The (De)Colonization of Memory: A Critical Analysis of United States History Textbooks and the Struggle for Indigenous Futurity
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIn this dissertation, analyze how settler narratives normalize representations of the settler in relation to Indigenous peoples that bolster settler futurity through the colonization of our collective memory. Drawing on the tenets of Tribal Critical Race Theory (TribalCrit) I focus on the permeation of colonization in US society while centering Ojibwe knowledge to assist in the analysis of settler colonization (Brayboy, 2005). Critical Content Analysis (CCA) and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) complement the TribalCrit framework to reveal patterns, norms, and values of settler narratives in two US history textbooks from Pearson for California and Texas. Overall findings highlight how the forms of representation support settler discourse and related norms and values in US history textbooks that silence Indigenous voices. In my analysis, I critically highlight profit motivations, claims to scholarly authority, portrayals, Indigenous critiques of citizenship, and land relations in the textbooks. I also demonstrate how, despite minor linguistic differences between the textbooks produced for California and Texas, shared terms, and rhetorical strategies across both versions of the textbooks and accompanying materials control the characterization of Indigenous people. This includes the portrayal violence against Indigenous peoples and settler expansion, and how language frames Americanization as assimilation in ways that obscure genocide while promoting “democratic progress.” I further analyze how the framing and language used in the textbooks and accompanying materials generates settler affect (Fanon 1963/2004; Nasser & Nasser, 2008) that maintain the settler society and settler futurity. In the final chapter, I extend the concept of refusal from the work of Tuck and Yang (2014), Audra Simpson (2014), and Leanne Simpson (2017), I conceptualize a pedagogical practice that I call historical refusal, and include critical questions that teachers can utilize to identify, and critically reflect on, the construction and content of historical narratives in US textbooks to challenge settler narratives in high school classrooms.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading & Culture