Bethany Hughes on the History of Natives at UMich

The University of Michigan has a complicated history with Native American communities, which were vital to its very existence. Join us for a discussion with Bethany Hughes, assistant professor of American Culture, on the historic and ongoing activism of Native American students.

Can U-M Fulfill Its Promise to Native Americans?
Fifty Years of Native American Student Activism

Thursday, January 19, 20237:00 – 9:00 P.M. Guests may attend in-person at the Judy and Stanley Frankel Detroit Observatory or attend virtually.

The talk will examine the founding of the Native American Student Association, the work to compel the University to recognize the promise of education made to Native Americans in the 1817 Treaty of Fort Meigs (including a critical lawsuit brought by a U-M football player), and the decades-long work to bring to light the racial stereotyping and misuse of Native American symbols by the Michigamua student organization.



ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Bethany Hughes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of American Culture and a core faculty member in the Native American Studies Program. A performance scholar and cultural historian, her research focuses on theatre and performance in America, Indigenous performance, and the possibilities for making and remaking culturally legible categories through live performance. She teaches classes on Native American Studies, Indigeneity and Performance, Authenticity and Representation, American Performance, and Broadway and American Culture. An enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, her writing can be found in Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, Theatre Topics, Mobilities and on Her current book project is an investigation of redface in 19th and 20th century American theatre and its implications for Indigenous identity and sovereignty.