This essay examines my work as expert witness in the case of U.S. v. Michigan, a Indigenous use-rights case. I was charged with parsing the intention of a specific article of the 1836 Treaty of Washington compelling land cession by Anishinaabe peoples and with writing a history of land use in the area from that date to the present for the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority (my employer). The challenges were not only methodological (how do you estimate use from ownership?) and epistemological (what constitutes proof that will satisfy both historians and lawyers?), but also sociological and psychological: what happens when an associate professor puts her progress toward full professor on hold for the sake of a court case?
Indigenous Space and the Landscape of Settlement: A Historian as Expert Witness
Susan E. Gray is Associate Professor of History in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. From 2003 to 2012, she served as co-editor of Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. Gray’s recent publications include a co-edited volume, Contingent Maps: Rethinking Western Women’s History and the North American West (2014) and “Of Two Worlds and Intimate Domains” in James Joseph Buss and C. Joseph Genetin-Pilawa, eds., Beyond Two Worlds: Critical Conversations on Language and Power in Native North America (2014). At present, she is completing Lines of Descent: Family Stories from the North Country for the University of North Carolina Press.
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Susan E. Gray; Indigenous Space and the Landscape of Settlement: A Historian as Expert Witness. The Public Historian 1 February 2015; 37 (1): 54–67. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2015.37.1.54
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