In recent years, it has become fairly common to assert that Native Americans were the victims of genocide, but what exactly does that mean? Given the nature of this crime and its significance to the contested terrain of this nation’s history, it shouldn’t be a surprise that these claims have usually sparked a fair amount of discussion and debate as to the meaning of the word genocide and the most accurate and meaningful way to characterize the historic and present day experiences of Native American population groups. In this presentation, Alex Alvarez will assess some of the claims of genocide, with specific reference to a number of well-known examples such as the Sand Creek Massacre, in order to arrive at a more nuanced, complex, and ultimately more human understanding of the history of Native America post-contact.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Alex Alvarez is Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northern Arizona University. In 2017-2018, he will serve as the Ida E. King Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Stockton University in New Jersey. From 2001 until 2003 he was the founding Director of the Martin-Springer Institute for Teaching the Holocaust, Tolerance, and Humanitarian Values. His main areas of study are in the areas of collective and interpersonal violence, including homicide and genocide. His first book, Governments, Citizens, and Genocide, was published by Indiana University Press in 2001. His other books include Murder American Style (2002), Violence: The Enduring Problem (2007, 2013 2nd ed., 2017 3rd ed.), Genocidal Crimes (2009), and Native America and the Question of Genocide (2014). His latest book, Unsteady Ground: Climate Change, Conflict, and Genocide was published in July 2017 with Rowman & Littlefield. He has also served as an editor for the journal Violence and Victims, was a founding co-editor of the journal Genocide Studies and Prevention, and has served as an editorial board member for a number of journals. He has been invited to speak and present his research in various countries such as Austria, Bosnia, Canada, England, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and Sweden.