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Dr. Kent Blansett

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences - Indigenous Studies & History
Langston Hughes Associate Professor
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Kent Blansett is a Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Shawnee, and Potawatomi descendant from the Blanket, Panther, and Smith families. He is the Langston Hughes Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies and History at the University of Kansas. Professor Blansett also serves as the founder and executive director for the American Indian Digital History Project. He has published numerous articles and book chapters including When the Stars Fell from the Sky: The Cherokee Nation and Autonomy during the Civil War and San Francisco, Red Power, and the Emergence of an Indian City. 

His latest book, 18 years in the making, is the first biography to explore the dynamic life and times of Akwesasne Mohawk student leader Richard Oakes, who was a key figure in the 1969 takeover of Alcatraz Island by the organization Indians of All Tribes. Published by Yale University Press in 2018, Blansett’s book, A Journey to Freedom: Richard Oakes, Alcatraz, and the Red Power Movement highlights Oakes’s pivotal role in Red Power activism from the 1960s and 1970s that sparked Native liberation movements throughout North America. Blansett’s book has garnered national attention with reviews in the Los Angeles Times, Indian Country Today, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, and was featured on National Public Radio’s Latino USA, The Takeaway, & All Things Considered. Most recently, his book was also optioned for a future Hollywood movie.

His curated museum exhibit “Not Your Indians Anymore: Alcatraz and the Red Power Movement, 1969-71,” is sponsored by the National Park Service and is viewable on Alcatraz Island until 2021. His scholarship has received numerous fellowships and awards including the prestigious Katrin H. Lamon Fellowship with the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Blansett is currently working on three future book projects: Indian Cities: Histories of Indigenous UrbanismBriefcase Warriors: A history of the Native American Rights Fund; and Red Power and Popular Culture, 1945-Present.


  • Ph.D. in History, University of New Mexico, May 2011
  • M.A. in History with Distinction, University of New Mexico, May 2004
  • B.A. in History, University of Missouri, December 1997
  • B.A. in Interdisciplinary/American Indian Studies, University of Missouri, December 1997


Courses taught at KU:

  • ISP 800 Indigenous Issues in the United States (focus on Red Power), Fall 2020
  • ISP 804 Special Topics in Indigenous Studies: Global Indigenous History, Spring 2021
  • HIST 326 Native Americans Confront European Empires, Spring 2021

Courses taught at other institutions:

  • American Indian History 1945-Present (Red Power)
  • Global Indigenous History
  • Native Strategies for Survival, 1860-1934
  • Native American Strategies for Survival, 1880-1920
  • History of North American Indians
  • American Indians and the United States: A History
  • American Indian Ethnography and Ethnohistory
  • Graduate Seminar, American Indian Historiography
  • Introduction to Native American/American Indian Studies
  • Native Nationalism and Red Power (digital history course)
  • U.S. History Since 1865
  • Vietnam War (digital history course)
  • Graduate Seminar in History, Biography
  • American Experience in World War II (digital history course)


Dr. Blansett's teaching and research interests go hand-in-hand.

Research Interests

  • Native Nationalism & Red Power
  • Indigenous Studies
  • Native North America
  • Global Indigenous history
  • American West
  • 20th Century American Experience
  • Urban History
  • Military History
  • Biogrpahy
  • Popular Culture
  • Digital history
  • Public history

Selected Publications

A Journey to Freedom: Richard Oakes, Alcatraz, and the Red Power Movement (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018).

“When the Stars Fell from the Sky: The Cherokee Nation and Autonomy in the Civil War,” in Empire and Liberty: The American West and the Civil War, edited by Virginia Scharff, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015).

“San Francisco, Red Power and the Emergence of an “Indian City,”” in City Dreams and Country Schemes: Community and Identity in the American West, edited by Amy Scott and Kathleen Brosnan, in The Urban West Series edited by David Wrobel (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2011); 261-283.

“Intertribalism in the Ozarks, 1800-1865,” American Indian Quarterly 34:4 (Fall 2010); 475-497.

“Murder at Navajo Mountain,” in Roundup! Western Writers of America Anthology, edited by Paul Andrew Hutton. (Cheyenne, WY: La Frontera Publishing, 2010); 81-92.

» Show All Publications

Selected Work

Curator, “Not Your Indians Anymore: Alcatraz and the Red Power Movement,” National Park Service, Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, CA, Nov. 2019-June 2021

“Not Your Indians Anymore: Alcatraz and the Red Power Movement,” Skä•noñh Great Law of Peace Center, Syracuse, New York, Oct.-Jan. 2018

“Not Your Indians Anymore: Alcatraz and the Red Power Movement,” Osborne Gallery, University of Nebraska at Omaha, May-Aug. 2018

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