Gathering Around a New Fire: The Bemo Family, Interracial Marriage, Race, and Power in the Mvskoke Nation, 1870-1897

Dr. Michelle M. Martin is a Michigander by birth and a Kansan and Okie by choice. Martin is a historian who earned her doctorate at the University of New Mexico in May 2022. Her research probes interracial marriage, gender, race, and power in the Mvskoke Nation in the Indian Territory from 1870-1897. She earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees in history at Western Michigan University. After graduating from Western Michigan University Martin embarked on a nearly twenty-year career in academic and public history. For nine years she taught full and part time at the two and four year college level in Kansas and Oklahoma. She also worked in the television and film industry for nearly ten years as a researcher, script writer, and field producer. Projects she has contributed to have aired on PBS, A&E, History Channel, Investigation Discovery, and at National Park Service units in Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas. For several years Martin worked as a museum director and has served on numerous museum boards and has provided consulting services for small museums in Kansas and Oklahoma. Martin has also lectured on various historical topics across the country for museums, state and national historic sites, and educational institutions. Her research interests include the intersections of gender, race, and ethnicity in the U.S. West from 1800-1900, the history of Indigenous- Euro American relations in the Indian Territory (in the Mvskoke and Semnvole Nations specifically) from 1840-1925, interracial marriage and families in the United States during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and gender and race based violence in the West. She is currently teaching at Mesa Community College as an adjunct faculty while she conducts additional research to transfer her dissertation into a scholarly book. She also is a weekly contributor to the digital program Around Kansas that explores Kansas history, culture, and events. She also serves as the recorder for the Coalition for Western Women’s History.

Martin lives in Mesa, Arizona with her husband, who is also a historian, and is a proud cat mamma to Josie. When not working Michelle enjoys hiking, travel, photography, watching college and professional football, and volunteering as a living history interpreter at various state and national historic sites.