Author Alaina E. Roberts has won the 2022 Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize for “I’ve Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021).
Roberts is an assistant professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh who studies the intersection of Black and Native American life from the Civil War to the modern day. She holds a doctorate in history from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Roberts writes, teaches and presents public talks about Black and Native history in the West, family history, slavery in the Five Tribes — the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek and Seminole Indian Nations — Native American enrollment politics, and Indigeneity in North America and across the globe.
The Center for Great Plains Studies’ Stubbendieck book prize celebrates the most outstanding work about the Great Plains during the past year, chosen by an independent group of scholars.
“‘I’ve Been Here All the While’ tells the stories of the Black, Native and white people who made Indian Territory, now known as the state of Oklahoma, their home,” Roberts said. “This history is often overlooked, so it’s such an honor for my book to be recognized by the Center for Great Plains Studies, which houses important projects like Black Homesteaders that do so much to educate the public on the diverse history of the Plains.”
Along with a $10,000 cash prize, book prize winners are invited to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln to present a lecture on the book’s topic. First-edition, full-length, nonfiction books copyrighted in 2021 were eligible for the award. Nominations were made by publishers or authors.
The book prize committee said Roberts’ work is “a transformative work in its conceptualization of narratives about slavery, Indigenous people and settler colonialism in the Great Plains.”
Other finalists included:
“The Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship” by Catherine Raven (Spiegel and Grau Press)
“Black Montana: Settler Colonialism and the Erosion of the Racial Frontier, 1877-1930” by Anthony W. Wood (University of Nebraska Press)
For more information on the award or the Center for Great Plains Studies, click here.