Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Maria John

Second Advisor

Elizabeth McCahill

Third Advisor

Tim Hacsi


Each state in our union has a unique history and story as it plays into the formation of the United States; one of the unique and historically relevant narratives to United States is that of Oklahoma. The state of Oklahoma has gone through a multitude of changes over the last several centuries. Unfortunately a significant part of the history that has made Oklahoma so singular continues to be overlooked by the public and through education. Native Americans were forced off their ancestral lands and moved to Oklahoma. The state was then developed through a series of federal acts and invasive Euro-American settlement, but the dominant historical narrative taught in public education across the state, and in public history venues, rarely reflects the harsher realities of the 19th century as they impact Native peoples in Oklahoma. This thesis builds on the works of scholars working at the intersections of history, Native American Studies, and public history, such as Jean O’Brien, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, and Amy Lonetree, in order to shed light on the limitations and active erasures pervasive in the presentation of Oklahoma history. Through the study of Oklahoma museums, high school textbooks, and state standards, this research shows there is a severe lack of representation of Native American histories and peoples in Oklahoma history, and it argues that this lack of representation can lead to an increase in high school dropout rates, continuing cultural genocide, and perpetuation of colonial mentalities.


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