American Academy Lecture at Freie Universität Berlin
Imagining Native American/Indigenous Futures
David Treuer, Professor of English, University of Southern California, and Fall 2022 Holtzbrinck Fellow, American Academy in Berlin
With an introduction by Michaela Hampf, Professor of History, John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies
In the American historical imagination, the Native American people died off when the American frontier was closed, in 1890. If we admit that Native Americans continue to exist today, it is only as perpetual sufferers, tucked away in destitute reservations, often seen as places of perpetual misery. Native American history is thus read as a tragedy, a descending line into the present. Interpreted as such, America has a Native past and an American present. But this tragic historical narrative is not only wrong, argues David Treuer, it also obscures the real story of Native people. In this talk, he brings a more complete history of Native Americans, the American continent, and Americans themselves into focus.
David Treuer is a professor of English at the University of Southern California. He divides his time between Los Angeles and Minnesota’s Leech Lake Reservation (Gaa-zagaskwaajimekaag in the Ojibwe language), where he grew up. He received his BA from Princeton University in creative writing and anthropology, and his PhD in anthropology from the University of Michigan. Treuer is the author of numerous books, including The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee (Penguin, 2019), which was a finalist for both the National Book Award and a Carnegie Medal, and The Translation of Dr Apelles (Greywolf, 2006), named a Best Book of the Year by the Washington Post, Time Out, and City Pages. A writer of impressive range, from fiction and creative nonfiction to memoir and criticism, his essays and stories have appeared in Granta, Harper’s, Esquire, TriQuarterly, Washington Post, Lucky Peach, New York Times, LA Times, and elsewhere. His awards include a Pushcart Prize, two Minnesota Book Awards, California Book Award Gold Medal, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Bush Foundation, and Guggenheim Foundation.
In cooperation with John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin
This event took place on Friday, December 2, 2022.