Blackhawk Park is Indigenous Land (Beyond Acknowledgement)

Sarah Kanouse
Anthropocene Drift
Published in
22 min readJan 26, 2020


Reflections on “Over the Levee, Under the Plow”
Nicholas Brown, Ryan Griffis, Sarah Kanouse

Two banners reading “Meet you here” and “Upon our lands” in picnic shelter near river.
Dylan AT Miner / This Land is Always. Blackhawk Park, De Soto, WI. An excerpt of the artist’s 2018 installation , originally created for the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership at Kalamazoo College.

Arriving in cars, vans, pick-ups, and canoes, a group slowly assembled under an overcast sky on the banks of the Mississippi in a place called Blackhawk Park, near the small town of DeSoto, Wisconsin. As organizers of the convocation for Anthropocene Drift (Field Station 2), we believed it was necessary to acknowledge that we were gathering on Indigenous land. On Ho-Chunk land. However, we chose not to begin our program, Over the Levee, Under the Plow, with a formal land acknowledgement. Rather, we viewed the five-day seminar — itself building on eighteen months of focused research and planning — as a prolonged land acknowledgement, and also a concerted attempt to move beyond acknowledgement. We need to move from words to actions, in other words, as we grapple with what it means to live and work on Indigenous land, on Ho-Chunk land.

Land acknowledgements are necessary but insufficient gestures of accountability to Indigenous peoples and places in the colonial present. Chelsea Vowel, a Métis writer and teacher from Alberta, invites us “to start imagining a constellation of relationships that must be entered into beyond territorial [or land] acknowledgments.”[1] She encourages us to “start learning about [our] obligations as a guest in this territory.” One of the very first obligations as guests is to know the names of your hosts, and to listen closely to them. In this case, doing so elevates homelands and places of belonging instead of field stations, a perspectival shift suggested by Ojibwe artist Andrea Carlson.[2]

“Moving beyond territorial acknowledgments,” Vowell continues, “means asking hard questions about what needs to be done once we’re aware of Indigenous presence. It requires that we remain uncomfortable, and it means making concrete, disruptive change.” Acknowledgement is therefore not an end itself but a provocation to disrupt, to “unsettle” — figuratively and literally — our relationships to the land, to history, and to one another. As three white settlers, artists, and academics, we welcomed participants to lands that are not rightfully ours and spoke with voices authorized and amplified by white supremacy. Ours is the white, middle-class subjectivity — already a complicated assemblage of varying identities — described by anthropologist Heather Anne Swanson as “predicated on not noticing… on structural blindness: on a refusal to acknowledge the histories we inherit.”[3] So we began by unsettling the very land on which we gathered — acknowledging our own complicity in the violence that secured our place there.

Here and Now

Anthropocene Drift began in a place usually marked as an ending.

Not far from where we gathered in Blackhawk Park, a massacre took place. On the first and second of August 1832, the US Army and Illinois militia fired on a group of starving, exhausted Native Americans — mostly Sauk and Meskwaki, but also Kickapoo, Ho-Chunk, and Potawatomi — as they tried to cross the Mississippi River to safety. Their leader, Black Hawk, had already tried to surrender several times during the so-called “war” that bears his name, and the massacre began despite the fact that he once again waved a flag of truce. When soldiers began firing, Black Hawk’s band had little choice but to provide cover for those trying to cross. Soldiers on the bluffs streamed down to shoot at closer range, while a military riverboat fired on retreating families with cannons. Although some made it to safety, many of those who crossed the river were soon captured by the US-allied Dakota. Militiamen gleefully mutilated corpses; sharpshooters deliberately targeted babies. When reproached for these actions, one volunteer soldier coldly replied, “Kill the nits, and you’ll have no lice.”[4]

Officially called the “Battle of Bad Axe,” the carnage was so one-sided that it has been described as a massacre since the 1850s. Of nearly 2000 people who had joined Black Hawk in April to contest the terms of a fraudulent treaty and return to their ancestral village of Saukenuk to farm, only 39 survivors were captured at the conclusion of the massacre. Many had died on the journey, while others no doubt managed to escape. Black Hawk surrendered himself to American authorities a few days after the massacre and was imprisoned just down the river in Prairie du Chien.

