The myth of American Indian disappearance has long served the interests of North America’s European and American settlers. From images enshrined on official seals to pageantry that invokes a “primitive past,” narratives about the continent’s Native peoples argue for their gradual fading from the landscape to make way for the creation of modern society. Scholarship in recent years has challenged these formulations, showing that American Indians have persisted and adapted to changing circumstances. Indeed, in a refutation to the popular imagination, most Native Americans now live in the cities and towns of North America, maintaining a presence that goes back to their founding.

Usner makes a considerable contribution to this growing interdisciplinary literature by demonstrating that the city of New Orleans is “an ideal place for studying how American Indians utilized urban space in dynamic ways over the centuries” (xii), specifically the 200 years following the arrival of the French...

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