- Remembering Michael D. Green
Scholars and students of the Native South lost a generous friend with the recent passing away of Michael D. Green on August 23, 2013, at the age of seventy-two. Mike, as he was called by most of us who knew him, was a native of Iowa who earned his ba degree from Cornell and his ma and PhD degrees from the University of Iowa. He taught a couple of generations of students at several different institutions of higher education—with his most significant stints at Dartmouth College (1977–1992), where he chaired the Native American Studies Program for eight years; at the University of Kentucky (1992–1998), where he mentored several PhD students; and lastly at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1998–2009), where he taught in the American Studies and History Departments and continued to mentor several additional doctoral students before retiring as emeritus professor in 2009. Mike is remembered for his significant work on Creek Indian history, including The Politics of Indian Removal: Creek Government and Society in Crisis published by the University of Nebraska Press in 1982, as well as several books written with his wife, Theda Perdue, that ranged from reference works on Southeastern Indian history to Cherokee Removal to an introduction to American Indian history. Along with Perdue, Mike established the Indians of the Southeast book series with the University of Nebraska Press that has shaped scholarship on the Native South for nearly thirty years and can be credited with defining the Native South as a field of study worthy of its own adherents and publications. Mike was also a devoted member of the American Society for Ethnohistory and the Western Historical Association who relished engaging in scholarly and personal repartee at each organization’s annual meetings. Mike was a mentor, along with Perdue, to two of the founding editors of Native South, James Taylor Carson and Greg O’Brien, as well as a long list of scholars who have published books and articles on southeastern Indian ethnohistory. His influence will forever be felt in the pages of this journal and elsewhere. [End Page 143]
Bear meat stew.Die-cast model cars, trucks, and buses.Slim Whitman.F**king the dog.Merry eyes.Inexpensive bourbon.Iowans.G&Ts in the pool.Lumpers vs. Splitters.And Alexander McGillivray.
Ever since Mike Green passed away on August 23, 2013, these ideas, things, and beverages will no doubt cross my mind less and less with time—although some, like the G&Ts in the pool, I will enact ritually for the rest of my time. And, of course, there is more. How he taught like a preacher and converted me, how he could unspool a rough draft with a quiet comment, how he could pose a question with a Midwesterner’s gift for wry humor and frank honesty.
If you read this journal you will know his work. The Politics of Indian Removal: Creek Government and Society in Crisis was the first book in the field that I ever read. But that’s not what makes it foundational. What does is the model of careful research and judicious interpretation the book brought to bear on the practice of ethnohistory. His other books and articles, many of which were co- authored with his adored wife, Theda Perdue, extended the reach of the field we study in many important ways, either by adding here and there to what we think we already know, or by drawing lay readers into the world of the Native South, or by adding a crucial critical voice to the debates that hold our professional attention, debates that he often had set in motion in the first place.
He is well known in our field as an author, speaker, and scholar, but maybe not so well known as a man. And as important as what we each write as we move through life and build our careers, we also can never lose sight of what makes us whole people. The field will miss his scholarship, but I and many others will miss him.
The last time I visited with Mike we...