Ph.D. Cornell University, 2004
M.A. Boston College, 1998
B.A. Goddard College, 1993
Academic and Research Interests
As a writer, literary scholar and historian, I work at the crossroads of early American literature & history, geography and Indigenous studies. In my writing and my teaching, I like to ask questions about how we see the spaces known as “New England” and “America” when we turn the prism of our perception to divergent angles. Indigenous methodologies, including a focus on language, place, and community engagement, are crucial to my research, as is deep archival investigation. My first book, The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast, focused on the recovery of Native writing and geographies, including the network of Indigenous writers which emerged in the northeast in the wake of English and French colonization. My next book, Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War, reframes the historical landscape of “the first Indian War,” more widely known as King Philip’s War (1675-8). Having become increasingly drawn to the Digital Humanities, I have had the privilege of working with an extraordinary team of Amherst College students and scholars to create an interactive website, “Our Beloved Kin: A Digital Awikhigan,” which features maps that decolonize the space of the colonial northeast, rare seventeenth century documents, and digital storytelling designed to open paths of inquiry.
I have been fortunate to participate in an extensive regional and global network of writers, scholars, and communities. While completing my undergraduate degree, I worked on aboriginal rights and land preservation cases in our tribal office at the Abenaki Nation of Missisquoi. As an emerging writer, I was mentored through Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. After focusing on comparative American literatures and Native American Studies as a graduate student at Boston College and Cornell University, I joined the faculty at Harvard University, teaching a wide range of courses in Native American literature, transnational American history and literature, and Oral Traditions. During that time, I was deeply honored to be elected to the inaugural Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association and to participate in “a paradigm shift” within literary studies. I was part of the collaborative group that published Reasoning Together: The Native Critics Collective, and contributed the widely circulated “Afterword: At the Gathering Place,” to the provocative, collectively authored American Indian Literary Nationalism. Building bridges among scholarly disciplines, I have published essays in Northeastern Naturalist, American Literary History, PMLA, Studies in American Indian Literatures and the International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies. I currently serve on the Editorial Boards of Studies in American Indian Literatures and Ethnohistory, and am a series editor for Native Americans of the Northeast, published by the University of Massachusetts Press. I continue to be active in community-based projects and networks, especially through the non-profit organization, Gedakina, which offers programs focused on cultural revitalization, youth and women’s empowerment, and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in Native communities across New England.
I came to Amherst in 2012 from Harvard University, where I was the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities, in part because of the close, collaborative interactions between students, staff and faculty at Amherst. For me, learning from students and colleagues and being intellectually challenged in the classroom is a highlight of teaching in a liberal arts environment. I offer a wide range of courses in Native American & Indigenous studies, early American literature, contemporary literature, and comparative American Studies, which foster discussion of the intersectionality of race, gender, sexuality and nationhood. I strive to bring participatory thinking and deliberation, which I wrote about in The Common Pot, to class discussions and student-driven projects. I am also fortunate to be able to teach from within the Younghee Kim-Wait/Pablo Eisenberg Native American Literature Collection, housed in the Frost Library Archives and Special Collections, and to work with a phenomenal, ever-expanding network of librarians, academics and tribal scholars on the Digital Atlas of Native American Intellectual Traditions. My classes often feature an interactive curriculum, where we host speakers in the classroom, attend performances, readings, and public talks, and get out on the land. In collaboration with campus partners and the Five College Native American and Indigenous Studies Program, I strive to bring creative writers, scholars, and leaders from the region and beyond to our campus and to the Kwinitekw (Connecticut River) Valley, which has always been a crossroads of exchange.
Awards and Honors
Whiting Foundation Public Engagement Fellowship, 2016-17
Native American and Indigenous Studies Association Prize: Most Thought Provoking Article, 2013, for “The Constitution of the White Earth Nation: A New Innovation in a Longstanding Indigenous Literary Tradition,” Studies in American Indian Literatures 23:4
Libra Professorship, University of Maine at Farmington, Spring 2012
New England Consortium Regional Fellowship, 2011
Media Ecology Association's Dorothy Lee Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Culture: The Common Pot, 2011
Native American and Indigenous Studies Association Prize: Reasoning Together. Voted one of the ten Most Influential Books in Native American and Indigenous Studies of the First Decade of the Twenty-First Century, 2011
Roslyn Abramson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Harvard University, 2008
Ford Foundation Post-Doctoral Diversity Fellowship, 2007-2008
Native Americans at Harvard College “Role Model of the Year” Award, 2004
Guilford Dissertation Prize for Highest Excellence in English Prose, Cornell University, 2004
Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 2002-2003
John Carter Brown Library Fellowship, May-June 2002
Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society, Nov.-Dec. 2001
Frances C. Allen Fellowship, Newberry Library, July-August 2000
Jean Stroebel-Starr Memorial Award, 1997: “Apprentice of the Year,” Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers
Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War, Yale University Press, January 2018
The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast, University of Minnesota Press, 2008
“‘Every Swamp is a Castle’: Navigating Native Spaces in the Connecticut River Valley, Winter 1675-1677 and 2005-2015” Northeastern Naturalist 24:1, Special Issue on Winter Ecology: Insights from Biology and History, ed. Scott Smedley and Thomas Wickman, March 2017
“Introduction” and Section Editor, Abenaki Literature, Dawnland Voices: An Anthology of Indigenous Writing from New England, edited by Siobhan Senier, University of Nebraska Press, 2014.
“Turning the Looking Glass on King Philip’s War: Locating American Literature in Native Space” American Literary History 25:4 (Special 100th Issue), Winter 2013
- “Corn and Her Story Traveled: Reading North American Graphic Texts in Relation to Oral Traditions,” Thinking, Recording, and Writing History in the Ancient World, edited by Kurt Raaflaub,Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.
“The Primacy of the Present, the Primacy of Place: Navigating the Spiral of History in the Digital World" PMLA Theories and Methodologies Special Feature: "The Long and the Short: Problems in Periodization," March 2012.
“The Constitution of the White Earth Nation: A New Innovation in a Longstanding Indigenous Literary Tradition” Studies in American Indian Literatures 23:4, Special Issue on Constitutional Criticism, edited by James McKay, Winter 2011.
“Painting ‘Word-Pictures’ in Place: Maurice Kenny’s Empathetic Imagination of Tekonwatonti/Molly Brant,” Maurice Kenny: Celebrations of a Mohawk Writer, edited by Penelope Kelsay, SUNY Press, 2011.
“The Reciprocity Principle and ITEK: Understanding the Significance of Indigenous Protest on The Presumpscot,” with Cassandra M. Brooks, International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies 3:2, 2010.
“The Emergence of Sequoyah’s Syllabary in the Cherokee Nation, 1821.” A New Literary History of America, edited by Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors, Harvard University Press, 2009.
"Indigenous Oral Traditions of North America, Then and Now." Companion to American Literature and Culture, edited by Paul Lauter, Blackwell, 2009.
“Digging at the Roots: Locating an Ethical, Native Criticism.”Reasoning Together: The NativeCritics Collective, University of Oklahoma Press, 2008.
“Afterword: At the Gathering Place,” American Indian Literary Nationalism, by Robert Warrior, Jace Weaver, and Craig Womack, with a foreword by Simon Ortiz. University of New Mexico Press, 2006.
“The Grandma Lampman’s Site,” with Louise Lampman Larivee, American Indian Places, ed. Frances Kennedy, Houghton Mifflin, 2008.