Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences

Document Type



In 1900, Eva Shawnee, a Creek girl, enrolled in Hampton Normal and Agriculture Institute. Hampton aimed to uplift the black race through academics, industrial trades, and manual training. It opened its doors to Native Americans between 1878 and 1923; however, when Eva’s youngest siblings enrolled at Hampton, they registered as Negro. Traditional perspectives in American history, because of institutionalized racial hierarchies inside and outside the academy, provide challenges to the types of interdisciplinary scholarship that may address families like the Shawnees. Utilizing but transcending the academic sphere, this article encourages dialogue between marginalized groups and argues that they have more to gain by uniting than by maintaining colonial divisions between them. This paper will explore recent academic work on African American–American Indian families and consider how indigenous critical theoretical perspectives may challenge traditional views of American history. This topic is as timely as it is timeless. This history is pregnant with possibilities and burdened with pain. As imperialism haunts our hearts and our minds, its specter promises to plague our children if we do not extract lessons and actively work to break complementary cycles of oppressions.