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 each year. All submissions must have a 2020 publication date. While the formal process requires presses/journals to submit the work of their authors, the WHA strongly recommends that authors check with the award committee chair a week before the deadline to see if they received a copy of their work. Presses should submit nominations and a copy of the book to each member of the award committee listed below. 

-2021 Awards Cycle opens January 25, 2021

-2021 Award Submission (Postmark) Deadline: April 15, 2021

The WHA office sends award notifications in August. View a list of past recipients.

David R.M. Beck, Chair

University of Montana

University of Montana

Native American Studies Department

32 Campus Drive
Missoula. MT 59812

Kent Blansett

University of Kansas

Department of History

1445 Jayhawk Blvd.

3650 Wescoe Hall
Lawrence, KS 66045

Margaret Jacobs 
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

4119 Sheridan Blvd.

Lincoln, NE 68506

John C. Ewers

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: Manuscript National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution. 1999–2006.

Past Recipients

2020 | Brianna Theobald, Reproduction on the Reservation: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and  Colonialism in the Long Twentieth Century (University of North Carolina Press, 2019)

2019 | Lisa Brooks, Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War (Yale University Press, 2018)

2018 | Rosalyn R. LaPier for Invisible Reality: Storytellers, Storytakers, and the Supernatural World of the Blackfeet (University of Nebraska Press, 2017)

2017 | David A. Chang for The World and All the Things Upon It: Native Hawaiian Geographies of Exploration (University of Minnesota Press, 2016)

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 (University of British Columbia Press, 2013)

2012Christina Snyder for Slavery in Indian Country: The Changing Face of Captivity in Early America (Harvard University Press, 2010)

2010Pekka Hämäläinen for The Comanche Empire (Yale University Press, 2008)

2008Ned Blackhawk for Violence Over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West (Harvard University Press, 2006)

2006Philip Deloria for Indians in Unexpected Places (University Press of Kansas, 2006)

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

2002Martha C. Knack for Boundaries Between: The Southern Paiutes, 1775-1995 (University of Nebraska Press, 2002)

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

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The WHA is located in the Department of History at the University of Kansas.

The WHA is grateful to KU's History Department and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for their generous support!

Western History Association

University of Kansas | History Department

1445 Jayhawk Blvd. | 3650 Wescoe Hall

Lawrence, KS 66045 | 785-864-0860