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OSU Press: Works on Native-Settler Relations Now Available Online
Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Two ground-breaking works on relations between Native Americans and early Pacific Northwest settlers were released online this week by Oregon State University in celebration of the fourth annual International Open Access Week.

The OSU Press and the OSU Center for Digital Scholarship and Services are making available Theodore Stern’s two-volume works, “Chiefs and Chief Traders: Indian Relations at Fort Nez Percés, 1818-1855,” and “Chiefs and Change in the Oregon Country.” First published by OSU Press in the 1990s, the books have been out of print for several years.

The books are free online as high-resolution, searchable PDF files in the press’s collection in the ScholarsArchive@OSU open access repository:

New Book Discusses Cherokee Version of Lacrosse
Friday, July 16th, 2010

This week much of the mainstream and Native media has covered the Iroquois National Lacrosse team’s efforts to travel to England to participate in the Lacrosse World Championships. Ranked fourth in the world, the Haudenosaunee team passed an agonizing week waiting for the United States government to allow them to travel using their Iroquois National Passports, which they have used to travel internationally since 1977 and used as recently as two years ago.

As usual with sports, none of this is just about a game. Sovereignty, spirituality, and sport collide, and the Nationals’ plight underscores the important fact that lacrosse, now played internationally, is Indigenous born. Much of the media coverage this week has touched on the long history and cultural connections the Haudenosaunee people have with the current sport of lacrosse.

Lacrosse has roots in several single- and double-racket ball games played by First Nations and Native American people, including anetso which is played by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. In a new book, author Michael J. Zogry looks at the intertwined nature of game and ritual and offers an important examination of stick ball history and continuity among the Cherokee people. The book Anetso, the Cherokee Ball Game: At the Center of Ceremony and Identity (University of North Carolina Press, 2010) is our most recent First Peoples’ title, and it provides a framework for rethinking the understanding of ritual and performance, as well as their relationship to cultural identity. Look for a guest post from Dr. Zogry in the coming weeks.

For just a glimpse at the recent media coverage on lacrosse, here are links to some of the articles about the Iroquois National Lacrosse team:

Allow Iroquois travel [The Buffalo News]

Bid for Trophy becomes a Test of Iroquois Identity [New York Times]

The Iroquois Lacrosse Team Denied [Native America Calling]

Iroquois National travel window closing [Indian Country Today]

Iroquois Nationals Update: Britain Denies Visas [Lacrosse News]

Native American lacrosse team forfeits first game in England as passport dispute drags on [Buffalo Post Blog]

Pride of a Nation [Sports Illustrated]

Statement from Chief Oren R. Lyons, Honorary Chairman, Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team [NATV]

US Rule Could keep Iroquois From Lacrosse Tourney [Associate Press via CBS News]

Why the tribe who invented lacrosse can’t play it here [The UK Independent]

Guest Blogger: Jeffrey Shepherd on Creating Community History Collaboratively
Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Author Jeffrey P. Shepherd’s new book, We Are An Indian Nation: A History of the Hualapai People (University of Arizona Press, 2010), focuses on the historical construction of the Hualapai Nation in the face of modern American colonialism. Shepherd drew on archival research, interviews, and participant observation to describe how thirteen bands of extended families known as the Pai confronted American colonialism and recast themselves as a modern Indigenous nation. Shepherd could not have constructed this community history without the collaboration of the Hualapai tribe. For this week’s blog, Shepherd describes his process of collaboration and why he believes shifting research methodologies are important:

History and the Hualapai Tribe
By Jeffrey P. Shepherd

Lucille Watahomigie and Jeffrey Shepherd in Peach Springs, Arizona.

When the Hualapai Tribal Council heard the proposal for this project in 1999, they wanted to discuss Hualapai history. They knew their own past, but they wanted to know what I had read in books or learned on the reservation. This past, we all agreed, formed an important story that Natives and non-Natives could learn from. Hualapai struggles for the land were powerful examples of cultural persistence that could motivate other oppressed peoples to fight for justice.

In particular, their legal battle against the Santa Fe Railway (they won a precedent-setting land claims case in the US Supreme Court in 1941) illustrated how a small nation could be victorious against one of the then wealthiest corporations in America. Their history of wage labor, respecting female leaders, and struggling for water rights stood as powerful examples of resilience. After discussing these and other issues for two hours, they supported my proposal to write about their history.


Recommended Reading for the Native American Literature Symposium
Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

The First Peoples publishing initiative is headed to Albuquerque to attend the 2010 Native American Literature Symposium, which will be from March 4-6 at the Isleta Hotel and Casino. The schedule is packed with panels exploring cinema, fiction, poetry, and performance from both theoretical and pedagogical angles. To get ready for this three-day event, we’ve made a recommended reading list of books by panelists, as well as titles that will be the topic of sessions or readings:

Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko, 1992, Penguin Editions
Beyond the Reach of Time and Change by Simon Ortiz, 2005, University of Arizona Press
Blood Run by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, 2007, Salt Publishing
The Last Report on the Miracles from Little No Horse, by Louise Erdrich, 2001, HarperCollins
Reclaiming Diné History: The Legacies of Navajo Chief Manuelito and Juanita by Jennifer Nez Denetdale, 2007, University of Arizona Press
Night Sky, Morning Star by Evelina Zuni Lucero, 2000, University of Arizona Press
A Radiant Curve: Poems and Stories by Luci Tapahonso, 2008, University of Arizona Press
Red on Red: Native American Literary Separatism by Craig S. Womack, University of Minnesota Press
Shell Shaker by LeAnne Howe, 2001, Aunt Lute Books
The Truth about Stories by Thomas King, 2008, University of Minnesota Press

Grab your books and we’ll see you in Albuquerque. We’ll have a table of books from our partner presses, as well as information about our initiative. Please stop by and say hello. To view the complete conference program please click here.

