Seeking Panelists for the 58th Annual Western History Association Conference, October 17-20, 2018: San Antonio, Texas

Baligh Ben Taleb's picture

I am putting together a panel proposal entitled “Quest for Historical Justice in American Western History” for the 58th Annual Western History Association Conference, October 17-20, 2018: San Antonio, Texas. Here is a brief description:  

Reckoning with the legacy of colonialism in the context of settler states is a painstaking and mighty task. Understanding and investigating this task has become, nevertheless, one of the most vibrant and innovative areas of historical enquiry and academic scrutiny. As one reads through the wide-ranging discussions on transitional justice, retribution, restitution, and the burgeoning scholarship on truth and reconciliation, it is striking to witness the relative absence of scholarship on efforts of restorative justice in American western history. To explore this theme, this panel seeks to uncover instances of restorative justice and efforts of reparation in the American West in respect to Native Americans.

One paper looks at the Indian Claims Commission (ICC) that operated between August 1946 and September 1978 and its impacts on curtailing the legal battles of the Western Shoshone bands of the Great Basin. The Western Shoshone people have been divided about the Indian Claims Commission from its inception. In 1951, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) convinced one portion of the Western Shoshone people, the Te-Moak Tribe, to file a claim against the federal government for land loss.[1] Without the knowledge or consent of traditional Western Shoshone, including tribal leaders Corbin Harvey, Clifford Dann, and the sisters Mary and Carrie Dann, the ICC determined that the Western Shoshone lost title to approximately 24,420,000 acres of their ancestral lands due to substantial settlers’ encroachment.[2] Since then, the Western Shoshone have navigated various legal channels to assert their aboriginal land rights and seek justice for a land they never forfeited. From court districts and Supreme Court to the United Nations and beyond, the Western Shoshone land claims case lies at the heart of indigenous constant battle toward dignity and historical reparation.[3]  


If you are interested in proposing a paper as part of this panel pertaining to Indigenous efforts and quest for justice in American western history, please email me an abstract and a brief curriculum vitae at by November 25, 2017.

You could read more details about the 2018 WHA Conference in San Antonio here: Looking forward—thank you.


Kindest regards and best wishes,

Baligh Ben Taleb

PhD Candidate in history

University of Nebraska-Lincoln


[1] Schaaf, Deborah and Julie Fishel, Mary and Carrie Dann v. United States at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights: Victory for Indian Land Rights and the Environment, 16 Tul. Envtl. L.J. 175 (2002), 178.

[2] The Western Shoshone Identifiable Group of Indians, et al. v. United States of America, Indian Claims Commission, Docket No. 326 (October 16, 1962).

[3] On indigenous dignity, Carrie Dann addressed the BLM agent when they came in to raid their ranch in September 2003, “I demand that you, your superiors, and whoever it is, to show us documentation of Western Shoshone land transferred to the United States of America. When you do that, then you have the authority to block us.” Oxfam America. Our Land, Our Life: The Struggle for Western Shoshone Land Rights (Videorecording), Hannon Library, Southern Oregon University, 2016.