Author and historian Frederick E. Hoxie, of Evanston, Illinois, will spotlight influential Native American activists and their political and legal achievements at a book seminar from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 11, at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Evanston.
Hoxie, whose latest book is This Indian Country: American Indian Political Activists and the Place They Made, is the Swanlund Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is also affiliated with the College of Law and the American Indian studies program. He is a founding trustee of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.
In the book, which he will sign at the event, Hoxie sets out to demonstrate that American Indians' battles for legal rights, self-governance, and cultural preservation didn't end with the military defeats and treaties of the 19th century, although that’s still a common perception among many non-Native people.
According to the Penguin Press website, Hoxie has for years asked undergraduate students at the start of the semester to name three American Indians. Almost without exception, year after year, the names are Geronimo, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. The general conclusion is inescapable: Most Americans instinctively view Indians as people of the past who occupy a position outside the central narrative of American history.
Hoxie’s This Indian Country profiles Native lawyers, lobbyists, writers, and politicians, including among others, James McDonald, Choctaw, Sarah Winnemucca, Paiute, and D'Arcy McNickle, Salish.
“These are courageous people, they’re persistent people,” Hoxie told an interviewer for a New York public radio station. “Their goal was the autonomy of their communities.”
Hoxie said, "What people know about American Indians is often very much shaped by stereotypes in our public media and simplistic stories. There's really a much deeper and more interesting and really much more American story behind all of that.”
Hoxie, who holds a doctorate from Brandeis University, is on the roster of the Organization of American Historians' Distinguished Lectureship Program.
Kirkus Reviews called Hoxie’s book “a capable, engaging work of history, important for students of official relations between the U.S. government and the Native peoples under its rule.”
Cost for attending the Mitchell Museum’s book seminar is $5 per person. Those wishing to visit the museum’s exhibit galleries before or after the seminar can do so for the regular museum admission fee of $5 for adults and $3 for seniors, children, students, and teachers (with valid school ID). Museum admission is free for Mitchell members and tribal members.
The independent, nonprofit Mitchell Museum of the American Indian is at 3001 Central St., Evanston. For information, phone 847-475-1030; email email@example.com. Online: Mitchellmuseum.org.