Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
New York University
Website URL
Native American, Indigenous, Early America, Louisiana, Atlantic
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Elizabeth Ellis is an assistant professor of history at New York University. She received her BA from Tulane University and her MA and PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Liz’s current book project investigates the histories of Louisiana’s small, Native American polities during the eighteenth century. Her work analyzes the ways that these nations shaped European colonization efforts and influenced the lives of all of the inhabitants of the Lower Mississippi Valley. Unlike many of the larger Indian nations of the Southeast, these “petites nations” did not coalesce or confederate into larger polities during the eighteenth century. Rather, these nations sought alternative military, diplomatic, and economic strategies that would allow them to simultaneously preserve their autonomy while wielding sufficient regional influence to protect their communities. Her work examines the interactions among these petites nations, including the Chitimachas, Tunicas, Bayagoulas, Houmas, Ofogoulas, Tensas, and Biloxis, and their relationships with larger Native polities and the French, Spanish, British, American, and African peoples who settled in Louisiana. Her recent publications include an article on the Tunicas in the Journal of Louisiana History and a book chapter in Routledge’s The World of Colonial America.

Prior to joining NYU, Liz was the Barra Postdoctoral Fellow and a visiting assistant professor at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She has received awards and fellowships from the Newberry Library, The New Orleans Center for the Study of the Gulf South, the University of North Carolina, and Tulane University. Liz is also an enrolled citizen of the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma.

Recent Publications

“The Lower Mississippi Valley,” in The World of Colonial America ed. Ignacio Gallup-Diaz (Taylor Francis/Routledge) 2017

“Tunica, Biloxi, Ofo and the Small Nations in the French and Spanish Colonial Eras,” in Brian Klopotek, John Barbry, Donna M. Pierite, and Elisabeth Pierite-Mora, eds., The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe: Its Culture and People, 2nd edition, (Marksville, Louisiana: Tunica-Biloxi Tribe, 2017)

“Petite Nation with Powerful Networks: The Tunicas in the Eighteenth Century” Louisiana History, vol. 58, 2017 133-178

Media Coverage .
Country Focus
North America and U.S.
Expertise by Geography
North America
Expertise by Chronology
17th century, 18th century
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Indigenous Peoples, Rebellion & Revolution