Sign to Blackhawk Historical Marker

The Black Hawk War inaugurated an era of massive change to physical, cultural, and political landscapes throughout the region. A newsletter from the Dane County Historical Society summed it up: “Without an Indian war threat, Wisconsin Territory was created just four years later and rapid settlement produced statehood in 1848.”[5] The genocidal war unleashed a new phase of regional settler colonization, and justified an aggressive campaign of removal of the northern Indian Nations, including the Ho-Chunk, Meskwaki, Iowa, and Kickapoo Nations. Historian Jeffrey Ostler argues, “After the Bad Axe Massacre, federal officials seized the moment to separate Indians from their lands. Whether they had supported Black Hawk, remained neutral, or assisted the United States government made no difference.”[6] Beginning in 1832, the Ho-Chunk suffered multiple removals — from Wisconsin to Iowa, Minnesota, Dakota Territory, and Nebraska. Of course, some Ho-Chunk refused to be removed, and remained in or returned to each of these places.

The Bad Axe massacre has a pre-history, a context. A land cession treaty had been signed in St. Louis in 1804 by a Sauk delegation that did not expect to enter into land negotiations and lacked the authority to do so, leading many in the nation to regard the treaty as invalid and to resist American attempts to enforce it. The fraudulent treaty and increasing squatter incursions into their territory prompted the Sauk, Meskwaki, Ho-Chunk, and Potawatomi support the British during the War of 1812. Black Hawk himself was a veteran of that war and incorporated British insignias into his wardrobe for the rest of his life. With victory over the British in 1814, the US assumed actual, rather than nominal, control over the so-called “Northwest Territories,” and settlers began arriving en masse. At the conclusion of that war, Saukenuk, the Sauk capital where Over the Levee, Under the Plow ended, was the largest city in what would soon become Illinois. Occupied mostly during the growing season when the tribe returned from its winter hunting grounds in what is now Iowa, Saukenuk’s log houses were surrounded by vegetable and corn fields. The lead deposits of northwest Illinois and southwest Wisconsin were mined seasonally by Ho-Chunk, Sauk, and Meskwaki women. These well-stewarded resources were extremely attractive to settlers, and from the 1820s both Sauk and Meskwaki leaders began to complain of finding white squatters living in their homes, stealing their corn, and mining the ore with people they had enslaved.

In this historical context, we can understand Blackhawk Park, the nearby town of Victory, and the Black Hawk Trail, which we followed over five days, as “environmental fantasies” of our “settler ancestors.” Many Indigenous peoples in North America, asserts Potawatomi scholar Kyle Powys Whyte, “are already living in what our ancestors would have understood as dystopian or post-apocalyptic times. In a cataclysmically short period, the capitalist–colonialist partnership has destroyed our relationships with thousands of species and ecosystems… Settler ancestors wanted today’s world. They would have relished the possibility that some of their descendants could freely commit extractive violence on Indigenous lands and then feel, with no doubts, that they are ethical people.”[7] We must acknowledge this, too, and sit with the discomfort acknowledgement arouses.

We gathered at Blackhawk Park because of the massacre that took place on August 1–2, 1832. But that is obviously not all that has happened there, and those who survived the massacre have relationships to this place that cannot be reduced to a simple narrative of domination and extermination. As George Thurman, a direct descendent of Black Hawk and the former Principal Chief of the Sac and Fox Nation in Oklahoma, explains:

To say that Black Hawk still has relevance to the Sac and Fox implies a hold to the past, and that’s true because we are all connected, a part of those who came before and holding on to what they taught us for those yet to come. However, our past is not a fixed point that grows farther away with each new generation; instead, our past is like a bloodline, living, breathing, and growing as we grow….

As a descendant, my perspective about Black Hawk is more personal. He is a very real part of what I bring to the Sac and Fox Nation as its chief and who I am as Sac and Fox. I have visited the places where he walked and could place my own footsteps where his had been. I stood on the banks of the Mississippi River at Bad Axe where 179 years ago I would have been a target for the guns and cannon just for being Sauk.

