Michael J. Witgen

Portrait of Michael J. Witgen

Michael Witgen is a professor in the Department of History and the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University, and he is a citizen of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. His publications include Seeing Red: Indigenous Land, American Expansion, and the Political Economy of Plunder in North America (2021), An Infinity of Nations: How the Native New World Shaped Early North America (2012), and “American Indians in World History,” in the Oxford Handbook of American Indian History, ed., Fred Hoxie, (2016). His current research examines the intersection of race, national identity, and state making in the Old Northwest of the early republic, and includes the essay “Seeing Red: Race, Citizenship, and Indigeneity in the Old Northwest,” published in Journal of the Early Republic in 2018, and awarded the Ralph D. Gray prize for best original article by the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.

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OAH Lectures

The U.S. expanded into the Northwest Territory not by removing Indigenous Nations, but by incorporating them into the republic as colonized subjects through a coercive treaty process that transferred their land and wealth to the American state and its settler citizens.