Brenden Rensink, Ph.D.

Visiting Assistant Professor

Department of History, University of Nebraska at Kearney

103J Copeland Hall, Kearney, NE 68849 (308) 865-8671


2011-13 Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska at Kearney

2011-12 Adjunct Instructor, Nebraska Wesleyan University

2008-11 Lecturer, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

2003-07 Research Assistant and Teaching Assistant, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


2010 Ph.D. in History, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

2006 M.A. in History, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

2003 B.A. in History, Brigham Young University

Research and Scholarship


2014 Native but Foreign: Transnational Cree, Chippewa and Yaqui Refugees and Immigrants in the U.S-Canadian and U.S.-Mexican Borderlands, 1880-present. Connecting the Greater West Series, Sterling Evans, ed. College Station: Texas A&M Press, under contract.

2014 Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the American Frontier. New York: Scarecrow Press/Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group, under contract. Co-author, Jay H. Buckley.

Developing Borderlands, Boundaries, and the Histories of Indigenous Peoples in the Western Hemisphere. Coeditor, Jeffrey P. Shepherd. In development.

Book Chapters, Anthology Contributions:

2011 “Cree Contraband or Contraband Crees: Early Montanan Experiences with Transnational Natives and the Formation of Lasting Prejudice, 1880-1885.” In Smugglers, Brothels, and Twine: Historical Perspectives on Contraband and Vice in North America’s Borderlands, Andrae Marak and Elaine Carey, eds., 24-43. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2011.

2011 “Genocide of Native Americans: Historical Facts and Historiographic Debates.” In Genocide of Indigenous Peoples, Vol. 8 in Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Series, Samuel Totten and Robert Hitchcock, eds., 15-36. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2011.

2008 “Nebraska and Kansas Territories in American Legal Culture: Territorial Statutory Context.” In The Nebraska-Kansas Act of 1854, John R. Wunder and Joann E. Ross, eds, 47-66. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2008.

Journal Articles:

2010 “‘If a Passage Could be Found’: The Power of Myth (and Money) in North American Exploration.” We Proceeded On (May 2010): 8-17.

2009 “Pursuing Wicozani (the Good Way of Life): Functional Adaptations through Dakota Lifeways,” coauthors Matthew Garrett, Joseph M. White, Sr., Adam Galovan and Kathryn Akipa. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples 5 (Fall 2009): 108-125.

2009 “The Transnational Immigrant-Refugee Experience of Mexican Yaquis and Canadian Chippewa-Crees in Arizona and Montana.” Journal of the West 48 (Summer 2009): 12-19.

2009 “The Sand Creek Phenomenon: The Complexity and Difficulty of Undertaking a Comparative Study of Genocide vis-à-vis the North American West.” Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal 4:1 (Spring 2009): 9-27.

2004 “The Myth of an Easy Passage to the Far East.” The Thetean 32 (2004): 111-130.

Non-Refereed Publications:

2012 “Dare to Compare: Attempting Comparative Borderlands and Transnational History.” Borderlands History Blog.

2012 WHA Past Presidents Biographies for John R. Wunder and T.A. Larson. Western History Association. Available at

2008 “Addendum: Chippewa Cree Research Archives at Rocky Boy School.” In Ed Stamper, Helen Windy Boy and Ken Morsette, Jr., eds, The History of the Chippewa Cree of Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation, 223-234. Box Elder, Montana: Stone Child College Press, 2008.

2008 Historical Biographies of the Cherry County Independent (Valentine, NE), Valentine Democrat (NE), Western News-Democrat (Valentine, NE), Norfolk Weekly News and News-Journal (NE), Custer County Republican (Broken Bow, NE), McCook Tribune and Weekly-Tribune (NE), Omaha Daily Bee (NE), and Falls City Tribune (NE). Nebraska Newspapers: Digitizing Nebraska’s History site. Available at

2008 “The Omaha Daily Bee.” JNews, University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications Alumni Magazine (Summer 2008): 20-21.

Book Reviews:

2013 Murder State: California’s Native American Genocide, 1846-1873, by Brendan C. Lindsay. Western Historical Quarterly, Forthcoming.

2013 Pacific Connections: The Making of the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands, by Kornel Chang. Journal of American Ethnic History, Forthcoming.

2013 Indians & Energy: Exploitation and Opportunity in the American Southwest, edited by Sherry L. Smith and Brian Frehner. Journal of the West, Forthcoming.

2013 Kearny’s March: The Epic Creation of the American West, 1846-1847, by Winston Groom. Military History of the West, Forthcoming.

2013 The Invasion of Indian Country in the Twentieth Century: American Capitalism and Tribal Natural Resources, Second Edition, by Donald L. Fixico. New Mexico Historical Review, Forthcoming.

