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 of Colorado, where she also serves as a professor of history. She has published five books, including The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West, a complex work of scholarship that reframed the narrative of the “opening” of the West. She has been the Colorado State Historian, a columnist for The Denver Post, and a MacArthur Fellow. In …

Why “Real Men” Wear Davy Crockett Caps

Even as White Frontiersmen Battled Native Americans, They Adopted Their Symbols of Masculinity

In recent years, fashion leaders have provoked criticism for incorporating Native American imagery in their designs. In 2011, Urban Outfitters introduced a line of Navajo-themed clothing and accessories that included …

How White Settlers Buried the Truth About the Midwest’s Mysterious Mounds

Pioneers and Early Archeologists Preferred to Credit Distant Civilizations, Not Native Americans, With Building These Monumental Cities

Around 1100 or 1200 A.D., the largest city north of Mexico was Cahokia, sitting in what is now southern Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. Built around 1050 …

What Calvin Coolidge Didn’t Understand About Native Americans

Though He Was Adopted by the Lakota Nation, He Clung to a Paternalistic Mindset

During the summer of 1927, Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States, was formally adopted into the Lakota nation. The ceremonies took place in Deadwood, South Dakota, with the …

The “Crying Indian” Ad That Fooled the Environmental Movement

Behind the '70s Anti-Pollution Icon Was an Italian-American Actor—and the Beverage Industry

It’s probably the most famous tear in American history: Iron Eyes Cody, an actor in Native American garb, paddles a birch bark canoe on water that seems, at first, tranquil …