So many of our people died there. The massacre still echoes within us. It was a tragic ending. But I, a member of that same tribe, stood there at the place of “ending” and saw my people of today make offerings at the riverside. Black Hawk fought so his people could live, and there, where one might think it all ended for us, we stood, remembering our people in the way they left to us and that is uniquely ours.[8]

Blackhawk Park can also be understood as a “wounded place,” which geographer Karen Till describes as “present to the pain of others and [embodying] difficult social pasts.”[9] In this sense, the confluence of the Bad Axe and Mississippi Rivers is not unlike Bdote, the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, that has been the focus of Dakota artist Mona Smith’s ongoing healing work.[10] In places such as these, we must challenge ourselves to understand, following historian Christine DeLucia, “how memories of devastation exist relationally alongside those of regeneration.”[11] If the Mississippi Valley can be understood, in part, by tracing Indigenous removals and land cessions, it can also be understood in terms of refusals and returns, particularly among the Ho-Chunk and Meskwaki Nations. The effects of removals are felt today and everyday, and shape what Nick Estes calls “the Indigenous political practice of return, restoration, and reclamation of belonging and place.”[12] As the ecological devastation initiated by the wounding of places like Bdote and Bad Axe spreads across the planet, how to remember, care for, and address sites of intergenerational and profoundly uneven trauma become ever more urgent questions.

Here and Now

We began our public program forty-one hours after an equinox; six days into a student-led Global Climate Strike; a few months after the water that covered Blackhawk Park for much of the spring and early summer receded; and at the end of the hottest decade in human history.

We all followed different paths to arrive at Blackhawk Park that September afternoon.

Some of us drove to the park from south-central Wisconsin and central Illinois, the middle of the so-called Corn Belt, where rivers with names like the Rock, Vermilion, Platte, Mackinaw, Menominee, Embarras, Wisconsin, Kaskaskia, and Sangamon — along with many drainage ditches and canals — connect, eventually, to the Mississippi River. The dominant plants you find in that territory for most of the year — genetically modified Yellow Dent #2 corn and soybeans — require vast amounts of energy and chemical inputs. When discussing the Anthropocene, that landscape is a seemingly easy case-study as a totally transformed ecosystem, as William Cronon described years ago in Nature’s Metropolis.[13]

Interpretive sign in front of prairie landscape
Sign at the Sue and Wes Dixon Waterfowl Refuge at Hennepin and Hopper Lakes, Illinois

Shortly after massacres like Bad Axe secured US ownership over the Midwest, the series of Swamp Land Acts passed between 1849 and 1860 “gave” lands considered swamps and wetlands to states so that they could be converted into private property and made “productive.” The Acts themselves did not result directly and immediately in what geographers like Michael Urban have argued are, for all intents and purposes, permanent transformations to the region’s hydrological and ecological composition.[14] The policies were only one step that prefigured the work that speculators and farmers would undertake to remake the land in their own image through drainage ditches and subsurface drainage tiles. The near total elimination of wetlands and grasslands in this region was also a colonial war — this time against what James C. Scott has referred to as the ungovernable spaces of wetlands and mud, and of course, the lifeways that were sustained by them.[15] The vast fields of corn and soy that we see today are local instantiations of colonial and capitalist land use and plantation economies around the world. It is, in fact, a model that has been exported at an enormous scale to Brazil and Argentina. Like all plantation economies, the conceptualization of the land as a storehouse of resources waiting to be extracted also includes the conceptualization of bodies, both human and otherwise, as expendable forms of capital.

The effects of this physical transformation are reverberating across the biosphere. The New York Times recently reported on a new article in the journal Science that shows “the number of birds in the United States and Canada has fallen by 29 percent since 1970…There are 2.9 billion fewer birds taking wing now than there were 50 years ago.”[16] Blackhawk Park lies in the Mississippi Flyway, a vital migration corridor for more than 325 bird species, which pass by there twice a year en route from breeding grounds in Canada and the northern United States to wintering grounds along the Gulf of Mexico and in Central and South America.

Flooded road to Blackhawk Park, De Soto, WI, May 2019.

