John C. Ewers Award

The Western History Association announces the John C. Ewers Book Award given annually for the best published book on the North American (including Mexico) Indian ethnohistory. The award is $500 to the author and a certificate to the publisher. The award is supported by the Ewers family and administered by the Western History Association. Publishers may submit more than one title.

Publishers or authors should submit a letter of nomination and a copy of the book to each member of the award committee listed below. All award submissions are due by April 1, 2017.

2017 Committee

John Lutz - Chair

Department of History
University of Victoria

P.O. Box 3045 STN CSC
Victoria, B.C.

Canada V8W 3P4

Rebekah Mergenthal
Pacific Lutheran University
History Department
12180 Park Ave S.
Tacoma, WA  98447


John Canfield Ewers (1909 – 1997) was an American ethnologist  and museum curator. Known for his studies on the art and history of the American Plains Indians,  he was described by the New York Times as one of his country's "foremost interpreters of American Indian culture." He was instrumental in establishing the National Museum of American History and became its Director in 1964. At the time of his death he was Ethnologist Emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution and was the first recipient of the Smithsonian's Exceptional Service Award as well as the Western History Association's Oscar O. Winther Award and the American Alliance of Museum's Distinguished Service Award.

Source "John C. Ewers Memorial Service". Manuscript National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution. 1999–2006.

Past Winners

2016 | Joshua Reid for The Sea Is My Country: The Maritime World of the Makahs (Yale University Press)

2014 | Kathryn Magee LaBelle for Dispersed but Not Destroyed: A History of the Seventeenth-Century Wendat People (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2013). Click here to read more.

2012Christina Snyder for Slavery in Indian Country: The Changing Face of Captivity in Early America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010). Click here to read more.

2010Pekka Hämäläinen for The Comanche Empire (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008). Click here to read more.

2008Ned Blackhawk for Violence Over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006). Click here to read more.

2006Philip Deloria for Indians in Unexpected Places (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2006). Click here to read more.

2004Colin G. Calloway for One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West Before Lewis and Clark (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003). Click here to read more.

2002Martha C. Knack for Boundaries Between: The Southern Paiutes, 1775-1995 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002). Click here to read more.

2000William N. Fenton for The Great Law and the Longhouse: A Political History of the Iroquois Confederacy (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998). Click here to read more.

Sponsors and Partners

The WHA is hosted on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and benefits from the generous support of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Western History Association | University of Nebraska at Omaha | Department of History | 6001 Dodge Street | Omaha, NE 68182 | 

| (402) 554-5999 |

The Western History Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.