Liza Black

Assistant Professor, Department of History

Assistant Professor, Native American and Indigenous Studies

Visiting Scholar, UCLA, Institute of American Cultures and American Indian Studies Center

IU; IU Bloomington

Full Biography

Author Website

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. Her first book, Picturing Indians: Native Americans in Film, 1941-1960, came out in 2020.

Honors and Awards

  • Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, 2022
  • Presidential Arts & Humanities Grant at Indiana University
  • 2021 Institute for Advanced Study at Indiana University Individual Research Award
  • 2021 UCLA, Visiting Scholar, Institute for American Culture and American Indian Studies Center
  • 2021 Trustee's Teaching Award


  • Ph.D., History, University of Washington
  • M.A., History, University of Washington
  • B.A., History, University California Santa Cruz with Honors

Courses Taught

  • How to Get Away with Murder
  • Introduction to Native American History: Pre-Colonial to the Present
  • Introduction to Native American Studies
  • Independent Readings in Native Environmental Studies
  • Grad Seminar in Native American History
  • Grad Seminar in Native American Studies


  • How to Get Away with Murder: A Transnational History of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (2026).
  • Picturing Indians: Native Americans in Film, 1941-1960 (2020).
  • “Native TV in 2021: Putting the I in BIPOC.” American Historical Review Perspectives on Culture. 2022.
  • “Native People and American Film and TV.” Oxford Encyclopedia of American History. 2022.
  • “Minnie Devereaux, Lillian St. Cyr, and the Indigenous Women of Silents.” Cinema’s First Nasty Women. Dvd set. 2022.
  • “Native Mother, Native Daughter: The Murder of Savanna Greywind and the Abduction of Haisley Jo Greywind” in Susan Bernardin. Ed. Gender and the American West (New York: Routledge, 2021).
  • "The Book Warner Bros. Didn’t Want me to Write,” UNP Blog. October 27, 2020.
  • “Native Actors Outside the Frame,” History News Network. September 13, 2020.
  • The Exiles: Native Survivance & Urban Space in Downtown Los Angeles,” American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 42 (2018): 155-182.
  • co-editor with Nicholas Rosenthal, “Representing Native Peoples: Native Narratives of Indigenous History and Culture” special edition of American Indian Culture and Research Journal 42 (2018): 1-10.

Book Reviews

  • We Are the Land: A History of Native California” (University of California Press, 2021) by Damin B. Akins and William J. Bauer Jr. Journal of American Ethnic History 41 (2022).
  • Hardship, Greed, and Sorrow: An Officer’s Photo Album of 1866 New Mexico Territory. By Devorah Romanek, Preface by Mr. Daniel Kosharek, Foreword by Jennifer Nez Denetdale. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2019: A Book Review.” Great Plains Quarterly. 2022.
  • Indigenous Celebrity: Entanglements with Fame, edited by Jennifer Adese and Robert Innes. (University of Manitoba Press, 2021): A Book Review.” Native American and Indigenous Studies Association Journal, 2022.
  • The Grass Shall Grow: Helen Post Photographs the Native American West by Mick Gidley and Through a Native Lens: American Indian Photography by Nicole Dawn Strathman: A Book Review” American Historical Review 126, no. 4 (December 2021): 1615-1617.
  • Objects of Survivance: A Material History of the American Indian School Experience.” By Lindsay M. Montgomery and Chip Colwell. Museum Anthropology Review. October 2021.
  • A Diné History of Navajoland by Klara Kelley and Harris Francis,” Journal of Folklore Research Reviews, April 2, 2020.
  • Starring Red Wing!: The Incredible Career of Lillian M. St. Cyr, the First Native American Film Star by Linda M. Waggoner.” Western Historical Quarterly 51 (Summer 2020): 190.
  • Stories of Oka: Land, Film, and Literature by Isabelle St-Amand.” in American Indian Culture and Research Journal. 43 (2019): 130-32.