Who We Are 

We began this project at Grinnell College, a small liberal arts college in central Iowa. The inspiration for the website grew out of teacher education work that the project lead, Deborah Michaels, did with social studies teachers in Iowa, in particular with Leah Slick-Driscoll, a Meskwaki teacher at the Meskwaki Settlement School. Grinnell College students developed these teaching materials with Deborah’s guidance. Support for the creation of this site came from students, librarians, and Digital Humanities staff at Grinnell. 

Your Name Here:

We’d welcome your participation in our project, especially if you are a Native American scholar, Tribal historian, or secondary-school teacher.

Project Lead 

Deborah L. Michaels

Deborah is an Associate Professor in the Education Department at Grinnell College, where she teaches History of Education, Comparative & International Education, and Teacher Education courses. Her research interests focus on racial and ethnic inclusion/exclusion in schooling. She started the Native Histories Project as a response to the gross misrepresentation and underrepresentation of Native American experiences and histories in many social studies textbooks and American History classrooms. She has been the recipient of a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation (2014), a US State Department Speaker Grant (2006), a Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship (2006-2007), and a Fulbright Fellowship (2004-2005). In 2017, Grinnell awarded her two Innovation Grants for projects on inclusion in higher education, Racing Iowa (with Stephanie Jones) and Meskwaki College Access. Deborah loves traveling, learning languages, and her dog, Argo.

Content Consultant 

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Leah Slick-Driscoll

Leah is a member of the Meskwaki Nation of Iowa (Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa) and is also Winnebago from Nebraska. She received her B.A.s in History and Social Studies Education from the University of Iowa in 2009. She received her M.A. in Social Studies Education from the University of Iowa in 2014. She is honored to teach 9-12th grade social studies at the Meskwaki Settlement School since 2009. She has 7 children and two grandchildren. She has a passion for Native American history and Indigenous Studies. She loves to research and get involved in issues that affect Native American people today, and to give her students opportunities to research and be a part in solving these issues.


Digital Fellow


Sydney Hamamoto '19

Sydney is a mythology-loving English and History major, who is fueled by coffee and popcorn. She is also pursuing a concentration in Technology Studies. She is interested in questions and intersections concerning race, ethnicity, culture, food, and media. She is the Vivero student fellow—a digital scholarship fellowship dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the digital humanities—for the Native Histories Project.



Digital Project Consultants

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Liz Rodrigues

Liz Rodrigues is Assistant Professor, Humanities & Digital Scholarship Librarian. Her research focuses on data as an epistemological concept, representational form, and modernist aesthetic in multiethnic U.S. modernist literatures. Prior to holding this position, she was a Council for Library & Information Resources (CLIR) Postdoctoral Fellow at the Temple University Digital Scholarship Center in Philadelphia. She is a co-creator of Reading Cities, a digital platform for textual augmentation, and The Revision Project, an open educational resource for teaching revision in academic writing. She has presented at the HathiTrust UnConference, THAT Camp Philly, and the Digital Americanists roundtable of the American Literature Association.

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Tierney Steelberg

Tierney Steelberg is a Digital Liberal Arts Specialist at the Digital Liberal Arts Collaborative. She has a Master’s degree in Information Science from the University of Michigan, and prior to arriving at Grinnell she was the Digital Pedagogy & Scholarship Technologist at Guilford College. She has a background in digital pedagogy – and especially critical digital pedagogy – and experience supporting digital projects across disciplines and modalities, from digital publishing and web creation to digital mapping and audio/video creation.



Unit Creators 


Yesenia Ayala '18

Yesenia Ayala graduated from Grinnell with a double major in Sociology and Spanish with a concentration in Latin American studies. During her time at Grinnell, she engaged students around education-inequity issues in the US through her work as a service-learning work study student and a Student Government cabinet member. Yesenia worked with Al Éxito (“to success”) in Iowa, inspiring Latino youth to span socioeconomic gaps and with underrepresented low-income youth with Breakthrough New York. She also was a student leader in the creation of the Meskwaki Youth program. In her future career, Yesenia hopes to shape education policy, ensuring underrepresented voices are heard and schooling benefits all students in our nation.




Ben Binversie '17

Ben graduated with a major in history and concentration in policy studies. The Native Histories Project called to him because the overwhelming exclusion, suppression and misrepresentation of Native peoples' voices and stories in traditional United States history causes verifiable damage to indigenous people today. Seeking to tell meaningful stories and create his own, Ben yearns to explore and engage with the world in a genuine way. Ben has spent valuable time among the Navajo in Chinle, Arizona and wound up with a loving, extremely naughty dog, Tucker, to remind him every day.


