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Indigenous Immigrants and Refugees in the North American Borderlands by Brenden W. Rensink, Texas A&M Press, 2018

About Native But Foreign



Native but ForeignIndigenous Immigrants and Refugees in the North American Borderlands, published in 2018 by Brenden W. Rensink as a part of Texas A&M Press’s “Connecting the Greater West” series, offers comparative analysis of indigenous peoples who crossed North American borders during the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Read in tandem, the narratives of Crees and Chippewas from Canada who crossed into Montana, and Yaquis from Mexico who crossed into Arizona offer compelling dialog about the differences between the U.S.-Canadian and U.S.-Mexican borders, how the United States viewed indigenous peoples from Canada and Mexico differently, and how these differentials influenced the respective experiences of Crees, Chippewas and Yaquis who persisted in the United States as “foreign” Indians. This book examines both narratives in order to reveal their distinct struggles to secure stable and legal settlement in the United States. Bringing disparate historiographies into dialog, their comparative analysis reveals new understandings of the North American borderlands, indigenous experiences and transnational histories. Native but Foreign is the winner of the 2019 Spur Award for Best Historical Nonfiction Book from the Western Writers of America.

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The author, Brenden W. Rensink is Associate Director of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies and Professor of History at Brigham Young University. He earned his Ph.D. in History from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and a historian and editor for the Joseph Smith Papers before moving to BYU. He is the author of a number of articles and book chapters on Indigenous peoples in the North America Borderlands, Comparative Genocide Studies, and the North American West. Digital copies of many of these can be downloaded at He is the co-author of an Historical Dictionary of the American Frontierpublished in 2015 by Rowman and Littlefield, and co-editor of Documents Volume 4 and Volume 6 of the Joseph Smith Papers, published in 2016 and 2017, and co-editor of a forthcoming anthology on University of Utah Press on Mormons and Indians. He is also the Project Manager and General Editor of the Intermountain Histories digital public history website and mobile app project, and the Host and Producer of the Writing Westward Podcast.

Native but Foreign: Indigenous Immigrants and Refugees in the North American BorderlandsConnecting the Great West Series. College Station: Texas A&M Press, 2018.