— M.A., University of Texas - Austin
- E-mail: email@example.com
I study 19th and 20th-century U.S. history with a focus on Native American history. My dissertation "Place, Politics and Property: Negotiating Allotment and Citizenship for the Citizen Potawatomi, 1861-1891" examines the influence of allotment and United States citizenship on the social, political, and cultural evolution of the Citizen Potawatomi.
Dr. Erika Bsumek is my advisor and Drs. James Sidbury, John Mckiernan-Gonzalez, Martha Menchaca, and James Cox make up my dissertation committee.
I am originally from Oklahoma, where my family has lived since it was Indian Territory. I am a proud member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and I am honored to work on the history of this fascinating and dyanmic Native community.
Place, Politics, and Property:
Negotiating Allotment and Citizenship for the Citizen Potawatomi, 1861-1891
The historiography of U.S./Native American relations regularly categorizes the policy of allotting private parcels of land to Native Americans as a failure and detrimental because it often damaged Native Americans’ capacity for self-sufficiency and generally failed to achieve its end-goal of assimilating Native Americans into a Euro-American farming culture. This conclusion, however, does not consider the complexity of Native American reactions to allotment efforts or the significant ways that land ownership and United States citizenship (re)shaped intra-tribal power dynamics as well as the relationships between Native Americans and the federal government.
My dissertation project examines the influences of allotment and United States citizenship on the social, political, and cultural evolution of the Citizen Potawatomi from the signing of the treaty that made them land owning citizens in 1861 through the final land agreements with the Jerome Commission and the opening of Potawatomi acreage to settlement with a land run in 1891. To uncover the nuances of the Citizen Potawatomi’s complex evolution I will specifically analyze the impact of removal, allotment, dispossession, and U.S. citizenship on the lives of the Citizen Potawatomi as individuals and as a group.
The Citizen Potawatomi did not resist allotment as did many other indigenous communities, including many of their kinsmen. In fact, a number of them actually sought out the right to have titles to specific lands because they wanted the social status, economic advantages, political agency, and assurance of protection from further encroachment by Euro-American settlers that they believed private land ownership would entail.
Through consistent efforts on the part of individuals and the collective efforts of tribal entities, the Citizen Potawatomi were at times able to successfully demand their rights as citizens of both the United States and a federally recognized Native American tribe. This project will show that while allotment and citizenship did not always result in positive changes or improved life-styles for the Citizen Potawatomi, through resistance and compromise they were able to forge an identity and existence that made the most of a terrible situation.