Building More than an Economy: Histories of Choctaw-U.S. Laws, Land, and Development in Oklahoma


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




“Building More Than an Economy” is an ethnographic examination of the life of history and how it bears upon the contemporary political-economic life of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, their people, and the communities where they are embedded. Through a close examination of underutilized yet vast Choctaw-created archival materials, institutional histories for local archival repositories, and Choctaw historiography alongside ethnographic fieldwork on Choctaw economic development, “Building More Than an Economy” reveals the limits of American Indian economic development in the face of US and state laws informed by anthropological and historical scholarship that emphasize the decline of Indigenous sovereignty. It shows how settler historical production bears upon the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s economic development program, its ability to govern their own reservation lands, and how it produced the quotidian modes of land dispossession that individual Choctaw landowners experience today.