Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Decolonizing language, memory, and history is an important step in confronting dominant historical narratives in higher education and the general public. This paper focuses on the settlement of the US Intermountain West – where the violent roots of white settlement have been downplayed in the public historical consciousness through the dominant narrative of "pioneer heritage." Beginning with a study of Ogden, Utah, early histories of the area are reexamined, analyzing the contexts in which Native peoples are mentioned (or not) in order to understand their presence by the turn of the twentieth century. Next, my focus moves on to analysis of historical markers in northern Utah and southern Idaho. This chapter examines the influence of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers (DUP) and Indigenous nations upon the ways we collectively remember the violence of settlement, and how it is memorialized in the Intermountain region. I highlight the Bear River Massacre as a case study of the ongoing preservation of memory. Chapter three, guided by Indigenous knowledge and histories through an oral interview with Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation elder and leader, Darren Parry, highlights the work of the NWB in reclaiming their history and their connection to the Intermountain West. Sources include the published history of Weber County, Utah; published and oral histories from the NWB of Shoshone Nation; an unpublished memoir from the settlement period of Ogden; historic monuments and memorials in physical space from the Historical Marker Database; and an oral interview with Darren Parry. This thesis compares and contrasts the preservation of history as it pertains to settlers and Indigenous peoples in an attempt to "decolonize" the history of the Intermountain West. This work decenters white, pioneer narratives while illuminating and uplifting Indigenous ones. In doing this, I make the case for the benefits of decolonizing memory and public history; that providing accessible public history through an Indigenous and decolonial lens – violence and all – is a meaningful way to begin healing and reconciliation with our Indigenous brothers and sisters in addition to providing education for future generations.
Wilson, Chase, "Decolonizing Memory: Erasure and Resurgence of Indigenous History in the Intermountain West" (2023). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations, Spring 1920 to Summer 2023. 8837.
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