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Katrina Phillips

Associate Professor

Old Main 301

Katrina Phillips is an Associate Professor of History with a focus on Native history and the history of the American West. Born and raised in northern Wisconsin, Professor Phillips is a proud citizen of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe. She earned a BA and PhD in History from the University of Minnesota and spent two years on campus as a Consortium for Faculty Diversity fellow before joining the ranks of the Macalester faculty in 2016.

In her first book, Staging Indigeneity: Salvage Tourism and Performances of Native American History (which won the Theatre Library Association Book Awards 2021 George Freedley Memorial Award for an exemplary work in the field of live performance), Professor Phillips centers what she calls “salvage tourism,” a phenomenon that draws from both salvage anthropology and heritage tourism in order to understand the ways in which communities across the United States have capitalized on the histories of Native nations in the creation of tourism enterprises.

Her current book project, “the land is the only thing”: Activism, Environmentalism, and Tourism in Northern Wisconsin, focuses on approximately a century’s-worth of Red Cliff history, from the Apostle Islands Indian Pageant of the 1920s and the battle over the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore to the creation of the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, Native American Tourism of Wisconsin, and Frog Bay Tribal National Park.

In addition to her academic work, Professor Phillips is also a public historian. Her work has appeared in the “Made By History” section of the Washington Post; she’s appeared on Native America Calling, NPR’s 1A, and Indigeneity Rising; and she’s been quoted in The New York Times, the Associated Press, and Indian Country Today

She’s written several children’s books, including Indigenous Peoples: Super SHEroes of History (Women Who Made a Difference), Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and The Disastrous Wrangel Island Expedition. She’s also served as a historical and cultural consultant for books like Unstoppable: How Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team Defeated Army and The Journey of York: The Unsung Hero of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In addition to her work with children’s books, she revised the “Indigenous People’s History” module for Capstone’s PebbleGo Next in 2023.

At Macalester, Professor Phillips’s annual courses include Native History to 1871, Native History since 1871, and Imagining the American West. She’s also taught courses such as Native Minnesota, Native American Activism, and Native Americans in Popular Culture.

Selected Publications and Appearances

  • “When Grandma went to Washington: Ojibwe Activism and the Battle Over the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore” (Native American and Indigenous Studies, Vol. 8, No. 2, Fall 2021).
  • “Longtime police brutality drove American Indians to join the George Floyd protests,” Washington Post, “Made By History.”
  • “It’s time to remember the forgotten Americans who helped elect Joe Biden,” Washington Post, Made By History.”
  • “Why Indigenous Place Names Matter,” Belt Magazine.
  •  “‘Where The Waters Reflect The Clouds’: Examining Minnesota’s Indigenous History,” The Metropole.
  •  “‘Where Two Waters Come Together’: The Confluence of Black and Indigenous History at Bdote,” O Say Can You See? Stories from the Museum, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History.
  • “9 Women From American History You Should Know, According to Historians,” TIME.
  • “Histories of Indigenous Sovereignty in Action: What is it and Why Does it Matter?” with Christine DeLucia, Doug Kiel, and Kiara M. Vigil, The American Historian, Organization of American Historians.
  • “Forging a new Oregon Trail,” History Respawned.
  • “Treaty Rights of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe,” Unsung History.
  •  “You’re Dead To Me: Sacagawea,” BBC.