Black examines the motivations of territory and the intersections of representation and violence. As a citizen of Cherokee Nation, Black developed a lifelong interest in studying Native identity and struggle and in advocating for protecting Native people from violence and exploitation. Recently, Black was featured in Perspectives on History discussing the recent surge of Native-centered television representation in Rutherford Falls and Reservation Dogs. Her work has appeared in more than 20 academic and non-academic outlets.
Black’s research -- and interest in reaching a public audience -- has helped her audiences understand how diverse events such as representation, labor, land dispossession, and gendered violence relate to the likelihood of danger and ongoing vanquishment of Native peoples. Black employs the disciplines of history, Native American studies, film studies, and gender studies to creatively combine traditional archives, oral history, storytelling, and tribal histories.
She joined the IU Bloomington Department of History in 2019. She has received fellowships from UCLA, the Ford Foundation, and Cherokee Nation. Her current project, How to Get Away with Murder, is a transnational history of missing and murdered Indigenous women (with reader reports in late 2021). Dr. Black has given over 30 talks at universities, conferences, podcasts, churches, public libraries, and news stations on missing and murdered Indigenous women since she began the project in 2019. Her first book, Picturing Indians: Native Americans in Film, 1941-1960, came out in 2020.