About the talk:
During the Civil War, the Union Army forced the removal and four-year incarceration of the Navajo, resulting in the death of half their population. During the same time the Dakota Nation was forced by the Union Army out of their homeland in Minnesota, while unarmed Northern Cheyenne were massacred in their reservation at Sand Creek in Colorado. After the Civil War, six of the seven divisions of the US Army were stationed west of the Mississippi, where they carried out genocidal wars against the Plains and southwestern Indigenous nations, including the intentional extermination of tens of millions of bison. These troops were pulled out of the South, where they were supposed to be occupying the defeated former Confederate states to allow for land distribution to former slaves and for their political participation in democratic elections. Without sufficient US Army troops to stop them, the Ku Klux Klan made Reconstruction impossible, imposed a reign of terror, and restored the ex-Confederate elite.

About the speakers:
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz grew up in rural central Oklahoma, the child of a tenant farming family. She received her bachelor's in history at San Francisco State College, and master’s and Ph.D. in history at UCLA, as well as her MFA in creative writing at Mills College, and diploma in the international and comparative law of human rights in Strasbourg, France. She is professor emeritus at California State University East Bay. As a veteran of the Sixties revolution, she organized against the US war in Vietnam, US imperialism, racism, South African Apartheid, workers’ rights, women’s liberation, and restoration of Native American nations’ lands and sovereignty helping build Indigenous Peoples’ participation in United Nations fora. She received the 2015 American Book Award and the 2017 Lannan Cultural Freedom Prize. A historian, writer, and professor emeritus at California State University, she is author or editor of fifteen books, including: Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New MexicoLoaded: A Disarming History of the Second AmendmentAn Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States; and Not “A Nation of Immigrants” Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion. She is at work on a book of essays on Christian Nationalism in the US to be published in 2024.

Fantasia Painter is an enrolled member and citizen of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. She is currently an assistant professor in global and international studies at UC Irvine. Broadly, her research, most recently published in the American Indian Culture and Research Journal, aims to rethink global borders, boundaries, and migrations from Indigenous worlds. Her current book project Bordering the Nation reveals how the border politics in Southern Arizona are unfolding on O’odham (Indigenous) lands, and argues that the US-Mexico border, like all global borders and boundaries, relies on Indigenous land. She recently received the UC-HSI Humanities Initiative grant for the 2022-23 academic year from the Mellon Foundation and the UC President's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for her contribution toward advancing and strengthening scholarship in the humanities and the humanities-inflected social sciences.

About the series:
"Black Reconstruction as a Portal" is a year-long Sawyer Seminar at the University of California, Irvine that explores the global salience of visions for Black Reconstruction as a portal between the crisis that marks our current predicament and the freedom dreams of those who have taken to the streets insisting that another world is still possible. For more information, go to: or follow us on Twitter @ReadingDubois.

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