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Julie L. Reed

Associate Professor


Professor Reed’s recent book Serving the Nation: Cherokee Sovereignty and Social Welfare, 1800-1907 (University of Oklahoma, 2016) examines the shift by Cherokee people from a holistic system of care for others rooted within a matrilineal clan system and governed by local community obligations and clan responsibilities that stretched across towns to the rise of nationally administered social services by the Cherokee Nation to individual citizens.  This shift ultimately resulted in the creation of an orphanage, a prison, and a facility for the (dis)abled and mentally ill in the period after the Civil War.  Reed considers major turning points and the internal debates that led to changes in Cherokee social policy, how these changes in social policy both mirrored and deviated from changes happening in the larger United States, and how these institutions served to protect Cherokee sovereignty when allotment and Oklahoma statehood threatened. 

Her next project tentatively titled “ “The Means of Education Shall Forever Be Encouraged in this Nation”: An American and Cherokee Educational History,” which will include a book and an accompanying GIS project, reconsiders Cherokee educational history. Instead of assuming Cherokee educational efforts begin with Christian missionaries, U.S. officials, and Sequoyah’s invention of the syllabary in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Reed roots education in older forms of knowledge transmission and a general belief among Cherokee people that every member of Cherokee society regardless of age or gender could learn from or teach every other member of society.  Given the far more expansive and less rigid access to knowledge, Reed will consider how this older system moved forward as both Cherokees and non-Cherokees offered new ideas about the purposes, accessibility, and goals of education. 

Research Interests

Native American History, Southeastern Indians, Cherokee History, History of Institutions, American Educational History, Public History.


PhD in American History, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2011

MA in American History, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2008

M.T.S. in Theological Studies, Perkins School of Theology-SMU, 2000

B.A. in English Literature, University of South Florida, 1998

Selected Publications

Serving the Nation: Cherokee Sovereignty and Social Welfare, 1800-1907 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2016).

“'An Absolute and Unconditional Pardon': Nineteenth Century Cherokee Indigenous Justice.” In Legacies: Essays on the Native South, edited by Greg O’Brien and Tim Garrison (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2017): 126-143.

“Whose Stories Get Told,” In Marked, Unmarked, Remembered: A Photographic Geography of American Historical Memory, edited by Alex Lichtenstein and Andrew Lichtenstein, (Morgantown: West Virginia Press, forthcoming).

“Family and Nation: Cherokee Orphan Care, 1835-1903” American Indian Quarterly 34 (Summer 2010): 312-343.

Contact Information

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