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Ned Blackhawk on how Native peoples have shaped U.S. history

Two people stand in front of the Supreme Court building. They are holding a banner between them that says "EVERY CHILD MATTERS." The banner is orange and has a drawing of two feathers tied together and pointed down on it.
Mariam Zuhaib
Demonstrators stand outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, as the court hears arguments over the Indian Child Welfare Act on Nov. 9, 2022, in Washington. The Supreme Court has preserved the system that gives preference to Native American families in foster care and adoption proceedings of Native children. The court left in place the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act, which was enacted to address concerns that Native children were being separated from their families and, too frequently, placed in non-Native homes.

This hour, we are exploring the central role that Native peoples have played in the development of the United States, while facing legal discrimination that goes all the way back to the country's founding documents. Professor of Law Matthew L.M. Fletcher gives us the context around the Supreme Court's recent ruling on the Indian Child Welfare Act. And Ned Blackhawk discusses his new book, 'The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History', which tells the history of the United States, emphasizing how Native Americans have been essential to determining that history.


  • Matthew L.M. Fletcher: the Harry Burns Hutchins Collegiate Professor of Law and Professor of American Culture at the University of Michigan and a citizen of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. He is appointed to the appellate court of several tribes
  • Ned Blackhawk: Professor of History and American Studies at Yale. His most recent book is 'The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History'

Special thanks to our interns Carol Chen and Stacey Addo.

Disrupted is available as a podcast on Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, Listen Notes, or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe and never miss an episode.

Kevin Chang Barnum is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio’s weekly show Disrupted. Kevin grew up in Connecticut and started his radio work at his graduate university’s radio station, KUCI. He has also worked for HRN, a network of food and beverage podcasts.
Wayne Edwards is a freelance producer at Connecticut Public contributing to multi-platform productions, including ‘Disrupted’, ‘Where Art Thou?’, and ‘Cutline in the Community’.

Dr. Khalilah L. Brown-Dean is an award-winning scholar at Wesleyan University, author, and host of 'Disrupted' on Connecticut Public.
Meg Dalton is the director of audio storytelling and talk shows for Connecticut Public where she oversees the station’s talk shows and podcasts, including the limited series 'In Absentia'.
Catie Talarski is Senior Director of Storytelling and Radio Programming at Connecticut Public.