Good reading, good giving: SMU books for 2012

Sherry Smith

Research: A new look at the Native American movement

'Hippies, Indians, and the Fight for Red Power' book coverWhen several hundred Native Americans took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., on November 3, 1972, it was with the backing of a hodgepodge of supporters ranging  from hippies to Methodists to Hollywood celebrities.

SMU History Professor Sherry Smith’s new book, Hippies, Indians, and the Fight for Red Power  (Oxford University Press, 2012), is the first to examine this alliance that cut across racial, ethnic and class lines.

“I felt this story had not been told,” says Smith, who devoted 10 years to writing the book. “The primary figures in the Red Power movement  – the most important movers and shakers – were Native Americans. But the support they received from non-Indians was a critical, even essential, component in their ultimate successes.”

Hippies looked to Native Americans as symbols of alternative ways of life that were opposite of established society’s values and beliefs, but the hippie-Indian interaction was more textured and complicated than that, Smith says.

“Hippies were among the first non-Indians of the postwar generation to seek out contact with Native Americans, learn about their grievances, and join their call for reform,” she says. “They did so in large and significant numbers, which in turn caught the attention of the rest of the nation.”

To tell the story, Smith interviewed non-Indians involved in the alliance such as Stewart Brand, creator of the Whole Earth Catalog; actor and counterculture activist Peter Coyote, as well as Native Americans such as Joe Sando of the Albuquerque Pueblo Cultural Center. She also relied on sources ranging from the Richard Nixon Presidential Papers to the American Friends Service Committee.

Smith links the interest in Indian affairs in the 1960s and ’70s to cultural events such as the 1962 publication of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which featured one of the first prominent fictional contemporary Indian characters, Chief Broom. In addition, Dee Brown’s 1970 bestseller, Bury My Heart at Wounded Kneeopened readers’ eyes to the root of Native American demands with the first history of the American West told from the Indians’ point of view.

As the 40th anniversary of events such as the Trail of Broken Treaties (Nov. 3-9, 1972) and the occupation of Wounded Knee (Feb. 27-May 8, 1973) approaches, Smith’s book examines a period when Americans supported social justice movements that did not serve their personal interests.

“I was very impressed with those individuals and groups, including the church-based organizations, that rose to the occasion and helped push for substantive reform in Indian policy in the 1970s,” Smith says. “This was not about them, but about others. They had nothing to gain personally, other than a sense that the nation was finally living up to its promises.”

Can it happen again?

“We have become increasingly fragmented in this country,” Smith says. “I think our nation has been in a reactive state for 40 years now, turning away from the turmoil and challenges of the Sixties. But I am heartened by the resurgence of activism. It is certainly possible and even probable that social and economic justice movements will be revitalized.”

> Read more from SMU News

September 26, 2012|For the Record, Research|

Research Spotlight: U.S. move toward restitution has global precedent

Navajo mother and children, David deHarport, National Park Service Historic Photo CollectionA growing global movement to apologize and make restitution to victims of human rights abuses is now gathering steam in the United States, but it won’t be a first for the country, says the president of The Western History Association.

“In reviewing the history of reconciliation in the American West, I’ve found three examples of government restitution – where we acknowledge we’ve participated in human rights abuses and offered either an apology, restitution, reparation or all three,” says Sherry Smith, associate director of SMU’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies and a professor in the University’s William P. Clements Department of History, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

The state of Montana granted posthumous pardons to Germans and Austrians convicted and imprisoned under repressive sedition laws during World War I; the U.S. government paid reparations to the heirs of Japanese Americans relocated to incarceration camps during World War II; and in a landmark native-lands case, Arizona returned 6,000 acres to the Hualapai tribe in the 1940s and the U.S. government set up the Indian Claims Commission.

“These are tiny steps considering the magnitude of the problem. But they helped turn the corner of deep injustice,” Smith says. “It’s never too late to do the right thing.” (Left, a Navajo mother and children in the door of a hogan, David deHarport, National Park Service Historic Photo Collection.)