A week or so earlier, the Times reported that “this year’s flooding across the Midwest and the South affected nearly 14 million people.” “The year through May 2019 was the wettest 12-month period on record in the United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Edward Clark, director of NOAA’s National Water Center, said, ‘This is a year that will remain in our cultural memory, in our history.’”[17] The year continued to be very wet. In 2019, which of course wasn’t even over yet, “we” witnessed — and were unevenly impacted by — historic flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and many of their tributaries. “The fields are washing away,” Missouri farmer Kate Glastetter told Pacific Standard magazine last spring at a time when Blackhawk Park was submerged beneath a swollen Mississippi.[18] The silt left by receding floodwaters adds to the layer — several meters thick in many places — of what scientists call “Post-Settlement Alluvium,” or “Legacy Sediment,” the result of 19th century Euro-American agricultural practices that initiated widespread erosion and washed upland sediment into the region’s valleys. The economic stress posed by the most recent floods may exacerbate the epidemic of depression among American farmers, whose suicide rate was already twice that of combat veterans.[19] And although words like Anthropocene and “climate crisis” are unknown or controversial in many rural communities, it is possible to identify what Ashlee Cunsolo and Neville Ellis call ecological grief: “the grief felt in relation to experienced or anticipated ecological losses, including the loss of species, ecosystems and meaningful landscapes due to acute or chronic environmental change.”[20]

Mourning Nature in the (Colonial) Anthropocene

Seventy-two years and forty miles from where we gathered at Blackhawk Park, Aldo Leopold dedicated a monument to the last Wisconsin Passenger Pigeon, which was shot dead in September 1899. In his speech, Leopold reflected: “We have erected a monument to commemorate the funeral of a species. It symbolizes our sorrow. We grieve because no living man will see again the onrushing phalanx of victorious birds, sweeping a path for spring across the March skies, chasing the defeated winter from all the woods and prairies of Wisconsin.” In dedicating what was perhaps the first monument to extinction, Leopold called out the actions of previous generations — “our grandfathers… [believed it was] more important to multiply people and comforts than to cherish the beauty of the land in which they live” — while also reserving his greatest grief not for the birds themselves but for the loss of cultural and aesthetic relationships that mainstream settler American culture had developed with them.[21]

Ancient mound and monument to the passenger pigeon, Wyalusing State Park, July 2019.

Leopold’s elegiac warning foreshadowed the recent rash of extinction-related monuments, physical and virtual. These monuments, like that to Iceland’s vanishing Okjökull glacier or Maya Lin’s multimedia “What is Missing,” frequently employ the universal “we.” Billed as a “global memorial to the planet,” Lin’s piece is dedicated to:

The species that have gone extinct.

The species that will go extinct in our lifetime.

The species that we will never know because we destroyed their habitats before we could ever know them.[22]

Upping the accusatory ante, the glacier plaque, unveiled in July 2019 to much fanfare, reads, “This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it,” reads the glacier plaque. “This species became extinct through the avarice of and thoughtlessness of man,” reads the pigeon plaque.

These monuments are significant because they point to an ongoing shift in the dominant culture toward finding “nature” and cultural relationships with the natural world grievable. Yet their suggestion that a universal and undifferentiated humanity is responsible for this loss is a product of that same structural blindness that Heather Anne Swanson attributes to white, middle-class Americans: a refusal to notice that the forces that produced these extinctions, these floods, were exerted by some humans and not others. Moreover, as Kyle Powys Whyte reminds us, some humans have long benefited from the very forces that generated the losses that we now grieve or find “ourselves” suddenly vulnerable to. The very real grief that climate change can and should engender must take care to avoid re-inscribing narratives of white innocence and naturalizing the staggering ecological costs already born by Indigenous people long before the last passenger pigeon fell from the sky.

The Colonial Anthropocene

In starting our seminar at Blackhawk Park on September 25, 2019, we were making two implicit propositions. The first is that what has been called the Anthropocene — the intensification and industrialization of land and resource use that has led us to the brink of ecosystem collapse — is not the inevitable product of humanity writ large but rather the consequence of Euro-American colonialism and the capitalist economic systems it built. Anthropocene Drift (or Field Station 2), tried to make visible not just the Anthropocene, but the (colonial) Anthropocene, which is to say it sought to reveal how ongoing processes of colonization are transforming the earth. The (colonial) Anthropocene is everywhere, of course, but it is palpable in places like Blackhawk Park, Indian Lake, and the former site of the Badger Army Ammunition Plant, where our field station programming took place.

Randy Poelma, environmental specialist for the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin showing a map to OLUP participants. The site is Maa Wákąčąk, a land and culture restoration site of the Ho-Chunk Nation, on the site of the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant, Wisconsin.

