The 41-Volume Government Report That Turned Immigration into a Problem

In 1911, the Dillingham Commission set a half-century precedent for screening out ‘undesirable’ newcomers. The Dillingham Commission is today little known. But a century ago, it stood at the center of a transformation in immigration policy, exemplifying Americans’ simultaneous feelings of fascination and fear toward the millions of migrants who have made the United States[…]

A Route 66 Road Trip through Indigenous Homelands

Seeking out the histories and communities that existed before Route 66 and that survive still today. By Shoshi Parks The wind is so powerful on top of the mesa that even hours after I’ve returned to the valley below, I’ll be wiping its ancient sand from the cracks and crevices of my skin. In the[…]

Ulysses Grant Tried but Failed to Get Citizenship Rights for Native Americans

The president and his Seneca friend Ely Parker wanted Native Americans to gain citizenship, but their efforts are mostly lost to history. The man elected president in 1868—Ulysses S. Grant—was determined to change the way many of his fellow Americans understood citizenship. As he saw it, anyone could become an American, not just people like[…]

The Sierra-Texupan Codex: Three Cultural Traditions, Two Writing Systems, and One Shopping List

Europeans, speaking Spanish, Italian and French, had to communicate with indigenous peoples through Nahuatl, the lingua franca under the Aztecs. Once the dust settled after the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire in the year 1521, a new government system was established in Mesoamerica, the region spanning present-day Mexico and Central America. That was the[…]

The Mayan Civilization’s Mysterious Collapse: Human Skull Trophies and Regional Conflicts

Archaeologists interested in what the skull trophies may tell about a tumultuous time of shifting political power. Introduction Two trophy skulls, recently discovered by archaeologists in the jungles of Belize, may help shed light on the little-understood collapse of the once powerful Classic Maya civilization. The defleshed and painted human skulls, meant to be worn around[…]