Mikaela M. Adams
Race, Resources, and Tribal Citizenship in the Native South
Oxford University Press 2016
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in LawNew Books in Native American StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network April 3, 2018 Stephen Hausmann
“Native American” is unique among American racial categories in defining not just social status or historical lineage, but also an individual’s relationship to state and federal governments. In Who Belongs?: Race, Resources, and Tribal Citizenship in the Native South (Oxford University Press, 2016), Mikaela M. Adams, an assistant professor of history at the University of Mississippi, tracks the histories of six Indian societies in the American South from the seventeenth to the twenty first centuries. In doing so, she argues that the question of belonging was often difficult to answer, particularly in a region where whites insisted on dividing the individuals along a strict, binary, color line. In Who Belongs?, Pamunkey, Catawba, Choctaw, Cherokee, Seminole, and Miccosukee communities all grapple with the fundamental question of tribal membership. After colonization and conquest, the answer to the question posed by Adams could have critical and concrete consequences. Often, whether someone belonged to a given tribe determined fundamental questions of identity, financial restitution, and land ownership. Who Belongs? is a critical retelling of the Native south which emphasizes the fungible nature of group identity and the adaptations Native communities made to survive within a settler colonial system of state power.
Stephen Hausmann is a doctoral candidate at Temple University and Visiting Instructor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently writing his dissertation, a history of race and the environment in the Black Hills and surrounding northern plains region of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.