Acadia Broussard '19

Acadia is a History and French major at Grinnell pursuing her secondary teaching license. While she is a fan of anything related to education, her passions lie primarily in social studies education and the way we chose to interact with our past. Her interests in memory studies and its intersection with civics curriculum led her to the Native Histories project where she created the unit on Thanksgiving. She is an avid public school supporter, in-your-face Saint Louis native, and part time cat Instagrammer.

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Griffin Boehm '19

Griffin is a history major that will graduate from Grinnell in May of 2019. The Native American Histories Project appealed to Griffin because of his previous interactions with Navajo, Hopi, and Havasupai tribes in Northern Arizona as well as the opportunity to build upon Native American course work and research done with Professor P. Albert Lacson throughout his time at Grinnell College. For the Native American Histories Project, Griffin partnered with Vincent Curta ’19 to create an eight lesson unit about impactful treaties, acts, and legislation between Native Americans and the US Government. In his free time, Griffin enjoys watching movies, reading for leisure, and fishing. Griffin is also a member of the Grinnell College men’s basketball team.


Christian Clark '18

Christian recently graduated from Grinnell with a B.A. in English. For the Native History Project, he designed a history unit around Native American war and collaboration. Specifically, his unit chronicles the Seminole Wars, and prompts students to think about the strenuous relationship between the U.S. government and Native communities throughout the nineteenth century. He is currently a high school English teacher and wishes to continue bringing untold stories of communities of color within the U.S. into the classroom


Vinny Curta '19

Vinny is currently a fourth year student at Grinnell and will be graduating in the spring of 2019. Prior to Grinnell, Vinny always held an interest in the subject of history and knew upon arrival that it would most likely be his major. In the fall of 2016, Vinny took “Native American History”, a 200 level course at the college with professor Albert Lacson. Professor Lacsons’ class would be extremely impactful in Vinny’s academic career at Grinnell, as his interest in bringing to light the true stories and narrative of Native American’s increased. After developing a great relationship with Professor Lacson in the following year, Vinny would go on to take both a seminar course as well as participate in a MAP with professor Lacson that both dealt with this concept of retelling or complicating the current history regarding Native American peoples. Outside of Vinny’s dedication to this project, he is a lover of basketball and participates in the famous “System” at Grinnell. When he is not on the court or in the classroom, Vinny enjoys refurbishing his collection of many leather bound books.


Xonzy Gaddis '22

Xonzy Gaddis '22 completed an ArcGIS map for the Native Histories Project, as well as aided in other additions to the site. Xonzy is graduating with a degree in Political Science and Latin American Studies. She hopes to continue her studies in graduate school, which the Native Histories Project has been vital to shaping her outlook on geospatial analyses. Additionally, Xonzy will be completing an internship with the US Embassy in Peru researching the effectiveness of current substance use programs in Lima.


Taylor Gaskins '20

Taylor will graduate as a double major in Spanish and English with a Secondary-School Teaching License in the English Language Arts. Taylor works as an office manager at the Grinnell College Writing lab and serves on the Student Educational Policy Committee. Her service activities reflect her goal to assist people in their paths to academic excellence. Her career aspiration is to become a teacher working, in particular, with students of color in urban areas. Taylor is interested in issues of racism, identity, and power in American history, literature, and education. She is a creative writer of poetry, short stories, and screenplays, and she also enjoys singing in choirs, playing sports (i.e. basketball, track, and ultimate frisbee), Tae Kwon Do, and dance.

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Amelia Johnson-Post '21

Amelia is currently a fourth year student at Grinnell and will be graduating from Grinnell in May 2021 with a B.A. in History and Spanish. In the Native History Project, she focused on the relationship between sacred land, U.S. Federal policy, and the Standing Rock #NoDAPL movement. In addition to being a team member of the Project, Amelia is a member of the Grinnell Swim and Dive Team, co-founder of the Synchronized Swimming Club, and avid lover of water-polo.

After Grinnell, Amelia will be pursuing licensure  in secondary school social studies and hopes to incorporate the Native History Project into her future classroom. 


