in 17th-Century Northeast Algonquian War"
Gregory Downs, UC Davis, "Conquest, Peopling, and Labor Systems of the Ohio Valley"
Luis Alberto Garcia, Universidad de Monterrey, "Native Americans and Armed Organization in the Northeastern Mexico Borderlands, 1830-1867"
Ari Kelman, UC Davis, "Volume Introduction"
Stuart Marshall, Sewanee, "An Indian War in the Smoky Mountains, 1862-1865"
Nicholas Myers, National Park Service, "History of Anglo-Apache Commercial Relations"
Darren Parry, Utah, "The Shoshone Nations Journey to Restore the Land, Language and Sovereignty"
Sherry L. Smith, SMU, "Volume Epilogue"
Lindsay Stallones Marshall, Illinois State, "The Memory War for the 'Indian Wars'"
Cecily Zander, Texas Women's, "The Second Seminole and the Birth of Total War in the American Army"

The symposium will meet at SMU’s satellite campus in Taos, NM in October 2024, and then again at a second meeting and public presentation in Tempe, AZ in April 2025.

Image: "Apache scouts drilling with rifles, Fort Wingate, New Mexico" NAID: 530918.