Call for Submissions – 2nd Railroads in Native America Gathering and Symposium

Call for Submissions Deadline: January 15, 2022

Event Location: Ogden Union Station (2501 Wall Street, Ogden, UT)

Date: May 19-21, 2022

About the Railroads in Native America Gathering and Symposium

Bringing together Native and non-Native scholars, students, artists, musicians, tribal citizens, tribal government representatives, and the general public, this 2nd gathering and symposium invite 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.

The First “Railroad in Native America” Symposium

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 Americans, 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 January 15, 2022.

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 to this gathering, or sponsor presenters or attendees, please contact Brad Westwood ( 

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 of railroad expansion among Indigenous communities, world-views, lifeways, and ecosystems? 

Program Subcommittee Members:

  • Dr. Alessandra La Rocca Link (chair), historian, Indiana University-Southeast, Louisville, Kentucky
  • Dr. Farina King (Diné, co-chair), Assistant Professor of History, Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, Oklahoma
  • Dr. Andrew Curley (Diné), School of Geography, University of Arizona (Tucson, Arizona)
  • Patricia LaBounty, Curator, Union Pacific Railroad Museum (Council Bluff, Iowa)
  • Jenna Adams-Valadez, Continuous Improvement Analyst, History MA (Southern Methodist University), Omaha, NE