Finding Common Ground
WHEN: Thursday, February 15, 2018
3:00 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
WHERE: Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
Rasmuson Theater

The National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of the American Indian are two national museums reframing our views of American history as more multifaceted than previously depicted. As such, how do we talk about the intersections of various peoples, the shared histories? This program, moderated by Michel Martin, weekend host of NPR’s All Things Considered, will focus on the complex, sometimes fraught, history of African Americans and Native Americans, and how these intertwined stories have become an essential part of our American identity. Speakers will explore how African Americans and Native peoples have energized each other’s movements both historically and in contemporary times. Collective actions have been shaped by cooperation, conflict, accommodation, oppression, and resistance. “Finding common ground” is not always easy but it is a vital necessity in the realization of American democracy. Distinguished speakers include Lonnie Bunch, Kevin Gover (Pawnee), Tara Houska (Couchiching First Nation), Tiya Miles, and Paul Chaat Smith (Comanche). Cosponsored with the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The First and the Forced: Tracing Historical Overlaps in Native and Black America
Tiya Miles’ presentation offers an overview of key moments of overlap in Native American and African American histories. As “the first and the forced” Americans, indigenous and African-descended people have time-traveled together, contending with forces of radical change, suffering  traumas of displacement and violence, and shaping short- and long-term survival strategies. Their histories have touched in significant ways that colored their group and individual experiences, impacted the development of the United States as a nation, and continue to influence contemporary life experiences.

This talk will explore two key moments in this history of red and black overlap: slavery (the enslavement of Native people by Euro-Americans and the enslavement of black people by Euro-Americans as well as Native Americans) and schooling (the use of education to “civilize” Indians and “uplift” blacks). Exploring these key moments will serve as a means of explicating the argument that Native Americans and African Americans mattered to one another—for better and for worse. And in addition, the intersectional nature of these groups’ position in American history mattered to the origins, growth, and staying power of the United States—the very nation that authorized their subjugation as racialized populations. At the center of the talk is the question: what is at stake when marginalized peoples come into contact with one another, often forming relational ties across generations in the compromising context of pain and loss?

Learn more about this event.

The Dawn of Detroit: Upcoming Book Readings, Talks & Signings


This event has been postponed due to weather.
WHEN: February 09, 2018
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Ballroom, Student Union, McNichols Campus

Tiya Miles will discuss and sign her latest book, The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straights, which recovers the city’s early complicity in slavery.  It has recently been highlighted in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the New York Times and other national publications. More information about the event here.

past events

In February

On February 3rd, Tiya Miles participated in the Leon Jett Memorial Lecture: Native Americans and African Americans in Early Detroit: Enslavement and Resistance.


Dr. Tiya Miles, a celebrated historian, gave a paradigm-shifting talk about her research on Native American and African American slavery in the heart of the Midwest’s iconic city: Detroit. A book signing of her newly released book, The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits, will follow.

In January

Aminah and Phoenix, pictured here with Tiya, attended the event with their mom

Meet the Author
Folks had an opportunity to meet Tiya Miles, Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Detroit Public Library Main Branch, where Miles discussed the book and joined a panel moderated by local historian and author Kimberly Simmons. Simmons is the executive director of the Detroit River Project, which aims to educate people about the river’s history and is lobbying for recognition for the river as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Tiya speaking at a talk at the Detroit Public Library

In December

Tiya Miles

On December 8th, in collaboration with the Detroit School, the Clements Library celebrated the release of The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits, by Tiya Miles. Miles, a MacArthur Foundation Fellow and Professor of American Culture, Afro-American and African Studies, History, Women’s Studies, and NativeAmerican Studies.

In October

Tiya Miles participated in a facilitated dinnertime discussion titled Detroit Dialogue: Our Hidden History to explore how and why historical sites or memorials come into being, and which perspectives are omitted from mainstream historical records.

Tiya celebrated the launch of her new book, The Dawn of Detroit, at two independent local book stores in Michigan: Source Booksellers in Detroit and Literati in Ann Arbor. View photos of Tiya at the book launch at Source Booksellers with Janet Jones, store owner; and Stephen Ward, Professor of Afroamerican & African Studies and Director of Semester in Detroit, University of Michigan in the slideshow below.

Tiya Miles at Source in Detroit, MI
for the book launch of The Dawn of Detroit with Janet Jones & Stephen Ward.
TIya Miles at Source in Detroit, MI
for the book launch of The Dawn of Detoit
Tiya Miles at Source in Detroit, MI
for the book launch of The Dawn of Detroit
Tiya Miles signs books at the book launch of The Dawn of Detroit at Source in Detroit, MI

Tiya’s latest book, The Dawn of Detroit, is available for purchase at Source Booksellers, Literati, and independent book stores near you.

Source Booksellers logoSOURCE BOOKSELLERS

Detroit, Michigan


Ann Arbor, Michigan

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