In recognition of Arrell M. Gibson’s significant role in Native American history, the Indian Territory Posse of Westerners International funds this $500 cash prize for the best essay of the year on the history of Native Americans. No time period or geographic restrictions apply, and essays will be judged on their significance to the field, their contributions to knowledge, and their literary quality.
Any WHA member, publisher, or author of an essay/article, may nominate work that was published in 2020. Unless a journal editor notifies you about nominating your work, authors must submit a copy of the journal, an offprint, or a photocopy 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 the past recipients of this award.
Margaret Jacobs, Chair
Arrell M. Gibson (1921-1987) was a historian and author specializing in the history of Oklahoma. He earned a B.A. from Missouri Southern State College, an M.A. (1948) and Ph.D. (1954) from the University of Oklahoma. He was professor of history and government at Phillips University in Enid and at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. His works include: Oklahoma: A History of Five Centuries (University of Oklahoma Press 1965, 1981), The Oklahoma Story (University of Oklahoma Press 1978), and other histories of the state. Gibson served as the Oklahoma Center for the Book's first president, and the Center named its highest award in honor of the Norman historian. Seven of the 21 authors on the official Literary Map of Oklahoma are recipients of the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award. It is given annually to an Oklahoman for a body of literary work. Gibson died in Norman November 30, 1987.
2017 | Brianna Theobald for “Nurse, Mother Midwife: Susie Walking Bear Yellowtail and the Struggle for Crow Women's Reproductive Autonomy,” Montana The Magazine of Western History (Fall 2016).
2016 | Allyson Stevenson for “The Adoption of Frances T: Blood, Belonging, and Aboriginal Transracial Adoption in Twentieth Century Canada,” The Canadian Journal of History (Winter 2015).
2015 | Khalil Johnson for “The Chinle Dog Shoots: Federal Governance and Grass-roots Politics in Postwar Navajo Country,” Pacific Historical Review (February 2014)
2014 | Sarah M.S. Pearsall for “Having Many Wives in Two American Rebellions,” American Historical Review (October 2014)
2013 | Steven Sabol for “Comparing American and Russian Internal Colonization: The ‘Touch of Civilisation’ on the Sioux and Kazakhs,” Western Historical Quarterly (Spring 2012)
2012 | Jesse Schreier for “Indian or Freedman?: Enrollment, Race and Identity in the Choctaw Nation,” Western Historical Quarterly (Winter 2011)
2011 | Khal Schneider for “Making Indian Land in the Allotment Era: Northern California's Indian Rancherias,” Western Historical Quarterly (Winter 2010)
2009 | Benjamin Madley for “California‘s Yuki Indians: Defining Genocide in Native American History,” Western Historical Quarterly (Autumn 2008)
2007 | Dr. Paul C. Rosier for “’They Are Ancestral Homelands’: Race, Place, and Politics in Cold War Native America, 1945-1961,” Journal of American History (March 2006)
2006 | Margaret D. Jacobs for “Material Colonialism: White Women and Indigeneous Child Removal in the American West and Australia, 1880-1940,” Western Historical Quarterly (Winter 2005)
2005 | Jessica R. Cattelino for “Casino Roots: The Cultural Production of Twentieth-Century Seminole Economic Development,” in Colleen O‘Neill and Brian Hosmer, eds., Native Pathways: American Indian Culture and Economic Development in the Twentieth Century (University Press of Colorado, 2004)
2004 | Pekka Hämäläinen for “The Rise and Fall of Plains Indian Horse Cultures,” Journal of American History (December 2003)
2003 | Thomas G. Andrews for “Turning the Tables on Assimilation: Oglala Lakotas and the Pine Ridge Day Schools, 1889-1920s,” Western Historical Quarterly (Winter 2002)
2002 | Andrew Fisher for “They Mean to Be Indian Always: The Origins of Columbia River Identity, 1860-1885,” Western Historical Quarterly (Winter 2001)
2001 | Paige Raibmon for “Theatres of Contact: The Kwakwada ‘wakw Meet Colonialism in British Columbia and at the Chicago World‘s Fair,” Canadian Historical Review (June 2000)
2000 | James F. Brooks for “Violence, Justice and State Power in the New Mexican Borderlands, 1780-1880,” in Richard White and John M. Findley, editors, Power and Place in the North American West (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999)
1999 | Elliott West for “Called Out People: They Cheyennes and the Central Plain,” Montana: The Magazine of Western History (Summer 1998)
1998 | Nancy Shoemaker for “How Indians Got to be Red,” American Historical Review (June 1997)
1997 | Gregory Evans Dowd for “The Panic of 1751: The Significance of Rumors on the South Carolina-Cherokee Frontier,” William and Mary Quarterly (July 1996)