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“The Indigenous origins of the American revolution: historiography and American colonialism”

A talk by Ned Blackhawk


Join us for the closing plenary session of “For 2026: Contested Freedoms” with author and scholar Ned Blackhawk (Yale University) on Saturday, October 28, 2023, at 5:00 pm in William & Mary’s Integrated Science Center (ISC) room 1221 (parking and directions below).

Seating is open to all and is not reserved.

Doors will open at 4:30 pm.

Using his most recent book, The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History, as a starting point, author and professor Ned Blackhawk will show how Native Americans are essential to understanding the evolution of America.

“A sweeping, important, revisionist work of American history that places Native Americans front and center.”—New York Times Book Review, cover review

“In accounts of American history, Indigenous peoples are often treated as largely incidental…. Blackhawk challenges those minimalizations and exclusions, showing that Native communities have, instead, been inseparable from the American story all along.”—Washington Post Book World, “Books to Read in 2023”

“Gripping and nuanced, The Rediscovery of America is an essential remedy to the historical record.”—Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire, “The Best Books of Spring 2023”

“Thoughtful, innovative, and provocative…. Blackhawk’s conception of American history is long overdue. It is, more than any other attempt at re-interpreting our national story, US history turned upside down.”—David Shribman, Boston Globe


Photo by Dan Renzetti

Ned Blackhawk is the Howard R. Lamar Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University, where he is the faculty coordinator for the Yale Group for the Study of Native America.

Blackhawk is an enrolled member of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada. A graduate of McGill University, he holds graduate degrees in history from UCLA and the University of Washington.

Blackhawk is the author or co-editor of four books in Native American and Indigenous history, including Violence over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West, which won seven professional awards, including the Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for the most significant first book in U.S. history, awarded by the Organization of American Historians.

Author of the first state of the field essay on Native American history commissioned by the American Historical Association, Blackhawk has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times Book ReviewWashington PostAmerican QuarterlyReviews in American HistoryAmerican Historical ReviewEthnohistory, and American Indian Culture and Research Journal, among others.

Blackhawk has worked closely with museum communities and published in exhibition catalogues for the National Museum of the American Indians, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Yale University Art Gallery. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with his wife and family.

The Brafferton Initiative

Ned Blackhawk’s talk is part of the Brafferton Initiative at William & Mary. The Brafferton Initiative seeks to position Indigenous history and presence as core elements of William & Mary’s identity and to generate new knowledge, expand understanding and belonging, and cultivate relationships that are thoughtful, sustainable, and reciprocal.

Parking and directions

Attendees may park in any W&M parking lot for the lecture. No parking tags or passes are needed on Saturdays in any W&M lot. The Integrated Science Center (ISC) is located on the main campus of W&M—building 117 on this map. (WM campus map),  540 Landrum Drive.

Look for the guides in Omohundro Institute baseball hats to lead you to the lecture hall.

Cars can drop off passengers at the ISC on Landrum Drive and then park in any available Faculty/Staff spot on Landrum Drive or in the parking lot behind Swem Library (also on Landrum Drive) or near the new W&M arts complex (on Jamestown Road).

Again: W&M Parking does not monitor parking passes on the weekend and all spaces are available for visitors and pass-holders alike.

About the “For 2026: Contested Freedoms” conference

The “For 2026” conference series is co-sponsored by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture, and William & Mary. “For 2026: Contested Freedoms” is the second in the series.

The series uses the occasion of the 250th anniversary of American independence from Britain as an unparalleled opportunity for exploring and reflecting upon the American past, the foundation of the nation, and its legacy into the present. Complex, inspiring, and often violent, this period informs our experience as Americans today. The better we understand that past, the better we are equipped to understand ourselves, address the challenges we face, and seize opportunities for the future.