Modern Indian Identity

Event Date: Apr 16, 2007
Event Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Eaton Humanities, Room 250

University of Michigan Professor Phil Deloria will lecture at the University of Colorado at Boulder April 16 as part of a Center of the American West series aimed at improving understanding between Indians and non-Indians.

The talk, “Crossing the (Indian) Color Line: A Family Memoir,” is part of the Modern Indian Identity lecture series and is free and open to the public. The event will begin at 7:00 p.m. in Eaton Humanities Building room 250 on the Boulder campus.

Deloria taught at CU-Boulder for more than six years before joining the history faculty at the University of Michigan in 2001, and also earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from CU-Boulder. He is a Professor and Director of the Program in American Culture on the Michigan campus and has been instrumental in building a Native American Studies program. His 1998 book, Playing Indian, was the winner of an outstanding book award from the Gustavus Myers Program for the study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America. In that book, he traced “Indian play” from the Boston Tea Party to Boy Scouts and Campfire Girls to the New Age movement, arguing that white Americans have consistently acted out “Indianness” in order to imagine and proclaim national and modern identities.

Deloria is also president-elect of the American Studies Association and received the 2006 John C. Ewers Award from the Western History Association for his latest work, Indians in Unexpected Places, which examines the ideologies surrounding Indian people at the turn of the twentieth century.

“Phil Deloria is a lively and engaging public speaker with an original mind, a gift for storytelling, and a robust sense of humor,” said Professor Patty Limerick, a noted historian and Board Chair of the Center of the American West.

The Modern Indian Identity series aims to dispel the perception among many non-Indians that the only “real Indians” are nineteenth-century Plains horsemen riding after bison and disappearing from history after the arrival of white Americans, Limerick said. “Contrary to stereotypes of a people lost in the past, Indian people in the twenty-first century both carry on long-lasting traditions and play central and consequential roles in American life,” she said.

The lecture series features talks by contemporary Indian people telling their stories in ways that confirm the compatibility of tradition with innovation. The series was made possible by a donation from Nancy and Gary Carlston of Boulder.