Indigenous DC

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216 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781647123208 ()

ISBN: 9781647123222

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April 2023
Sales Rights: World


Table of Contents

Indigenous DC
Native Peoples and the Nation's Capital
Elizabeth Rule

The first and fullest account of the suppressed history and continuing presence of Native Americans in Washington, DC

Washington, DC, is Indian land, but Indigenous peoples are often left out of the national narrative of the United States and erased in the capital city. To redress this myth of invisibility, Indigenous DC shines a light upon the oft-overlooked contributions of tribal leaders and politicians, artists and activists to the rich history of the District of Columbia, and their imprint—at times memorialized in physical representations, and at other times living on only through oral history—upon this place.

Inspired by author Elizabeth Rule's award-winning public history mobile app and decolonial mapping project Guide to Indigenous DC, this book brings together the original inhabitants who call the District their traditional territory, the diverse Indigenous diaspora who has made community here, and the land itself in a narrative arc that makes clear that all land is Native land. The acknowledgment that DC is an Indigenous space inserts the Indigenous perspective into the national narrative and opens the door for future possibilities of Indigenous empowerment and sovereignty.

This important book is a valuable and informational resource on both Washington, DC, regional history and Native American history.

Elizabeth Rule is assistant professor of critical race, gender, and culture studies at American University. She is the creator of the Guide to Indigenous Lands Project, which includes the Guide to Indigenous DC, a mobile application and digital map of Indigenous sites of importance in the nation's capital. She is a Chickasaw scholar-activist based in Washington, DC.

"Sitting at the intersection of indigenous studies, Critical Geography, and digital humanities, Dr. Rule has written a well-researched and transdisciplinary book, demonstrating how Indigenous peoples have a past, presence, and future in the nation's capital. Indigenous DC will no doubt be the blueprint for future scholars of urban indigenous studies."—Kyle T. Mays, (Black/Saginaw Chippewa), associate professor, Departments of African American Studies, American Indian Studies, and History, University of California, Los Angeles

"A stunning reorientation of Washington, DC as a fundamentally urban Indigenous space. Impressive—drawing on the history of tribes across the country and the traditional Native nations who still call this region their homeland, Rule illuminates the expansive networks of Native activism, art, and transcontinental delegation that spans centuries."—Holly Miowak Guise, assistant professor of history, The University of New Mexico

"Indigenous DC invites readers not only to learn about, but also to engage actively with, the US capital as an Indigenous space. Elizabeth Rule has produced an illuminating and accessible work that uncovers stories long in need of telling."—Daniel M. Cobb, professor of American Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"Indigenous DC activates land acknowledgment in its most authentic sense, connecting awareness across deep Nacotchtank ancestral times to contemporary presences. With careful research and accessible interpretation, Elizabeth Rule brilliantly guides us through a Native world persisting alongside daily passages in the nation's capital. Her work restores the memory of those nearly erased from their Potomac homelands, honors those tribal delegates who journeyed here to defend their people, and uplifts the ongoing communities who keep up the struggles for sovereignty."—Gabrielle Tayac, PhD (Piscataway), associate professor of public history,, George Mason University

Table of Contents
List of Figures
Introduction: Washington DC is Indian Land
Chapter 1: Tribal Delegates in DC
Chapter 2: First Peoples in Monuments, Museums, and Military Service
Chapter 3: The Tradition of Indigenous Activism and Political Action
Chapter 4: Native Arts and Artists in the Nation's Capital
Conclusion: The Capital of Indian Country