Unsettling Genealogies Conference

A Forum on Pseudo Indians, Race-Shifting, Pretendians, and Self-Indigenization in Media, Arts, Politics and the Academy

In Spring, 2022, the Leslie Endowed Chair put together an international conference on American Indian Literature, Arts and Social Justice, addressing the social injustice of race-shifting, “pretendians,” and other forms of Indigenous identity appropriation. The Leslie Chair’s Conference is dedicated to writing, research, scholarly inquiry and public conversation on important issues of social justice and the ways those issues inform, intersect and impact the lives of American Indian people and our creative, literary, artistic work. While the initial conference will be held virtually at Michigan State University, the organizers for the conference are committed to extending the written spirit of the MSU land acknowledgement by holding the conference in tribal communities on tribal land, in coming years.

The conference was a success, drawing over 950 registrants from all over the United States and abroad. While many attendees expressed gratitude and enthusiasm, conference organizers and presenters did experience backlash and criticism on social media platforms; this led to some changes in the program as some presenters no longer felt safe to speak. Here is the original conference flyer and conference program that does not reflect all of the small changes made in light of this.

Get Involved:

If you would like to receive emails about future events and possible collective action petitions regarding the issues we have addressed at the conference, please click below and we will add you to our list. We will send a list of people and organizations who are working on issues of identity fraud, race-shifting and pretendians, in various sites and sectors of public discourse, community action and artistic production.