WELCOME TO THE
Who are we?
The American Society for Ethnohistory is the preeminent international organization in the field and sponsors the journal Ethnohistory. In membership and purpose, it represents the interests of communities as well as academics from a variety of disciplines – cultural anthropology, history, Native American studies, archaeology, ecology, linguistics, and other related disciplines. The unifying factor is a commitment to the mission of our association – professionals from a variety of backgrounds who are helping to create a more inclusive picture of the histories of native groups in the Americas.
Las Vegas, Nevada
November 4–8, 2015
In 2013, 40 million people from across the world visited Las Vegas, Nevada. They gazed at faux skylines of Paris and New York City, hiked the Mojave Desert, and rafted the Colorado River. Yet, beyond the glitz of the Las Vegas Strip and along the river that serves as the lifeblood of the American Southwest, ethnohistorians and Indigenous peoples recognize places deeply embedded with meaning.
Nuvagantu, “where snow sits,” the site of Paiute creation, towers over the Las Vegas Valley. The name “Las Vegas,” derives from the Spanish phrase “the fields,” referring to the grouping of springs and watersheds where Paiutes traditionally hunted game and harvested food, medicinal plants, and basket-making materials. Paiutes in the Las Vegas Valley experienced the violence of enslavement at the hands of Ute Indians from Utah and from Mexican and Spanish slave traders along the Old Spanish Trail. Off the famous Las Vegas Boulevard, just north of the Las Vegas Strip, lies the Las Vegas Paiute reservation, with its smokeshop, tribal government headquarters, and annual Indian taco sale, reminding passers-by that Las Vegas was and is an Indigenous space. The program committee of the American Society for Ethnohistory invites scholars and Native American community members to consider these and other “Hidden Ethnohistories of Well Known Places” when we convene in Las Vegas for the 2015 meeting.
Las Vegas is an iconic American city, steeped in changing with the times and promising the favor of chance. Outside the city, suburbs have overtaken the desert, muting the city’s unique identity and turning it into just more American sprawl. Indigenous spaces and places retain their unique meanings, regardless of whether a skyscraper or a split-level has been constructed atop them. The persistence of these places and the ways they connect their communities—culturally, spiritually, geographically—is what we hope to explore together November 4-8, 2015.
Khal Schneider, California State University-East Bay (co-chair)
Laurie Arnold, Gonzaga University (co-chair)
William Bauer, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Sondra Cosgrove, College of Southern Nevada
Jay Precht, Penn State Fayette
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