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Illustration of major rivers for ‘Confluence: The History of North American Rivers’ courtesy of Robert Szucs, www.grasshoppergeography.com.

Teaching the History of American Rivers

Like Open Rivers, I have long tried to answer the question of the value of river history and how can it be put to work to achieve environmental justice. While we each have a home or favorite river that captivates us, there is a broader, if unspoken, understanding of rivers and the role they play in shaping our history. Last fall I organized a conference that attempted to address this challenge. Called All Water Has a Memory: Rivers and American History, the conference featured presenters from academia, nature writing, and environmental and community activism who shared their history and experience of individual rivers in three sessions: Slavery and Freedom, Indigenous Resistance, and The Environmental Movement…

Tettegouche State Park, Silver Bay, Minnesota. Image courtesy of Josh Hild.

On Teaching The Relentless Business of Treaties

In spring 2020, two faculty members from the University of Minnesota Morris each incorporated a book called The Relentless Business of Treaties: How Indigenous Land Became U.S. Property by Martin Case into their course curricula. The book focuses on demystifying the stories and interconnectedness of the white, male treaty-signers responsible for dispossessing Indigenous peoples of their land. The following article shares their perspectives and reflections on teaching this text.