Brown-Perez to Address "What 21st Century Resistance Means to American Indians"

Kathleen A. Brown-Perez
Kathleen A. Brown-Perez

Kathleen A. Brown-Perez, a lawyer and senior lecturer in anthropology in Commonwealth Honors College, will deliver the talk “Destroy to Replace: What 21st Century Resistance Means to American Indians” on Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 3:30 p.m. in 145 Integrated Science Building.

The talk, which is part of the Resistance Studies Initiative Fall Speaker Series, is free to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Brown-Perez teaches criminal law and the senior honors thesis seminar “Conquest by Law: The Use of Law to Subjugate and Marginalize in the U.S.”

She has a JD and MBA from the University of Iowa and is licensed to practice law in Arizona and Massachusetts. Previously a corporate attorney in Boston, she now limits her practice to federal Indian law.

A member of the Brothertown Indian Nation (Wisconsin), she focuses her research and publications on issues of federal Indian policy and law, including sovereignty, identity and federal acknowledgment.

Recent publications include the article “By Whatever Means Necessary: The U.S. Government’s Ongoing Attempts to Remove Indigenous Peoples During an Era of Self-(De)termination” in New Diversities and the chapter “‘An Inconvenient Truth’: The Use of Federal Policy to Erase American Indians, Indian Tribes, and Indigenous Heritage” in the book “Heritage at the Interface.”

According to Brown-Perez, “Whether your resistance is private or public, big or small, you have to begin with understanding what you’re up against. In the case of American Indians, we are up against a settler-colonial society. … They do not come to a new land with the intention of learning the language and the customs. They come to take over, to superimpose settler-colonial language, religion, customs and values over the Indigenous population. … While 21st century policies do not explicitly and publicly announce the goal to kill off the Indians, there are policies in place that nonetheless serve to destroy Indigeneity. One such policy in place includes the federal government taking control of the definitions of ‘Indian’ and ‘tribe’ in a way that excludes many Indigenous peoples. People are being defined out of existence, erased from the landscape. Federal actions may have changed over the years, but the result is the same: fewer and fewer Indigenous peoples in the U.S.”