Our second proposition is that the Anthropocene is an uneven spatial phenomenon. Debates about the start of the Anthropocene are usually framed in temporal rather than spatial terms. When did it begin, we ask, not where did it start? Dates are singular rather than plural. The Anthropocene started in either 1492, 1610, 1619, or 1950. It didn’t start in all these, plus a million other times and places. We contend that the Anthropocene is both a world geo-historical event and a highly variegated and textured condition that is experienced unevenly and very specifically across space, species, gender, race, and class. Anthropocene Drift asked not when did the (colonial) Anthropocene begin, but, instead, where is it most visible? And where, how, and by whom is it felt most intensely? Part of our interest in the Driftless Area is pragmatic, in so far as it ties the Anthropocene to colonialism in place(s).

It’s ironic to think about the Anthropocene in terms of temporal golden spikes. Spikes are, after all, driven into space, not time. They are staples connecting one thing with another, an attempt to bridge a gap. According to Manu Karuka, that other famous “golden spike” — the one that connected the first transcontinental railroad — “did not suture the Union after the Civil War; it symbolically finalized the industrial infrastructure of a continental empire where none had existed before.”[23] But if you wanted to place a spatiotemporal golden spike to mark the start of the Anthropocene in the Upper Midwest — or, from 1787–1803, the Old Northwest Territory — the confluence of the Bad Axe and Mississippi Rivers — or Blackhawk Park — would be an ideal location.

Yet framing the “quotidian Anthropocene” as starting here risks reducing this place to the massacre and reinforcing what Mark Rifkin calls “settler time,” a temporality that consigns Native people to the past while selectively admitting them to a present defined entirely in settler terms. Only within settler time could the Black Hawk conflict be the “Last Indian War East of the Mississippi.” This designation is another instance of the “phenomenon of lasting,” which Jean O’Brien identifies as a “rhetorical strategy that asserts as a fact the claim that Indians can never be modern.”[24] The Black Hawk War was obviously not the last Indian war, nor was it the last conflict over settlement or sovereignty in the Midwest — or anywhere else. It wasn’t even the last Black Hawk War. Ironically, the longest and most destructive conflict between [so-called] pioneer immigrants and Native Americans in Utah history, which occurred thirty-three years after the conflict in Illinois, is also commonly referred to as the Black Hawk War.

Similarly, calling the Anthropocene a new geologic time that “we” are all in only makes sense in the framework of settler time. If we adopt the Anthropocene as a useful analytic framework, we must take care that it not become a totalizing, teleological narrative, an extension of Rifkin’s “settler time” to which Indigenous people might be admitted, but only on terms that ultimately undermine the heterogeneous temporalities that are forms of sovereignty existing beyond settler recognition.[25] For this reason, our field station largely did not engage the Anthropocene as a definitional project, whether to establish its temporality or locate exemplary Anthropocenic phenomena. We are most interested in how the Anthropocene is to be survivable, and, crucially, for whom. We must remember that the colonial project that undergirds the Anthropocene was never fully successful: there still exist bio-cultural and temporal “refuges,” sustained by the descendants of the people colonization failed to exterminate. Our field station was a protracted effort to learn about what Gerald Vizenor calls survivance (survival + resistance) in the face of extended, violent eco-social trauma.[26] While we sought to listen to and learn from Indigenous people, we do not hold up Indigenous “resilience” as a model for settler society, such that the refusal to be eliminated becomes yet another resource for Euro-Americans to plunder. Rather, we sought to strengthen relationships with Native people, between Indigenous groups, and among settler descendants out of which to build practices of survivability that foreground both difference and justice in the (colonial) Anthropocene. Clint Carroll, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, professor at the University of Colorado, and the seminar’s concluding speaker describes this as “relational activism,” explaining:

For Indigenous peoples, the political is environmental — our struggles are most fundamentally about and for the land. This is not a liberal stance, not an environmentalist stance, not a Marxist class-struggle stance. It is an Indigenous stance that may touch on points within the above positions yet offers the world something distinct, something fundamentally different that seeks to benefit all those who have a right to life, that is, all things living — and this includes plants, animals, landforms, waterways, and the many other beings with which humans must maintain respectful relations.[27]

