Keywords: U.S. settler colonialism; logic of elimination; American Indians; historical erasure; New England.
This conversation originated in a radio interview of Jean O'Brien conducted by J. Kēhaulani Kauanui on her public affairs show, «Indigenous Politics: From Native New England and Beyond» from September 21, 2010. The article is an expanded version of that interview, updated to reflect our ongoing dialogue. Kauanui invites O'Brien to lay out the central features of her newest book, Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians Out of Existence in New England, which is a history of settler colonial processes central to the formation of the United States. O'Brien explains how 'writing Indians out of existence' bolstered their settler project of claiming nativity for themselves and their attempts to re- place Native people on their land. The dialogue also explores the contemporary implications of this historical formation. Finally, O'Brien also discusses two current projects - one regarding her forthcoming book on historical images of American Indians in children's literature, and a contemporary co-edited volume of essays on federal recognition struggles among tribal nations in the United States. The conversation concludes with a brief discus- sion of the current state of Native American and its relation to Indigenous Studies.