Global Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples in Copenhagen
Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

With the 11-day climate change conference now underway in Copenhagen, Indigenous peoples worldwide are watching, even if they aren’t able to attend. In an opinion piece posted last week, Indian Country Today columnist Valerie Taliman writes that Native people are disproportionately affected by global climate change and yet are underrepresented at the conference.

At the conference, a contingent of Indigenous representatives will get the opportunity to present the Mystic Lake Declaration, which came out of last month’s Native Peoples Native Homelands Climate Change Workshop II: Indigenous Perspectives and Solutions, held in the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Prior Lake, Minnesota.

Also last month, World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick called on world leaders at the Copenhagen Conference to include Indigenous peoples. Perhaps to underscore Zoellick’s point, United Nations University and the Traditional Knowledge Initiative have partnered with groups across the globe to present the Indigenous Voices on Climate Change film festival at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, starting tomorrow and ending on the 13th. Fifteen of the films, which are provided by United Nations University, will be shown. They can be seen via YouTube or below.  Or follow this link to see the short film “Fighting Carbon with Fire in Australia.”


University Presses Working Together
Friday, December 4th, 2009

Our four-press collaboration is just one of many university press projects funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The foundation has funded fourteen collaborative initiatives among thirty scholarly presses since 2008.

“There are so many advantages to university presses pooling our resources within a subject area, such as Indigenous studies,” says Kathryn Conrad, interim director of the University of Arizona Press and the chief investigator on the First Peoples initiative. “Each of the presses involved in this collaborative offers unique expertise within the field. We are all learning from each other and also sharing what we already know.”

If you’ve spent any time on our website, than you probably know that First Peoples is a collaborative between four exceptional presses, University of Arizona Press, University of North Carolina Press, University of Minnesota Press, and Oregon State University Press. At the presses, acquiring editors and marketing staffs are working together to build an initiative that reflects the new directions that scholars are taking with their research in Indigenous studies.

“In these early days of the First Peoples grant, I’ve been excited anew by the energy of promising younger scholars in the field of Indigenous studies,” says Mark Simpson-Vos, acquiring editor at University of North Carolina Press. “As an editor, the initiative has brought me in contact with an even wider range of authors and potential readers, which was one of my primary hopes when we inaugurated the project. The diversity of subjects, disciplinary approaches, and methodologies has been exceptional, and it reinforces what an important moment this is for those who study indigenous people. As our first books are published and received by scholars as well as indigenous communities, I’m looking forward to a further broadening and deepening of the conversation.”

To see a complete list of Mellon funded university press initiatives, visit:

The First Peoples Logo: Synthesis of Meaning and Art
Monday, November 30th, 2009

The First People’s logo was conceived and designed for our initiative by Cal Nez, a Utah-based graphic artist. The process of designing an image that represents many things—indigeneity, scholarship, publishing—is both slow and dynamic, particularly so for our new initiative.

We wanted something that served as a synthesis of both meaning and art. We wanted something that would explain the many collaborations that fall within the umbrella of our work, whether they be among Native and non-Native scholars, among authors and editors, among university presses, among author and reader, or among the many combinations of these important pieces.

Navajo artist Cal Nez provided to us the careful thought and skill we needed to weave together all of these elements visually.  Cal, Tachiinii Clan born for the Taanaszanii Clan, was originally from Tocito New Mexico. Cal was raised by his grandparents, the late Bitonie and Mary B. Nez, from infancy. He only spoke Navajo until he entered the Bureau of Indian Affairs Boarding School in Sanostee, New Mexico. Cal takes pride in being a Navajo person bridging the gap between cultures. Today, Cal lives with is loving wife, Yolanda, in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he operates his design and communications firm, Cal Nez Design.

Here is how Cal Nez explains the First People’s logo:

How did you come to work with the First Peoples publishing initiative?

I got a call from a very kind and focused individual named Natasha Varner. She explained her conceptual approach regarding this project. She shared her reasons why she called upon Cal Nez Design.

What was your process to create the logo for the initiative?

First, I need a client with a defined concept and direction for their project, which First Peoples had when they called me. Secondly, I interpreted the conceptual approach shared with me. I absolutely agreed with the usage of the circle. I then incorporated “Circle of Life, Circle of Knowledge” the concept evolved to the global approach of Native American ideology. We are apart of Mother Earth and it is our approach to share knowledge and wisdom to the written word, both receiving and sharing philosophies.

What kinds of things were you thinking about as you developed this logo?

Mother Earth, the “Circle of Life,” the “Circle of Knowledge,” the dramatic color of the Native American community artistry, and the Four Sacred directions.

What inspired you in your color choices?

The color of nature. The sunrise and sunset, beginning and conclusion of the day.

On you website, you say that “solving cross-cultural communication through design.” What advice do you have for upcoming students who want to do the same thing?

Keep striving.

To learn more about Cal Nez Design, visit his website