Date of Award

Summer 2020

Degree Type


Director of Thesis

Dr. Courtney Lewis

First Reader

Dr. Brooke Bauer

Second Reader

Dr. Brooke Bauer


Government apologies issued for American settler-colonialism, instances of mis-racialization, and instances of misrepresentation of Native American peoples – such as the joint resolutions passed by President Clinton and the 103rd Congress and President Obama and the 111th Congress – reflect the strategies used to justify the United States’ removal and assimilation policies. These same strategies are evident in the ways which historic and modern media representations transform Native Americans into a monolithic racial ‘other.’ Trump’s evocation of “Pocahontas” as a racial slur and Warren’s participation in a DNA test during Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren’s debate over Warren’s claims to Native American ancestry most clearly illustrate the ways politicians interpret, use, and rely on the ‘Indians’ represented in settler-colonial media. The politicians both simultaneously draw from and perpetuate settler-colonial traditions. Using Jean Dennison’s framework of “colonial entanglement,” and building off the works of Kim Tallbear, Phillip J. Deloria, and Edward Jason Black, I examine American politics, apologies, and media representations of Native Americans as agents of settler-colonialism which intersect to carry out a coordinated attack on Native American sovereignty. My work uses the lens of the “apology” to reveal settler-colonialism to be entangled, intentional, and ongoing.

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© 2020, Hannah M Bauer