Upcoming Event

Rebecca Nagle at Harvard Book Store


By the Fire We Carry: The Generations-Long Fight for Justice on Native Land


September 13, 2024
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes Rebecca Nagle—award-winning reporter, writer, and citizen of Cherokee Nation—for a discussion of her new book By the Fire We Carry: The Generations-Long Fight for Justice on Native Land.

About By the Fire We Carry

Before 2020, American Indian reservations made up roughly 55 million acres of land in the United States. Nearly 200 million acres are reserved for National Forests—in the emergence of this great nation, our government set aside more land for trees than for Indigenous peoples. That changed on July 9, 2020, when a high-profile Supreme Court case—which originated with a small-town murder two decades earlier—affirmed the reservation of Muscogee Nation. The ruling resulted in the largest restoration of tribal land in U.S. history, merely because the Court chose to follow the law.

In the 1830s Muscogee people were rounded by the US military at gunpoint and forced into exile halfway across the continent. At the time, they were promised this new land would be theirs for as long as the grass grew and the waters ran. But that promise was not kept. When Oklahoma was create on top of their land, the new state claimed their reservation no longer existed. Over a century later, when a Muscogee citizen was sentenced to death for murdering another Muscogee citizen, his defense attorneys argued the murder occurred on the reservation of his tribe, and therefore Oklahoma didn’t have the jurisdiction to execute him. Oklahoma argued that reservation no longer existed. In the summer of 2020, the Supreme Court said: no more. The ruling would ultimately underpin multiple reservations covering half the land in Oklahoma, including Nagle’s own Cherokee Nation.

Nagle tells the story of the generations-long fight for tribal land and sovereignty in Eastern Oklahoma. By chronicling both the contemporary legal battle and historic acts of Indigenous resistance, By the Fire We Carry stands as a landmark work of American history. The story it tells exposes both the wrongs that our nation has committed in its long history of greed, corruption and lawlessness, and the Indigenous resistance that has shaped our country.

Praise for By the Fire We Carry

“In a fiery account as chilling as a legal thriller, Rebecca Nagle lays bare centuries of injustice in Oklahoma and the southeastern lands from which the American government exiled her ancestors and thousands of other Indigenous peoples. By the Fire We Carry is a clear and courageous call for justice.” —Tiya MIles, author of All That She Carried and Ties That Bind

“This is brilliant journalism and exceptional history. In the best tradition of social justice writing, it challenges the head, breaks the heart, and offers hope for the future.” — Philip J. Deloria, Dakota descent, author of Becoming Mary Sully

“Part legal page-turner, part her own compelling family saga, and part eloquent lament for the horrific way our nation has treated Native Americans over the centuries, Rebecca Nagle’s By the Fire We Carry has also given us something exceedingly rare—a story about Native Americans in the Supreme Court in which the good guys actually win.” —Adam Cohen, author of Supreme Inequality

Masking Policy

Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.

Rebecca Nagle
Rebecca Nagle

Rebecca Nagle

Rebecca Nagle is an award-winning reporter, writer, and citizen of Cherokee Nation. She is the creator and host of Crooked Media’s chart-topping podcast This Land. Her work has been featured in The Atlantic, the Washington Post, the Guardian, USA Today, Teen Vogue, the Huffington Post, among other outlets. Nagle lives in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Photo Credit: Sean Scheidt

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

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