Jean M O'Brien

Photo of Jean M O'Brien

Contact Me

Department of History
1014 Heller Hall
271 19th Ave S

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: History, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 1990.


  • Native American and Indigenous Studies
  • Settler Colonialism
  • State and Federal Recognition
  • U.S. colonial history
Courses Taught
  • HIST 1903: Memory, Commemoration, and Monuments in the U.S.
  • HIST 3001: Public History
  • HIST/AMIN 3872: American Indian History, 1830-Present
  • HIST/AMIN 5890: Readings in American Indian and Indigenous Studies
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Northrop Professor: 2019
  • Co-founder and past president, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association:
  • Editorial Collective: Reviews in American History , 2019
  • Cobell Education Scholarship Fund Board of Trustees: Appointed by the Secretary of the Interior , 2014
  • Critical Indigeneities: Book series co-editor , 2014
  • Native Americans of the Northeast: Book series co-editor, University of Massachusetts Press , 2007
  • American Studies Association Annual Meeting: Program Co-Chair , 2015 - 2016
  • American Studies Association annual meeting: Program committee member , 2014 - 2016
  • Native American and Indigenous Studies: Journal, founding co-editor, Minnesota Press , 2013
  • President, American Society for Ethnohistory: 2012 - 2013
  • American Historical Association: Program Committee member , 2011 - 2012
  • Advisory Board: Five-part series on American Indian history, "We Shall Remain," PBS American Experience , 2005 - 2008
  • National Council: American Studies Association , 2003 - 2006


  • Co-edited volume: Allotment Stories: Narrating Indigenous Land Relations Under Settler Siege
  • Book project: Memory and Mobility: Grandma’s Mahnomen, White Earth
  • Public History Project: • Climates of Inequality: Stories of Environmental Justice, Humanities Action Lab
  • Monumental Mobility: The Memory Work of Massasoit. O'Brien, Jean, Lisa Blee, University of North Carolina Press, Co-Author, 2019.
  • Sources and Methods in Indigenous Studies. O'Brien, Jean, Chris Andersen, Routledge, Co-Editor, 2017.
  • Why You Can't Teach U.S. History without Indians. O'Brien, Jean, University of North Carolina Press, Co-Editor, 2015.
  • Recognition, Sovereignty Struggles and Indigenous Rights in the United States: A Sourcebook. O'Brien, Jean, University of North Carolina Press, Co-Editor, April 2013.
  • Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians Out of Existence in New England. O'Brien, Jean, University of Minnesota Press, Author, 2010.
  • Dispossession by Degrees: Indian Land and Identity in Natick, Massachusetts, 1650-1790. O'Brien, Jean, Cambridge University Press, 1997.
  • Building a Professional Infrastructure for Critical Indigenous Studies: A History and Prospectus for the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association: O'Brien, Jean, Critical Indigenous Studies in the First World, 2015.
  • What is a Monument to Massasoit Doing in Kansas City? The Memory Work of Monuments and Place in Public Displays of History: O'Brien, Jean, Ethnohistory, 61 635-53, 2014.
  • Recognition and Rebuilding: O'Brien, Jean, Routledge, The World of the Indigenous Americas, 2014.
  • "'Vanishing' Indians in Nineteenth-Century New England: Local Historians' Erasure of Still-Present Indian People". O'Brien, Jean, Sergei Kan and Pauline Turner Stong, eds., New Perspectives on Native North America, 2006.
  • "'Our old and valuable liberty': A Natick Indian Petition in Defense of their Fishing Rights, 1748". O'Brien, Jean, Kristina Bross and Hilary Wyss, eds., Early Native Literacies in New England: A Documentary and Critical Anthology, Author, 2008.
  • "Why Here? Scholarly Locations for American Indian Studies". O'Brien, Jean, American Quarterly, 2003.
  • Divorced from the Land: Accommodation Strategies of Indian Women in 18th Century New England. O'Brien, Jean, 1996.
  • Memory and Mobility: Grandma's Mahnomen, White Earth: O'Brien, Jean, Ethnohistory, 64 345-77, 2017.
  • Tracing Settler Colonialism's Eliminatory Logic in Patrick Wolfe's Traces of History: Elementary Structures of Race: O'Brien, Jean, American Quarterly, 69 249-55, 2017.
  • College of Liberal Arts Dean's Medal, University of Minnesota, 2018
  • Board of Trustees, Newberry Library, 2018-
  • Elected Member, Society of American Historians, 2016
  • McKnight Distinguished University Professor, 2015
  • Best New Journal Award, Council of Editors of Learned Journals, for Native American and Indigenous Studies, 2016
  • American Indian History, Lifetime Achievement Award, Western History Association, 2014
  • Sara Evans Faculty Woman Scholar/Leader Award in the Humanities, Arts, and Sciences, 2014
  • University of Minnesota Imagine Fund Award, 2014
  • Best Subsequent Book in Native American and Indigenous Studies, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association for Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians Out of Existence in New England (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010). Awarded June 2012
  • Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education, 2006
  • Member, Academy of Distinguished Teachers, University of Minnesota, 2006
  • Member, American Antiquarian Society, 2000
  • American Association of University Women's Recognition Award for Emerging Scholars, 1996
  • McKnight Land Grant Professorship, 1992