Alyssa Mt. Pleasant is a Haudenosaunee scholar – she is Tuscarora on her father’s side and grew up in Syracuse, New York. An Assistant Professor in the Department of Africana and American Studies at the University at Buffalo, Mt. Pleasant’s research focuses on Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) history during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This includes Indigenous social and intellectual histories; settler colonialism, especially as it relates to legal and educational systems; and conceptualizations of space, place and land tenure.
Mt. Pleasant’s manuscript, After the Whirlwind: Haudenosaunee People and the Emergence of US Settler Colonialism, 1780-1825, is a study of the Buffalo Creek reservation focusing on the community’s history between the Revolutionary War and the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. Buffalo Creek was a site of recovery and resistance where Haudenosaunee people debated rapidly changing circumstances and developed strategies that enabled persistence in the face of settler colonialism.
In addition to her single-authored work, Mt. Pleasant works collaboratively with historians and scholars of Native American and Indigenous Studies. With Lumbee historian Malinda Maynor Lowery and Stephen Kantrowitz, she is a co-convenor and co-editor of the collection Campuses and Colonialism, a project focused on higher education and Indigenous peoples. Mt. Pleasant also co-edited a special issue on “Materials and Methods in Native American and Indigenous Studies” published jointly by the William and Mary Quarterly and Early American Literature in 2018. Three articles in this special issue, including the introduction Mt. Pleasant co-authored with Caroline Wigginton and Kelly Wisecup, received prestigious awards from scholarly organizations.
Mt. Pleasant is a council member of the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture, which supports scholars and scholarship focused on the expansive field of early American history. This is a field of professional history where there are very few Indigenous scholars. Previously, Mt. Pleasant served as founding Program Director of the Native American Scholars Initiative at the American Philosophical Society from 2017-2020, where she promoted research in the collections by Indigenous undergraduate students, and Indigenous campus and community-based scholars through fellowships, internships, and workshops. For more information about the collections, see https://indigenousguide.amphilsoc.org
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Select Recent Publications:
Mt. Pleasant, Alyssa and Stephen Kantrowitz, “Campuses, Colonialism and Land Grabs before Morrill,” Native American and Indigenous Studies 8:1 (2021): 151-156
Mt. Pleasant, Alyssa, Caroline Wigginton, and Kelly Wisecup. “Materials and Methods in Native American and Indigenous Studies: Completing the Turn.” William and Mary Quarterly 75 no.2 (2018): 207-236.
Mt. Pleasant, Alyssa. “Independence for Whom? Expansion and Conflict in the Northeast and Northwest.” In The World of the Revolutionary American Republic: Land, Labor, and the Conflict for a Continent, ed. Andrew Shankman. New York: Routledge, 2017.
Mt. Pleasant, Alyssa. “Salt, Sand, & Sweetgrass: Methodologies for Exploring the Seasonal Basket Trade in Southern Maine.” American Indian Quarterly 38, no. 4 (2014): 411-426.
Mt. Pleasant, Alyssa. “Guiding Principles: Guswenta and the Debate over Formal Schooling at Buffalo Creek, 1800–1811.” In Indian Subjects: Hemispheric Perspectives on the History of Indigenous Education, ed. Brenda Child and Brian Klopotek. Santa Fe: SAR Press, 2014.