Call for Submissions--2nd Railroads in Native America Gathering and Symposium, Deadline December 15, 2021

John Winters's picture
May 20, 2022 to May 21, 2022
Utah, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Canadian History / Studies, Indigenous Studies, Native American History / Studies

Call for Submissions – 2nd Railroads in Native America Gathering and Symposium
Release Date: June 24, 2021

Call for Submissions deadline: December 15, 2021
Event Location: Ogden Union Station (2501 Wall St. Ogden, UT)
Date: May 20-21st, 2022

Ogden / Promontory Summit / Salt Lake City – Bringing together Native and non-Native scholars, students, artists, musicians, tribal citizens, tribal government representatives and the general public, this 2nd gathering and symposium invites conversation about the fraught and dynamic relationships between Native peoples and railroads. The program committee encourages submissions across a wide range of mediums and diverse formats including: roundtable presentations, research paper sessions, oral histories and storytelling, dance, artwork, multimedia offerings including film, and small poster exhibits.

Designed to be inclusive, intergovernmental and interdisciplinary, the symposium is hosted by the Utah Division of Indian Affairs in cooperation with the Intermountain tribal nations of the Goshute, Paiute, Dine ́, Shoshone, and Ute peoples. The gathering’s geographical reach includes the United States and Canada.

The first “Railroads in Native America'' Symposium (Omaha, NE: Sept. 12-15, 2019) was prompted by the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad. This inaugural event was hosted by the National Park Service, Lewis and Clark Historic Trail, the Union Pacific Museum (Council Bluffs, IA), the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and citizens of numerous Federally Recognized Sovereign Tribal Nations. These nations include (as self described): Campo Kumeyaay Nation, Cochiti / Kiowa, Pomo / Paiute, Minnicoujou Lakota, Rosebud Sioux, Navajo Nation, Pueblo of Laguna, Hidatsa, Sièáŋǧu Lakota, Umonhon / Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Shawnee, and Potawatomi. The symposium was considered such a success that attendees suggested a second symposium be offered elsewhere in the country.

Please join us for this second conversation and gathering. We are actively seeking proposals from artists, musicians, scholars, curators, librarians, archivists, undergraduate and graduate students, tribal community members, and the general public, who would like to participate in this wide-ranging conversation concerning the interactions of railroads with Native America, across the United States and Canada, from the 1830s to the present.

We seek submission from the public, from all interested parties whether academic or not, including those who wish to present on Native experiences and knowledge. Perspectives from the general public; tribal programs and offices; or students and faculty members, past and present, from tribal colleges or universities (TCUs); or from American Indian/Native American and Indigenous Studies, Ethnic Studies, Public History, or archeological and filmmaking programs, are all wanted. New and innovative ways to look at the intersection of railroads and Native America are encouraged.

To take part in this event, submit: (1) a short proposal (up to 400 words) describing how you wish to participate; (2) indicate if you will need any special equipment or set up, including whether you will require audio and visual for a presentation; (3) if any of the five stated topics below match your submission, please mention this; and (d) Include a C.V., resume, a description, or portfolio of previous work.

Please e-mail your submission to by December 15, 2021.

This submission deadline has been offered so presenters involved with organizations, colleges and universities, and governmental offices may have the time to seek and apply for grants and travel stipends. The organizers of the Railroads in Native America (RNA) Gathering and Symposium will attempt to offer various size scholarships to as many RNA presenters as possible. If you, or an organization you represent, wish to offer general financial assistance for this gathering, or for presenters
or attendees, please contact Brad Westwood (see above contact list).

We plan to record some of the sessions for educational resources to be archived with our university partners. We will ask participants and attendees for their permission and consent to be recorded, and we will also respect and accommodate participants who prefer not to be recorded.

If you have questions concerning the submission guidelines, or to answer any other questions concerning this gathering and symposium, please reach out to any of the above contacts. Guiding questions for conversation, scholarship, art, and performance include:

How or why did Native communities resist and/or participate in railroad expansion (1860s to the present)?
In what ways have Native peoples—past and present—used the mobility, marketplace access, or employment provided by railroads to survive or to protect kin and community?
How did railroads, their corporate backers, and the government contribute to the dispossession of Indigenous peoples?
How have Indigenous homelands and cultures evolved in response to railroad expansion?
What are the lasting impacts from railroad expansion among Indigenous communities, worldviews, lifeways, and ecosystems?

Current list of partners and financial supporters (besides those listed above): National Park Service, Golden Spike National Historical Park, CONAH (Union Pacific Council of Native American Heritage), Union Pacific Railroad, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University, Harold B. Lee Library at BYU, Union Pacific Railroad Museum (Council Bluff, Iowa), American Indian Resource Center (AIRC) at the University of Utah, Utah Department of Cultural & Community Engagement, and National Park Service, Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

Contact Info: 

James Toledo / Utah Division of Indian Affairs /
Dr. Alessandra La Rocca Link /
Brad Westwood / / 801.367.6324