Recognizing fundamental differences between Indigenous and progressive Euro-American political traditions is essential for any meaningful exchange. In the especially fraught context of settler-Native contact — which has long mixed violent conquest with romanticized celebration and forced assimilation with cultural appropriation — we must treat concepts of “reconciliation” and “understanding” with caution, lest they become yet another settler “move to innocence.”[28] Rather, by highlighting both what is relational and what is incommensurable, we hope to live a better, more responsive, and inescapably earth-bound life in place, whether Indigenous, settler, “arrivant,” or all three.[29]

Grounded Relationalities

ILEPA hearing on Dynegy plan for coal ash site, Danville Community College, March 2019.

In the Vermilion River watershed near the border of Illinois and Indiana, there has been something of a successful campaign against the unregulated impacts of waste from coal-burning power plants, which of course are always located alongside rivers. A coalition of urban and rural organizations — including the Prairie Rivers Network, Faith In Place, Eco-Justice Collaborative and EarthJustice — mobilized a large, politically diverse population to pressure the state of Illinois to force power companies to deal with the problems posed by mountains of coal ash. At one Illinois EPA hearing, residents packed a gym at Danville Community College, arguing that the river needed to be understood as a living thing that could not be legislated or controlled by engineering solutions. These residents represented a largely white, rural, working-class population that voted for Trump in 2016, and we have no illusions that they — whether liberal or conservative — were representing anything other than their own interests in maintaining their property claims and protecting the health of their families and friends. But we could also choose to hear at least some recognition of what one of our participants Alyosha Goldstein (along with Jodi Byrd, Jodi Melamed, and Chandan Reddy) have called “grounded relationalities”:

If the grounded relationalities of Indigenous philosophies might tell us anything, then, they remind us that knowledge must always remain grounded as the land calls to us and for us to find our place within the ongoing acts of interconnectivity that surround us.[30]

How might the experience of these testifying residents, as settlers in the (colonial) Anthropocene, be mobilized towards living within it differently? Goldstein and his co-authors ask for a consideration of how land, “understood not as property or territory but as a source of relation with an agency of its own” might make other possibilities available, possibilities that recognize the racialized and embodied histories that we have inherited and continue to create.

Although our field station research and public program centered Native voices, the opening of the seminar did not include the visible participation of Native people in the spiritually, historically, and ecologically charged site of the Bad Axe Massacre. Early in our planning, we spent several weeks asking individuals we know in the Sauk, Meskwaki, Ho-Chunk, and Kickapoo tribes about the value of meeting there to address this history. Several of these people joined us for portions of the seminar but did not respond to, or politely declined, the invitation to meet us at Bad Axe. Bill Quackenbush, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Ho-Chunk Nation, who led a four-hour tour with the group on the seminar’s second day, explained his reluctance, “Our internal perspectives, stories and histories of this and many other traumatic events are only intended to stay within our tribal communities.”

Bill Quackenbush leads tour of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve for the seminar, September 26, 2019.

Bill helped us understand that an invitation to perform or narrate at this site of trauma is inappropriate. It is only within settler time that this “history” needs to be specifically addressed as such, since it is being actively lived in Indigenous communities every day. If the (colonial) Anthropocene is to be survivable, Indigenous and settler-descended people will have different roles. As Dakota medicine gardener Francis Bettelyoun explains in Corinne Teed’s booklet for the field station, “We [Dakota people] are Indigenizing. We are not decolonizing. Your work is decolonizing.”[31] Anthropocene Drift (Field Station 2) was our humble contribution to that ongoing work.

As we assemble these reflections on Anthropocene Drift a few months after the seminar concluded, we continue to be mindful of the here and now, and how shifting places and times assert themselves and inflect our understandings of the (colonial) Anthropocene. The end of the year — the end of the decade — witnessed another UN Climate Change Conference, COP25, and Greta Thunberg is in the news again. This time it not because of what she said, but because of what she didn’t say, and how she used her platform to center other voices, especially Indigenous voices. “Our stories have been told over and over again,” Thunberg said to delegates at the meeting. “There is no need to listen to us anymore. It is people especially from the global south, especially from Indigenous communities, who need to tell their stories.”[32]

[1] Chelsea Vowel, “Beyond territorial acknowledgments,” âpihtawikosisân (September 23, 2016),

[2] Andrea Carlson, “The Mississippi River is the Opposite of the Anthropocene,” unpublished essay (2019).

