Keely Smith

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History




Keely Smith is a PhD candidate in the Department of History. She studies the relationship between the Muscogee language and sovereignty during the 18th and 19th centuries. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Samford University in 2018 in history, Spanish, and global studies. Her dissertation, “Communicating Sovereignty: A History of the Muscogee Language and Communication Networks, 1715-1880,” uncovers the ways in which the Muscogee language determined the making and maintenance of Muscogee identity and sovereignty in the southeast and Indian Territory, from the reorientation of Native diplomacy during the Yamasee War in 1715 through the implementation of a written Muscogee language in the 1870s and 1880s. She is currently learning the Muscogee language from Instructor Melanie Frye of the University of Oklahoma. In the summer of 2019, Keely participated in the Newberry Consortium in American Indian Studies Summer Institute that focused on Indigenous language revitalization. At Princeton, Keely is the organizer of  the Indigenous Language Alliance at Princeton, project manager and community liaison for the Center for Digital Humanities' Lunaapahkiing Princeton Timetree Project, and an administrative assistant for the Native American Indigenous Studies Initiative at Princeton (NAISIP). 

Selected Publications