Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Committee Chair(s)

Steven P. Camicia


Steven P. Camicia


Cindy D. Jones


Philip L. Barlow


Keri Holt


Barry M. Franklin


The Mountain Meadows Massacre is widely considered to be the most violent and controversial event in Utah’s history. This qualitative study investigates how the massacre has been portrayed to Utah’s schoolchildren through the state’s history and social studies curricula, and why curricular narratives of the massacre have changed with time. The study presents a content analysis documenting changes in curricular narratives of the Mountain Meadows Massacre from the years 1908-2011. The content analysis also compares these narratives with four concurrent sources providing narratives of the massacre: (a) public monuments commemorating the massacre, (b) curricular narratives published by Utah’s dominant religious and cultural institution—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon Church), (c) Paiute Indian narratives of the massacre, and (d) scholarly histories. Using a continuum of Mormon/Paiute culpability as a frame of reference, this research employs literatures from the theory of ideology in curriculum, multicultural education theory, postcolonial theory, and Mormon historiography to provide critical analysis of changes in narratives of the massacre. Data drawn from this analysis are used to answer the following question: What factors have contributed to changes over time in how the Mountain Meadows Massacre has been portrayed in Utah’s public school curricula? The response to this question provides a basis for discussing and understanding the relationship between hegemony and curriculum in Utah society.



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