Christina Gish Hill

Associate Professor of Anthropology


Dept:World Languages And Cultures
Office:2232 Pearson
505 Morrill Rd.
Ames IA

Area of expertise: Indigenous Relationships with Landscape

Topics of interest: American Indian Culture and History, Ethnographic Methods, Indigenous Food and Agriculture


My research combines oral history, ethnography, and archival research to explore the mechanisms Indigenous people use to assert their sovereign relationship with their historical landscape despite the ruptures created by removal, reservations, assimilation, and development. As an Ethnohistorian, I research the employment of cultural and political expressions of social cohesion by Native communities, particularly in response to the pressures of Euro-American encroachment on Native landscapes. In my research, kinship—networks that connect both human and non-human entities to the landscape—emerges as one important mechanism that Native people historically used to assert both cultural identity and political sovereignty in many spheres, including negotiation of political relationships with the United States, resistance to removal from homelands, establishment of reservation boundaries, maintenance of cultural landscapes, and preservation of food systems. Ultimately, recognizing the value placed on social relationships by Native people historically speaks to the broader conversation that both scholars and Native peoples are having today about maintaining political and cultural autonomy in ways that are different from those of the nation-state. My most recent research on food sovereignty reveals how these social relationships not only effect how people work to access specific landscapes, but how they relate to the wider ecosystems that share these landscapes. I am currently exploring the ways that Indigenous corn agriculture, seed breeding, and broader food systems have acted as important mechanisms that Native people have used to assert both cultural identity and political autonomy.

Grants and Awards

  • 2022 Building Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change in Alaska Native Communities by Reducing Health Risks from Water Infrastructure, Quality, and Security, EPA STAR, 1.35 million.

  • 2020 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, $60,000

  • 2019 Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Grant, North Central Region, USDA, $200,000

  • 2019 Critical Agricultural Research and Extension Grant, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, $300,000

  • 2019 State Historical Society of Iowa Research Grant, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, $1,000.

  • 2015 The Phillips Fund Grant for Native American Research, The American Philosophical Society, $3,400.


Recent / Major Publications


  • 2017 Webs of Kinship: Family in Northern Cheyenne Nationhood. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. (New Directions in Native American Studies series) (xiv-382pp).


  • Native Peoples and National Parks: Dispossession, Persistent Connections, and Possibilities for Repair. Christina Gish Hill, Mathew Hill, and Brooke Neely, eds. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. 2023.

  • Reuniting the Three Sisters: Collaborative Science With Native Growers to Improve Soil and Community Health (With Marshall McDaniel, Ajay Nair, Donna Winham, Emma Herrighty, Valeria Camo Cancho, and Derrick Kapayou). Agriculture and Human Values. 2022

  • A Cheyenne Odyssey: Representing Removal in a Video Game. Museum Anthropology 12(2). 2018.

  • Introduction to Digital Representation of Indigenous Peoples through Sharing, Collaboration, and Negotiation (With Medeia Csoba DeHass). Museum Anthropology 12(2). 2018

  • Webs of Kinship: Family in Northern Cheyenne Nationhood. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. (New Directions in Native American Studies series) (xiv-382pp). 2017.

  • Seeds As Ancestors, Seeds As Archives: Seed Sovereignty and the Politics of Repatriation. American Indian Culture and Research Journal 41(3):1-20. 2017

  • The Dispute over Wild Rice: An Investigation of Treaty Agreements and Ojibwe Food Sovereignty (With Amanda Raster). Agriculture and Human Values 34(2): 267-281. 2016