University of Connecticut

Events Calendar

Africana/Indigeneity: A Public Discussion

Thursday, April 11, 2019
4:00pm – 5:30pm

Storrs Campus
Class of 1947 Room

In Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto, widely considered a foundational text of the Indigenous Sovereignty Movement, Vine Deloria, Jr. devoted an entire chapter, as well as several asides, to consideration of “The Red and the Black” or of how to understand the distinct and related circumstances of Indigenous peoples and descendants of enslaved African people in the United States. He argued against both collapsing understandings of distinct historical situations into a singular analysis and treating them as incomparable. At the same time, he stated unequivocally that Indigenous activists, among whom he clearly counted himself, were most sympathetic to Black power movements rather than those that sought civic inclusion. This was because the former used the language of peoplehood, nationalism, and self-determination and urged “peoples to find their homeland and to channel their psychic energies through their land into social and economic reality.” Processes for doing so, he contended, might have been accelerated and strengthened had Black U.S.-Americans been placed on reservations where they would have interacted directly with a federal government that would have had to recognize their status at the Constitutional level and their own elected leaders. This public discussion seeks to build on and update Deloria’s earlier insights. We will do so by considering questions including the almost complete absence of indigenous Africans in increasingly global Indigenous thought and politics; how it is that people, especially New World Black people, become indigenous to territories outside of the African continent and the potential liberatory effect of such an understanding for Afro-political life; how mental health and well-being for members of the Africana diaspora, as a third space between indigeneity and displacement, requires not only psychological interventions but also political change; and what an American hemispheric approach to settler colonial studies can reveal about what is due by way of freedom of movement and educational opportunity to the “undocumented” Indigenous.


Prof. Jane Gordon (

Political Science (primary), UConn Master Calendar

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