The sometimes decades-long campaigns to erect monuments attest to the commodification of memory, as Indian ways of memory making tied to place and shared storytelling gave way to static objects produced in market economies whose meaning frequently faded over time. Absent the regular recitation of history embedded in oral cultures that fueled history tied to […]

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From Enemies to Allies

The late 1980s and early 1990s was a time of intense conflict between Ojibwe (Chippewa) Indians and white sportfishers over Native treaty rights in the forested northern third of Wisconsin. For months, the normal peace and quiet of this ceded area outside of the state‚Äôs six Ojibwe reservations was shattered by whites chanting racist taunts […]

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Let’s Play Lewis and Clark!

Nothing better illustrates the problems endemic to this kind of approach to history as re-creation, or recreation, than the current passion for Civil War reenactments. The real war was certainly about slavery, race, and fear. But Civil War reenactors convert this into a story about heritage, courage, and valor. With its intense focus on the […]

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