[3] Heather Anne Swanson, “The Banality of the Anthropocene,” Cultural Anthropology (February 22, 2017),

[4] William Henry Perrin, History of Crawford and Clark Counties, Illinois (Chicago: O.L. Baskin & Co., 1883), 232.

[5] Dane County Historical Society Newsletter 26, no. 2 (Summer 2007), 2.

[6] Jeffrey Ostler, Surviving Genocide: Native Nations and the United States from the American Revolution to Bleeding Kansas (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019), 307.

[7] Kyle Powys Whyte, “White Allies, Let’s Be Honest About Decolonization,” Yes! Magazine (April 3, 2018),

[8] Nicholas Brown and Sarah Kanouse, Re-Collecting Black Hawk: Landscape, Memory, and Power in the American Midwest (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), 20–21.

[9] Karen Till, “Artistic and activist memory-work: Approaching place-based practice,” Memory Studies (2008), 108.

[10] Mona Smith, “Learning from the Dakota: Water and Place,” Open Rivers 11 (Summer 2018),

[11] Christine M. DeLucia, Memory Lands: King Philip’s War and the Place of Violence in the Northeast (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018), 22.

[12] Nick Estes, Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance (New York: Verso, 2019), 248.

[13] William Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1991).

[14] Michael Urban, “Catastrophic Human-Induced Change in Stream-Channel Planform and Geometry in an Agricultural Watershed, Illinois, USA,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers Vol 93, №4 (2003).

[15] James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998) 56.

[16] Carl Zimmer, “Birds Are Vanishing From North America,” New York Times (September 19, 2019),

[17] Sarah Almukhtar, Blacki Migliozzi, John Schwartz and Josh Williams, “The Great Flood of 2019: A Complete Picture of a Slow-Motion Disaster,” New York Times (September 11, 2019),

[18] Emily Moon, “’The Fields Are Washing Away:’ Midwest Flooding Is Wreaking Havoc on Farmers,” Pacific Standard (June 6, 2019),

[19] Debbie Weingarten, “Why are America’s farmers killing themselves?” Guardian (December 11, 2018),

[20] Ashlee Cunsolo and Neville R. Ellis, “Ecological Grief as a Mental Health Response to Climate Change-Related Loss,” Nature Climate Change 8, no. 4 (2018), 275.

[21] Leopold as quoted in Kelly Enright, “Exhibiting Extinction: Martha and the Monument, Two Modes of Remembering Nature,” Cultural Studies Review 25, no. 1 (2019), 151–171.

[22] Maya Lin, What is Missing? (2009),

[23] Manu Karuka, Empire’s Tracks: Indigenous Nations, Chinese Workers, and the Transcontinental Railroad (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2019), xiv.

[24] Jean O’Brien, Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians out of Existence in New England (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010), 107.

[25] Mark Rifkin, Beyond Settler Time: Temporal Sovereignty and Indigenous Self-Determination (Durham: Duke University Press, 2017).

[26] Gerald Vizenor, Manifest Manners: Narratives on Postindian Survivance (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999).

[27] Clint Carroll, Relational Activism and Indigenous Futures, World Literature Today (October 10, 2019),

[28] Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, “Decolonization is not a metaphor,” Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 1, no. 1 (2012), 1–40.

[29] Jodi Byrd, The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), xix.

[30] Jodi A. Byrd, Alyosha Goldstein, Jodi Melamed, Chandan Reddy, “Predatory Value: Economies of Dispossession and Disturbed Relationalities,” Social Text 135, vol. 36, no. 2 (2018), 11–14.

[31] Corinne Teed (with Francis Bettelyoun, Rhonda Funmaker, and Jodee Smith), Amongst Relatives, Field Guides to the Anthropocene Drift (2019),

[32] “Greta Asks Media to Focus on Other Young Climate Activists,” Voice of America (December 9, 2019), In response to Thunberg’s action, Hartman Deetz, an environmental activist and enrolled member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, wrote on Facebook, “see…. I like Greta. She gets it, what privilege is and how to use it. Create a platform and give it to the people who need it. Thank you Greta.”