Liza Black

Associate Professor, Department of History

Associate Professor, Native American and Indigenous Studies

IU; IU Bloomington

Full Biography

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.

Honors and Awards

  • Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, Office for the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs, Indiana University, 2022.
  • Visiting Scholar, Institute of American Cultures and American Indian Studies Center, UCLA, 2021-22.
  • Affiliate, Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society, Indiana University, 2021-present.
  • Trustees Teaching Award, Indiana University, 2021.
  • Franklin Gable Visiting Scholar, University of Georgia, 2020.
  • Individual Research Award, Institute for Advanced Study, Indiana University, 2020.
  • Presidential Arts and Humanities Grant, Indiana University, 2020.



  • How to Get Away with Murder: A Transnational History of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. (Reader reports were returned in late 2021)
  • Picturing Indians: Native Americans in Film, 1941-1960 (University of Nebraska Press, 2020).

Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Native People and American Film and TV,” Oxford Encyclopedia of American History (2022).
  • “Native Mother, Native Daughter, Native Granddaughter: The Murder of Savanna Greywind and the Abduction of Haisley Jo,” In Gender and the American Westedited by Susan Bernardin. (New York: Routledge, 2022).
  • “Strata of Meaning: Monument Valley in and out of Frame on the Navajo Nation,” Journal of Arizona History, With Tommy Rock, Mihio Manus, and Josh Garrett-Davis (2022).
  • The Exiles: Native Survivance & Urban Space in Downtown Los Angeles,” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 42 (2018): 155-182.
  • Representing Native Peoples: Native Narratives of Indigenous History and Culture,” Co-editor with Nicholas Rosenthal, Special Edition of American Indian Culture and Research Journal 42 (2018): 1-10.

Documentary, TV, Video, & Podcasts

  • “Native People’s Film History,” PBS Origins, Historian’s Take (filmed June 2022).
  • “Minnie Devereaux, Lillian St. Cyr, and the Indigenous Women of the Silents,” Cinema's First Nasty Women. Columbia University (2022).
  • "The Taking," Documentary on Monument Valley (2021).
  • “Missing White Woman Syndrome and MMIW,” CBS4 Indianapolis (September 25, 2021).
  • “New Books on Native American Studies,” New Books Network, UC Berkeley (October 30, 2020).
  • “The Carceral State, Native America, and MMIWG,” The Carceral State PodcastUniversity of Oklahoma (October 29, 2020).
  • “What is a Western?” Autry Museum of the American West (September 1, 2020).
  • “Dakota Access Pipeline Protest,” WFHB Radio Interview (July 24, 2020).

Essays and Op-Eds

  • “We Don’t Share Land Here,” High Country News (2022).
  • “Native TV in 2021: Putting the I in BIPOC,” American Historical Review: Perspectives on Culture (2022).
  • “Unpacking the Complicated History of the Black Cowboy,” Colorlines with Alaina Roberts and Joshua Adams (July 8, 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).

Book Reviews

  • Damin B. Akins and William J. Bauer, Jr., We Are the Land: A History of Native California in Journal of American Ethnic History 41 (2022).
  • Cathleen Cahill, Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement in Indiana Magazine of History (2022).
  • Devorah Romanek, Hardship, Greed, and Sorrow: An Officer’s Photo Album of 1866 New Mexico Territory in Great Plains Quarterly (2022).
  • Jennifer Adese and Robert Innes, eds., Indigenous Celebrity: Entanglements with Fame in Native American and Indigenous Studies Association Journal (2022).
  • Mick Gidley, “The Grass Shall Grow: Helen Post Photographs the Native American West and Nicole Dawn Strathman, Through a Native Lens: American Indian Photography in American Historical Review 126 (2021): 1615-1617.
  • Lindsay M. Montgomery and Chip Colwell, Objects of Survivance: A Material History of the American Indian School Experience in Museum Anthropology Review (2021).
  • Klara Kelley and Harris Francis, A Diné History of Navajoland in Journal of Folklore Research Reviews (2020).
  • Linda M. Waggoner, Starring Red Wing! The Incredible Career of Lillian M. St. Cyr, the First Native American Film Star in Western Historical Quarterly 51 (2020): 190.
  • Isabelle St-Amand, Stories of Oka: Land, Film, and Literature in American Indian Culture and Research Journal 43 (2019): 130-32.