2012 Migrants and Migration in Modern North America: Cross-Border Lives, Labor Markets, and Politics, edited by Dirk Hoerder and Nora Faires. Canadian Journal of History / Annales Canadiennes d’Histoire, Forthcoming.

2012 Storied Landscapes: Ethno-Religious Identity and the Canadian Prairies, by Frances Swyripa. Journal of the West. Forthcoming.

2012 Troubled Trails: The Meeker Affair and the Expulsion of Utes from Colorado, by Robert Silbernagel. Montana: The Magazine of Western History (Spring 2012): 81-82.

2010 Undermining Race: Ethnic Identities in Arizona Copper Camps, 1880-1920, by Phylis Cancilla Martinelli. Journal of the West 49 (Fall 2010): 88.

2010 A Gift of Angels: The Art of Mission San Xavier del Bac, by Bernard L. Fontana. Journal of the West 49 (Fall 2010): 85.

Conference and Seminar Presentations:

2012 “The Indigenous Immigrant: Comparing Native Canadian and Mexican Immigration to the U.S. Borderlands.” Newberry Seminar in Borderlands and Latino Studies. Center for American History and Culture Programs, Newberry Library, December 2012. Chicago, IL.

2010 Receiving “Canadian” versus “Mexican” Indian Migrants and Refugees in Montana and Arizona: Perceived Ethnicity and Native Labor in the U.S. Borderlands.” Western History Association 50th Annual Conference, October 2010. Incline Village, NV.

2009 “Transborder Indigenous Migration and Refugee Experiences.” Roundtable Panel title: “Both Borders: A Roundtable on Researching and Writing on the West’s Mexican and Canadian Borderlands,” chaired by Dr. Ben Johnson. Western History Association 49th Annual Conference, October 2009. Denver, CO.

2009 “‘I Never Was Tired of a Tribe as I am of This One’: Montanan Efforts to Deport Foreign Indians, 1880-1916.” Northern Great Plains History Conference, October 2009. St. Cloud, MN.

2009 “Creating Illegals out of Natives: U.S., Mexican and Canadian Borderlands and the Politics of Indigenous Migration.” The James A. Rawley Conference in the Humanities, March 2009. Lincoln, NE.

2008 “Mexican Borderlands, Indigenous Ethnogenesis and Community Identity, 1500-Present.” The James A. Rawley Conference in the Humanities, April 2008. Lincoln, NE.

2008 “Yaqui and Rocky Boy Cree Refugees in Arizona and Montana: Borderland Peripheries and the Formation of Federal Borderlands Indian Policy.” Missouri Valley History Conference, March 2008. Omaha, NE.

2007 “Justifying Autonomy through Regional Distinction: Identity Construction and Rhetorical Fallacy in Separatist Transnistria and the Republic of Moldova.” The James A. Rawley Conference in the Humanities, April 2007. Lincoln, NE.

Conference Service:

2012 “Indigenous-Defined Borderlands, Boundaries and Landscapes: A Two-Session Panel and Roundtable.” Panel and Roundtable organizer and chair, Western History Association 52nd Annual Conference, October 2012. Denver, CO.

2012 “The Shifting Composition of the Great Plains.” Panel Chair and commenter. The James A. Rawley Conference in the Humanities, March 2012. Homestead National Monument, Beatrice, NE.

2012 “Future Directions in Western History: a Roundtable Discussion with Sarah Carter, Elliott West and John Wunder.” Roundtable Chair and Moderator. The James A. Rawley Conference in the Humanities, March 2012. Homestead National Monument, Beatrice, NE.

2012 “America: 1770-1945.” Panel Chair. Missouri Valley History Conference, March 2012. Omaha, NE.

2010 “Transnational Natives in International Landscapes: Comparing Indigenous Migrations, Federal Policies and International Boundaries across the Borderlands of Canada, Mexico and the United States.” Panel Organizer, Western History Association 50th Annual Conference, October 2010. Incline Village, NV.

2008 “A Community of Consumption: Food and Music in the Twentieth Century.” Panel Chair and Commenter. The James A. Rawley Conference in the Humanities, April 2008. Lincoln, NE.

Academic Seminar Participation:

2011 Triennial Charles Redd Seminar on Immigration in the Far West, Brigham Young University, August 2011. Provo, UT.

Public Lectures and Presentations:

2011 “The ‘Other’ West: Minority Experience in the 19th Century West,” “Probing the Progressive Age,” and “American Expansion and Imperialism.” Consultant, Guest Speaker, Summer 2011 History Alive Seminar, Nebraska Wesleyan University and Omaha Public Schools. Omaha, NE.

2010 “Conceptualizing, Organizing and Writing a Comparative History. “ Guest Speaker, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, U.S. West Research Seminar (History 942), September 1, 2010.

2010 “Native Americans in Colonial America.” Guest Lecture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Colonial America (History 334/894), January 28, 2010.

