Native Nations & Indigenous Histories Recommendations

This Land Podcast by Rebecca Nagle and McGirt v. Oklahoma

When Rebecca Nagle’s This Land podcast dropped last summer (June 2019), I recommended it to colleagues, friends, and family like it was my job. I did so because I was impressed by Nagle’s work and excited that a mainstream media outlet was carrying a podcast on Native American history and contemporary politics. (Shoutout to Crooked Media.) Yet such recommends do feel like part of my job as a non-Native person who teaches and writes about Native American history.

Indian Country doesn’t especially need my intervention in its myriad histories—tribal historians, Indigenous academics, and citizens of Native nations generally have that covered. But other non-Native people just might. Some of the work I can do as a person invested in tribal sovereignty and Native American self-determination is to introduce other non-Native folks or settlers (a term to describe anyone whose ancestors are not indigenous to the land that became the United States) to histories and contemporary realities that are likely unfamiliar to them.

Talking about “the work I do” or “educating others” is uncomfortable sometimes; it feels a little self-important. A little superior. But I remain convinced that such efforts are imperative. As a white person educated in the United States, I can say the following with certainty: the educations most receive don’t adequately cover Native American history. The dominant culture all too often relies on stereotypes and appropriations of indigeneity. The nation’s political institutions frequently erase and ignore the sovereignty and land rights of Native American nations.

Collectively, this permits non-Native people to remain conveniently unfamiliar with Native American history, politics, and people. It exempts settlers from really wrestling with our own nation’s history; a country that founded itself upon the land of hundreds and hundreds of sovereign Indigenous governments and continues this model through the present moment.

Give the This Land podcast a listen. Nagle does a better job explaining a piece of this history in eight episodes than I will trying to summarize it. Two follow-up segments from July 2020 update listeners on the recent and historic Supreme Court decision McGirt v Oklahoma which the entire podcast historicizes and explains.