Margaret Jacobs is the Director of the Center for Great Plains Studies and the Chancellor's Professor of History at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She held a Carnegie Corporation of New York fellowship from 2018-2020 and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019. In 2015-16 she served as the Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at Cambridge University. Her research and teaching focuses on women, gender, indigenous peoples, and colonialism in the American West and other settler colonial contexts. She has published over a dozen articles and two award-winning books, Engendered Encounters: Feminism and Pueblo Cultures, 1879-1934 (1999) and White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism, and the Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880-1940 (2009), which won the Bancroft Prize. Most recently, she is the author of A Generation Removed: The Fostering and Adoption of Indigenous Children in the Postwar World (2014), which examines why indigenous children came to be over-represented in the child welfare systems of the United States, Australia, and Canada, and how indigenous women activists mobilized to confront this crisis. She has launched a new digital history project on the Genoa Indian Boarding School in Genoa, Nebraska and cofounded a new multimedia project called Reconciliation Rising. She is also writing a new book about history, truth, and reconciliation in relation to indigenous peoples in Australia, Canada, and the United States.
In the late nineteenth century, the U.S. government and Australian state administrations adopted a new strategy for managing their Indigenous populations: removing Indigenous children and sending them to schools and other institutions. White women became key figures in carrying out these policies. Officials touted their efforts as a compassionate departure from the violence of the past, but they often used brute force to remove children, and their policies still served the settler colonial aim of eliminating Indigenous people.