Call: Railroads in Native America: Reflections on the 150th Anniversary of Transcontinental Construction
Railroads in Native America is a three-day symposium bringing together scholars, artists, musicians, tribal members and representatives from tribal governments, in partnership with the National Park Service, the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the union of Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroad tracks at Promontory Summit, Utah. Union Pacific laid their first mile of track in Omaha, Nebraska and historic Mile “zero” is just across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa. This historic anniversary prompted the organizing committee to design a symposium that addresses the significant impact of railroads in Indian Country. Guiding questions for conversation, scholarship, art, and music include:
• How/why did Native communities resist and/or participate in railroad expansion?
• In what ways have Native peoples—past and present—used the mobility and marketplace access provided by railroads to protect kin and community?
• How did railroads, their corporate backers, and the government contribute to the dispossession of Indigenous peoples?
• How have Indigenous homelands and cultures evolved in response to railroad expansion?
• What are the lasting impacts from railroad expansion to Tribal communities, lifeways, and ecosystems?
We welcome submissions from artists, scholars, and tribal community members who would like to participate in this wide-ranging conversation. Please submit a short proposal (up to 400 words) describing how you would like to participate and which topics you would address, along with a C.V., resume, or portfolio of previous work. We welcome paper presentations, roundtable discussions, artwork, music, and other innovative means of contributing to this event. Please e-mail your submission to RRNativeAmerica@gmail.com by April 15. Do not hesitate to reach out to the above e-mail with any questions about the symposium and the submission guidelines. Once a submission is accepted, there may an opportunity for limited financial support to assist with travel and accommodations. Those options and the amount offered will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will depend on available funding.