Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Minnesota
Website URL
Native American and Indigenous Studies, Public History
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Jean M. O’Brien (White Earth Ojibwe) is Distinguished McKnight University Professor of History at the University of Minnesota. In addition to numerous articles and book chapters, O’Brien is the author Monumental Mobility: The Memory Work of Massasoit (with Lisa Blee, North Carolina, 2019), Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians Out of Existence in New England (Minnesota, 2010), Dispossession by Degrees: Indian Land and Identity in Natick, Massachusetts, 1650-1790 (Cambridge and Nebraska, 1997 and 2003), and the co-edited volumes Sources and Methods in Indigenous Studies (Routledge, 2017), Why You Can’t Teach U.S. History Without Indians (North Carolina, 2015), and Recognition, Sovereignty Struggles, and Indigenous Rights in the United States: A Sourcebook (North Carolina, 2013). She is a co-founder and Past President of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association and inaugural co-editor (with Robert Warrior) of the association’s journal, Native American and Indigenous Studies. She has also served as President of the American Society for Ethnohistory and serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Cobell Scholarship Fund. She has won numerous fellowships and awards in support of her work, including the American Indian History Lifetime Achievement Award for 2014 from the Western History Association, and she is an elected member of the Society of American Historians.

Recent Publications
  • “Monumental Mobility: The Memory Work of Massasoit,” (with Lisa M. Blee), in press, spring 2019, University of North Carolina Press.
  • Sources and Methods in Indigenous Studies, eds. Chris Andersen and Jean M. O’Brien, (New York: Routledge, 2017).
    • “Introduction” (with Chris Andersen)
    • “Historical Sources and Methods and Indigenous Studies: Touching on the Past, Looking to the Future”
  • Why you can’t Teach United States History without American Indians, eds. Susan Sleeper-Smith, Juliana Barr, Jean M. O’Brien, Nancy Shoemaker, and Scott Manning Stevens (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015).
  • “Indians and the California Gold Rush,” chapter in “Why you can’t Teach U.S. History without Indians,” 101-117.
  • Recognition, Sovereignty Struggles and Indigenous Rights in the United States: A Sourcebook, eds. Amy E. Den Ouden and Jean M. O’Brien (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013).
    • “Introduction,” co-authored with Den Ouden, 1-34.
    • “State Recognition and ‘Termination’ in Nineteenth-Century New England,” 149-167.

Articles and shorter publications:

  • “Memory and Mobility: Grandma’s Mahnomen, White Earth,” Ethnohistory 64 (July 2017): 345-77.
  • “Tracing Settler Colonialism’s Eliminatory Logic in Patrick Wolfe’s Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race,” accepted for publication, Special Forum, American Quarterly 69 (July 2017): 249-55.
  • “Building a Professional Infrastructure for Critical Indigenous Studies: An (Intellectual) History and Prospectus for the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association,” (with Robert Warrior), in Aileen Moreton-Robinson, ed., Critical Indigenous Studies: Engagements in First World Locations, (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2016), 33-48.
  • Recognition and Rebuilding,” (co-authored with Amy E. Den Ouden), in The World of the Indigenous Americas, ed. Robert Warrior (New York: Routledge, 2015), 215-238.

“What is a Monument to Massasoit Doing in Kansas City? The Memory Work of Monuments and Place in Public Displays of History,” Special Section I, “Unexpected Ethnohistories: In, of, and out of Place,” Ethnohistory 61 no. 4 (Fall 2014): 635-653.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
17th century, 18th century, 19th century, 20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Gender, Indigenous Peoples, Local & Regional, Public History, Race, Women