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Ruth Isaac '17

Ruth Isaac graduated from Grinnell with a double major in Biological Chemistry and History. The Native History Project was a passion of hers because of the misrepresentation of Native American history found throughout textbooks and curricula in the United States, a topic she tackles in one of her lesson plans. More broadly, her unit plan focuses on the impact of code talkers in WWII and seeks to rework the master narrative that Native Americans disappeared after Westward Expansion. During her time on this project, Ruth also worked with the Grinnell Prison Program to collaborate and help lead instruction in a class on the Progressive Era at Newton Correctional Facility. She is currently in a teaching residency program, Urban Teachers, and hopes to implement the Native History lessons in her own classroom.

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Meredith Neid '24

Meredith worked on the Native History Project during her first and second years at Grinnell College and created a unit on the connection between modern, whitestream feminism in America to its ideological roots found in gender-equal Native societies. Meredith was drawn to the Native History Project because she is passionate about understanding and correcting the long-standing inequities in the American education system. Outside the Native History Project, Meredith is also involved with Ultimate Frisbee at Grinnell, and loves to read, bakes and spend time in the outdoors with her friends and family.


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Evelyn Nkooyooyoo '18

Evelyn recently graduated from Grinnell College where she studied French & Political Science. Her unit focused on Federal Indian Boarding Schools (FIBS) which were established on the values of civilization, assimilation, and individualism and had traumatic and long-lasting impacts on Native American nations across the U.S. Passionate about language learning and education policy, Evelyn thoroughly enjoyed gaining a new outlook on education with the Native Histories project. Previously interested in being a firetruck at age 5, she has settled with a position as a Senior Research Analyst at the Lewin Group.


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Ellen Scheider '17

Ellen Schneider finished Grinnell College in 2017 with a BA in History, a secondary teaching certificate, and deep enthusiasm for the less traditional ways that people access the past. She is especially partial to museums, art, monuments, and domestic material culture. Drawing on her experiences in museum education, Ellen created the Visualizing Expansion unit to establish visual literacy as a tool for accessing Native American history. She teaches high school English Learners and Social Studies in Cedar Rapids, and likes to take walks to look at old houses and bake bread.  


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Jherron Sutton '18

Jherron majored in Sociology at Grinnell College and was a proud member of DC Posse ’10. Jherron served the Grinnell Education Department in many ways, including as co-chair of the Student Educational Policy Committee and as a Writing Mentor. She gained additional teaching experience through Breakthrough Collaborative teaching 7th-grade Literature during an intensive six-week summer program in Pittsburgh, PA. Her interest in the Native Histories project stemmed from wanting to gain a deeper understanding of the interactions between Native Americans and Europeans at the time of first contact and beyond. Participation in this project sparked in Jherron a serious interest in curriculum development. Currently, Jherron is pursuing an M.S. in Education with a concentration in Educational Studies and earning both her secondary-school English Language Arts and Special Education teaching licenses through a teaching residency program known as Urban Teachers.


MJ Uzzi '23

MJ Uzzi ‘23 served as an editor for the Native History Project units during the 2022-23 school year, and she also spent time laying the groundwork for an eventual “glossary” feature that will bring together key terms across all the Native History Project units. MJ graduated in 2023 with a double major in Economics and Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies, in addition to a concentration in European Studies. Post-graduation, she is moving to New York City and working as a research associate for an economic consulting company before eventually going to graduate school for economics.  


Madison Wardlaw '20

Madison, graduating as a Chemistry major and involved in the Education licensure program. She is interested in the intersections of race and class and how these particular intersections affect a student’s access to education. While her coursework at Grinnell has been primarily STEM-related, Madison took a course during her first year on slavery in the “New World,” which detailed the enslavement of Africans and Native Americans. Due to her newfound interest in Native American slavery, she used her unit as an opportunity to further her knowledge. 


Hannah Wilkins '21

Hannah is currently a fourth-year student at Grinnell and will be graduating in May 2021 with a B.A. in Biological Chemistry and Spanish. She was drawn to the Native Histories Project because of its effort to incorporate Native American voices and cultures into classrooms where they are seldom acknowledged or celebrated. In her work on the Native Histories Project, Hannah has focused on why Native American history is often excluded from U.S. history standards and textbooks, examining the specific case of the Osage Nation and the injustice and exploitation that has characterized its relationship with the U.S. government.  

After Grinnell, Hannah will be pursuing her masters degree in education and hopes to teach high school chemistry in the future. 



Special Thanks 

Thanks to Carolyn Lewis and Liz Rodrigues for their support through the Vivero program. 

Thanks to ILiADS, and in particular Austin Mason, for help in building this platform.