Read more at the SMU Research blog

September 9, 2009|Research|

For the Record: March 6, 2009

Sherry Smith, University Distinguished Professor of History and associate director of the Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Dedman College, has received a 2009-10 Los Angeles Times Distinguished Fellowship from the Huntington Library. She will spend the next academic year doing research at the Huntington.

Hillsman S. Jackson, University Photographer, Public Affairs, has been named 2009-10 president of the Dallas chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP). Founded in 1944, the ASMP (originally the Society of Magazine Photographers and later the American Society of Magazine Photographers) has more than 5,000 members in 39 chapters nationwide. The organization “promotes photographers’ rights, educates photographers in better business practices, produces business publications for photographers and helps buyers find professional photographers.”

March 6, 2009|For the Record|

Three faculty members named University Distinguished Professors

Three members of the SMU faculty have been named University Distinguished Professors, as announced by the Office of the Provost. The professorships have been awarded to Greg Warden, Art History; Sherry Smith, History; and Cordelia Candelaria, English.

The University Distinguished Professorships were created in 1982 by SMU’s Board of Trustees to honor outstanding faculty members who meet the highest standards of academic achievement. University Distinguished Professors are appointed in perpetuity and receive cash awards of $10,000 per year for a five-year rolling term.

Greg WardenGreg Warden has taught at SMU since 1982, chairing the Art History Division for six years and serving as associate dean for academic affairs in the Meadows School of the Arts since 1998. Since 1995, he has directed the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project and the SMU excavations at the Etruscan site of Poggio Colla, about 22 miles northeast of Florence. The University’s Poggio Colla field school in archaeology is open to students from around the world, and students from more than 60 universities have participated in it.

Warden’s major interest is the art and culture of ancient Italy, but his expertise – as both an archaeologist and an art historian – extends to a broader range of art from the ancient Mediterranean. His research interests include ancient metalworking technologies; Greek, Etruscan and Roman bronzes and decorative arts; and Roman architecture and patronage. He was director of the SMU-in-Italy summer program in Florence, Orvieto and Rome from 1987 to 1998 and received a Rotunda Award for outstanding teaching from the SMU student body in 1985-86. In addition, he was named the 1996-97 Meadows Foundation Distinguished Teaching Professor. He holds a Ph.D. in classical and Near Eastern archaeology from Bryn Mawr College.

Sherry SmithSherry Smith joined the SMU faculty in 1999 and currently serves as director of graduate studies in the Clements Department of History and as associate director of the University’s Clements Center for Southwest Studies. Her research focuses on the intersection of western, Native American and United States cultural history. She teaches courses on the American West in the 19th and 20th centuries, women in the West, and Native American history, among others.

Currently serving as president of the Western History Association, Smith is the author of Sagebrush Soldier: Private William Earl Smith’s View of the Sioux War of 1876 (University of Oklahoma Press) and The View From Officers’ Row: Army Perceptions of Western Indians (University of Arizona Press). Her most recent book, Reimagining Indians: Native Americans Through Anglo Eyes, 1880-1940 (Oxford University Press), won the 2001 James W. Rawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians for best book on race relations, as well as SMU’s Godbey Authors Award. Smith is also editor of The Future of the Southern Plains, published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2003. She received her Ph.D. in history from the University of Washington.

Cordelia CandelariaCordelia Chávez Candelaria, currently a Regents Professor at Arizona State University, will become a University Distinguished Professor when she begins her new duties as SMU’s dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences in July. As chair of ASU’s Department of Transborder Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies, she helped establish its Southwest Borderlands Initiative to strengthen studies in this discipline and to recruit and retain underrepresented faculty.

Candelaria’s numerous publications include Seeking the Perfect Game: Baseball in American Literature and Chicano Poetry: A Critical Introduction. She also served as executive editor of the two-volume Encyclopedia of Latino Popular Culture and has been editor or co-editor of 10 books, monographs and periodicals. Among her numerous awards, in 2005 she received the Outstanding Latina Cultural Award in Literary Arts and Publications from the American Association for Higher Education Hispanic Caucus. In 2001 Candelaria was named Scholar of the Year by the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies. She received her Ph.D. in American literature and linguistics from Notre Dame.

June 19, 2008|News|
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