"Searching for Indigeneity in The Oregon Trail"
This project explores the Indigenous histories paved over by the Oregon Trail in the hit computer program developed in 1971 and redeveloped in 1985. As part of the edited collection, Playing at War: Identity & Memory in American Civil War Video Games (LSU Press), my chapter uses the designers strategies to be “historical accurate” in developing The Oregon Trail as a means to emphasize the unintentional or intentional erasure of Indigenous histories in the beloved computer game. I argue that settler colonialism plays a pivotal role in our perception of the American West, the Oregon Trail, and the computer game that depicted the journey of white settlers west in the nineteenth century, infrequently encountering Indigenous people and their cultures along the way. Games like When Rivers Were Trails, as I describe in the chapter, provide a corrective to the settler colonial erasures to show Indigenous survivance and experiences, not only in the game but also its developmental process all together.
The Myth and Memory of Chief Tamanend at Gettysburg
I am working on a book chapter for the volume, The Keystone for the Union: New Perspectives on the Civil War Era In Pennsylvania, edited by E. J. Murphy. My chapter explores the 42nd New York Infantry Monument on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg National Military Park. This monument depicts the Lenni-Lenape Chief Tammany, a seventeenth-century Native leader who inspired the Tammany Hall political institution In New York City. I explore how this monument came to be and why it's significant for understanding the commemorative landscape at Gettysburg. Generally, visitors learn very little about Chief Tammany other than his story, which was used and reappropriated by white Americans during the nineteenth century. I use the concept of settler colonialism to frame the lack of contextualization at the park and how we can move forward to build a better collaboration with the Lenape Nation and to offer more historical context for visitors to learn about the monument beyond the appropriation of Tammany's Image.