Why Are We Still Arguing Over the Legacy of Cherokee ‘Outlaw’ Ned Christie?

Those Who Have Benefited Most From His Story Have Never Cared About the Evidence That Vindicates Him

On the spring evening in 1887 that he arrived in Tahlequah, the capital of the Cherokee Nation, U.S. Deputy Marshal Dan Maples was fatally shot in the chest by an unknown assailant hiding in dense brush. Murders, rapes, and thefts occurred almost daily in post-Civil War Indian Territory (later the state of Oklahoma), and the death of Maples was hardly surprising.

Also unsurprising was the mythology that grew around the supposed assailant and the lawmen who pursued him, for those stories served white narratives about Indian Territory and the American West. …

America’s Hidden History of Conquest and the Meaning of the West | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

America’s Hidden History of Conquest and the Meaning of the West

Historian Patricia Nelson Limerick on How Invaders Came to See Themselves as Victims, Then Romanticized the Native Americans They Displaced

Patricia Nelson Limerick is a leading scholar of the American West, and the faculty director and chair of the board of the Center of the American West at the University …

The Real Heroes of the Overland Trail Were the Oxen | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Oxen Were the Unheralded Heroes of America’s Overland Trails

Over Long Journeys, Westward Migrants Came to Love the 'Noble' Animals They Depended on

Between 1840 and 1869, approximately 300,000 people crossed the United States on their way to settle in Oregon, find gold in California, or practice religion as they desired in …

How Basques Became Synonymous With Sheepherders in the American West | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Basques Became Synonymous With Sheepherders in the American West

Though Few Immigrants Arrived With Experience, They Created an Ethnic Economic Niche That Became a Ladder to Success

One enduring myth of the American West is that people of Basque origins or ancestry came to dominate sheepherding because of the skills they brought with them from the old …

How the Gilded Age Turned Cowboys Into ‘Adventure Heroes’ | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How the Gilded Age Turned Cowboys Into ‘Adventure Heroes’

Cattle Herding May Have Been Boring and Demeaning, But It Seemed Like an Antidote to Soul-Killing Industrial Jobs

It is rare to find cowboys on the silver screen who spend much time performing the humdrum labor—herding cattle—that gave their profession its name. Westerns suggest that cowboys are …