Returning What was Stolen

On September 24, 2017, I returned to the Ute Nation money I had inherited derived from the sale of a homestead on the Utes’ homeland in the Yampa Valley of Colorado immediately after the Utes had been expelled. How did I trace my inheritance to the Utes’ loss of land? Why did I frame the […]

Theft of Indigenous Peoples’ Land

In a recent article I wrote about ancestors who, in different states and at different times, acquired land very cheaply from the state rather than from a specific person, and my realization that they had profited directly from the U.S. government’s theft of Indigenous peoples’ land. On two occasions in the last month, I have been asked how […]

Critical Family History Book Review: Women of the Dawn

In April, 2016, I had an opportunity to visit Indian Island in the Penobscot River of Maine, and to meet some members of the Penobscot Nation. In that context, I learned about the wonderful book Women of the Dawn in which anthropologist Bunny McBride narrates the lives of four Wabanaki women of different generations. The term Wabanaki, […]

Free Land Curriculum Guide

“How do we talk about white people’s genocide of Native Americans? How has it shaped the world in which we live? For those of us who are not Native, what is our relationship to the land we live on and to the Native American community?” (Ariel Luckey, Free Land Curriculum Guide, 2010, p. vii) Several […]

Researching Cherokee Ancestry

“I’m part Cherokee.” I have heard people say this all my life, and I used to say it myself until a DNA test showed otherwise. The question of who is part Cherokee (or another tribe) comes up publicly at times, such as when Elizabeth Warren recently claimed Cherokee ancestry. The question also surfaces for many […]

Wars, Indigenous Peoples, and Bounty Land Warrants

Today being Indigenous People’s Day (known to many as Columbus Day), it is fitting to look critically at one of the historic processes in U.S. history that served to transfer Indigenous people’s land to whites. Bounty land warrants constituted a form of “thanks” for service in military campaigns that extended white control over North America. […]

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