Teaching and Advising

Teaching Experience:

Undergraduate Surveys

American History to 1877

American History since 1877

Upper-Division Surveys

U.S. West to 1900

U.S. West to the Present

Nebraska and the Great Plains

Plains Indian

Undergraduate Seminars

Senior Capstone Research/Writing Seminar

Graduate Seminars

Native American History to the Present

20th Century Native America

U.S. West to 1900

20th Century U.S. West

American Interpreted –Historiography

Native American Women’s History

Native American History to 1900

North American Borderlands

Comparative Colonial / Indians and Empires

Other Teaching and Research Interests:

19th and 20th Century U.S. Social History

Comparative Colonial History

Race and Ethnicity in America

U.S.-Mexican and U.S.-Canadian Borderlands

U.S. West in Global Comparison

Regional Native American Histories

Regional Western Histories

Comparative Methodology

Immigration and Labor History

The Gilded Age and Progressive Era

F.D.R., New Deal and the Great Depression

Environmental History

American Indian Environment/Natural Resources

Latin American History

Comparative Genocide Studies

Nazi Germany and the Holocaust

Graduate Thesis and Dissertation Committee Service:

2013 Laura Enomoto. Co-advisor. Thesis in progress.

2012 Shelley R. Frear. “The Genoa Indian School, A Mixed Legacy: 50 Years of Transformation, survival, and Hope in a United States Government Indian Boarding School on the Nebraska Plains.” M.A. Thesis, Department of History, University of Nebraska at Kearney.

2012 Freda Bradley, “Evolutionary Response to Federal Programs in the Rural Mid-Ohio Valley of West Virginia: From Economic Collapse to Valuable Wartime Partner.” M.A. Thesis, Department of History, University of Nebraska at Kearney.

2012 Kaylene Vieselmeyer, “Sacred Soil: The Influence of the Family Farm in Shaping America’s Identity.” M.A. Thesis, Department of History, University of Nebraska at Kearney.

2012 Amber Alexander, “Fighting the War from Home: The Impact of the Fairmont, Harvard, and Bruning Army Air Fields on Rural Nebraska Residents.” M.A. Thesis, Department of History, University of Nebraska at Kearney.

2012 Brian Chmielewski, “James Wilson: The Forgotten Founding Father,” M.A. Thesis, Department of History, University of Nebraska at Kearney.

2012 John Stratton, “Des Moines Ordinance Plant: Ankeny, Iowa, on the home Front During World War II.” M.A. Thesis, Department of History, University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Professional Service, Awards, Honors and Miscellanea

Scholarly Referee and manuscript Reviews:

2012- Journal of American History, Organization of American Historians

2012- Routledge Press, Taylor and Francis Group

2012- Undergraduate Research Journal, University of Nebraska at Kearney

2011- Folklore: Journal of The Folklore Society

2010- Oxford University Press

Grants, Fellowships and Assistantships:

2009-10 Addison Sheldon Fellowship, UNL Department of History.

2008 Grant-in-Aid Research Fellowship, Center for Great Plains Studies.

2008 Barnes Fund Research Travel Grant, UNL Department of History.

2008 Graduate Studies Research Fellowship, UNL College of Graduate Studies.

2006-07 Research Assistantship, UNL Bureau for Sociological Research

2005-06 Teaching Assistantship, UNL Department of History.

2005 Fellow, Colonial Williamsburg Summer Teacher Institute.

2004-05 Research Assistantship, UNL College of Education

2004 Research Assistantship, UNL Department of History

2004-10 Graduate Nonresident Fellowship, UNL College of Graduate Studies.

Awards and Honors:

2009 Walter Rundell Graduate Student Award, Western History Association.

2009 Best Graduate Student Paper Prize, Northern Great Plains History Conference.

2009 University Libraries Influence Award, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries.

2008 Certificate of Recognition for Contributions to Students, UNL Teaching Council and Parents Association.

Professional Service:

2008-09 President, UNL History Graduate Student Association.

2006-08 Senator, Graduate Student Association, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Language Skills:

Romanian: Full proficiency for Reading, Writing and Speech

Spanish: Standard proficiency for Reading and Document Translation

Referee Contact Information:

Verne Volpe

Professor and Department Chair

University of Nebraska Kearney

103 Copeland Hall

Kearney, NE 68849

(308) 865-8773

John Wunder

Professor Emeritus

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of History

628 Oldfather Hall

Lincoln, NE 68588-0327

(402) 476-1419

Andrew Graybill

Associate Professor and Director of the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies

William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies
Southern Methodist University
3225 University Avenue, Room 356
Box 750176

Dallas, TX 75275-0176

(214) 768-3684

Sterling Evans

Professor and Louise Welsh Chair Oklahoma, Southern Plains, and Borderlands History

University of Oklahoma, Department of History

455 West Lindsey Street

Room 403A

Norman, OK 73019-2004

(405) 325-6002