The Center is committed to increasing the scholarship about and appreciation for Native American history, cultures, art, and peoples. We're also engaged in current issues and many of the Center's Fellows and Graduate Fellows are doing work in this area of study. In partnership with local tribal leaders, the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs, and Native scholars, writers, and other collaborators, the Center has completed several projects and events of note, including the 2015 Great Plains Symposium "Standing Bear and the Trail Ahead." Some of our work in this area is highlighted below.
'Great Plains Indians'
The Center kicked off its Discover the Great Plains small book series with Great Plains Indians by David Wishart, geography professor at UNL and Center for Great Plains Studies Fellow. The book covers 13,000 years of fascinating, dynamic, and often tragic history. It's a compelling introduction to Indian life on the Plains through the present day.
'The Long Struggle'
The story of Standing Bear’s trial is celebrated in the region as a story of courtroom triumph and the recognition of Indians as persons under U.S. law. The story of the removal and eventual return of the Ponca people that preceded the trial is a lesser-known story. This Center book, The Long Struggle: Standing Bear and the Ponca, by Kaci Nash, follows the Ponca Tribe’s tragic forced removal from its Nebraska homeland in 1877 to “Indian Territory” (Oklahoma) and Ponca Chief Standing Bear’s extraordinary return to Nebraska with a small band of followers.
This initiative invites Native American artists from the Great Plains or whose work involves the Great Plains to submit artwork for a biennial juried exhibition.
The Center has teamed up with the University of Nebraska State Museum to host and promote their annual Claire M. Hubbard First Peoples of the Plains lecture each year during the fall semester.
Great Plains Quarterly consistently publishes articles on Native American topics including history, language, and current events. To search for articles and see the current table of contents visit the GPQ page. Recent essays address such issues as: expanding interpretations of Native American women's history; contemporary Native American in the Great Plains; Delaware Indians in Kansas; and science education at Tribal Colleges.
Dr. Braithwaite is a senior lecturer for Communication Studies, editor of Great Plains Quarterly, and Great Plains undergraduate adviser. Dr. Braithwaite has a special interest in American Indian higher education, and had conducted research on the Navajo Nation, and among the U-Mo'n-Ho'n (Omaha), the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) tribes of Nebraska.
Native American artwork
Beyond the biennial juried exhibition of contemporary Native American artwork, the Great Plains Art Museum showcases Native American artists and artwork often through its exhibitions. Several Native American works are included in the Museum's permanent collection.