The Case for a Native American 1968 and Its Transnational Legacy

György Tóth


Partly as a result of compartmentalized academic specializations and history teaching, in accounts of the global upheavals of 1968, Native Americans are either not mentioned, or at best are tagged on as an afterthought. “Was there a Native American 1968?” is the central question this article aims to answer. Native American activism in the 1960s was no less flashy, dramatic or confrontational than the protests by the era’s other struggles – it is simply overshadowed by later actions of the movement. Using approaches from Transnational American Studies and the history of social movements, this article argues that American Indians had a “long 1968” that originated in Native America’s responses to the US government’s Termination policy in the 1950s, and stretched from their ‘training’ period in the 1960s, through their dramatic protests from the late 1960s through the 1970s, all the way to their participation at the United Nations from 1977 through the rest of the Cold War. While their radicalism and protest strategies made Native American activism a part of the US domestic social movements of the long 1960s, the nature of American Indian sovereignty rights and transnationalism place the Native American long 1968 on the rights spectrum further away from civil rights, and closer to a national liberation struggle—which links American Indian activism to the decolonization movements of the Cold War.


1968; Native Americans; sovereignty; social movements; transnationalism; decolonization

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Published : 2019-12-23

TóthG. (2019). The Case for a Native American 1968 and Its Transnational Legacy. Review of International American Studies, 12(2), 49-70.

György Tóth
University of Stirling  United Kingdom

György “George” Tóth holds degrees in English Language and Literature and American Studies from Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary (M.A.) and The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA (Ph.D.). In his academic specializations, György combines U.S. cultural and social history with Transnational American Studies, Performance Studies and Memory Studies to yield interdisciplinary insights into the politics of U.S. social and cultural movements in post-1945 Europe. Since 2015 György has been serving as Lecturer in post-1945 U.S. History and Transatlantic Relations at the Division of History and Politics of the University of Stirling, Scotland, UK. His book titled From Wounded Knee to Checkpoint Charlie: The Alliance for Sovereignty between American Indians and Central Europeans in the Late Cold War was published by SUNY Press in 2016, and he is co-author of Memory in Transatlantic Relations from the Cold War to the Global War on Terror, published by Routledge in 2019.

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