What Kind of an American Am I?

From Witches to Baptist Ministers to Native Americans, My Family Heritage Holds Many Stories. But I'm Not Sure Which Ones Are Mine.

I am American. That much I know—but my life’s experience has never taken me beyond that in any way, up until this point. While many Americans embrace their ancestry as part of their national identity, I never have parsed my own beyond simply being, well, American. And white.

I certainly have stories of my family’s past, shaped by witches, warfare, and the Wild West. But with every generation, an ancestral tradition has been shed, a cultural touchstone tweaked, through choice or force, until I arrived at the no man’s …

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George Washington’s ‘Tortuous’ Relationship with Native Americans

The First President Offered Indians a Place in American Society—or Bloodshed If They Refused

There are certain things about the nation’s founding era that many Americans don’t want to see messed with. The Declaration of Independence, despite its inaccurate claims that King George had …

Was Wounded Knee a Battle for Religious Freedom?

By Clamping Down on the Indian Ghost Dance, the U.S. Government Sparked a Tragedy

The Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 appears in many history textbooks as the “end of the Indian Wars” and a signal moment in the closing of the Western frontier. …

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Artist Harry Fonseca Transformed the Native American Folk Figure Into a Commentary on 20th Century Culture

In 2006, during the last few months of his life, the artist Harry Fonseca often spent Sundays in his Santa Fe studio with the curator Patsy Phillips. His ability to …