American Indian Decolonization in the West

A Shoshone family from Washakie in Logan, May 1909. USU Special Collections photo.

A Shoshone family from Washakie in Logan, Utah, May 1909. USU Special Collections photo.

The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour (Original Air date: March 18, 2015) – Dr. Leo Killsback, Associate Professor in American Indian Studies at Arizona State University, spoke at the Hinckley Institute of Politics on February of 2015.  A member in the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Killsback reexamines the legacy of colonialism in the West from a social and legal framework.  His work focuses on tribal government, indigenous leadership and critical theories of decolonization and deconstruction.

Decolonization is a process of encouraging American Indians to reclaim their heritage, their language, and their culture. It’s a process intended to help elevate native morale, and proceed closer to the overarching mission of self-determination for modern American Indians living on reservations in the West.  Currently, one in three American Indians reside on tribal lands, while one in four live in poverty. Both of these realities are closely tied to the lasting impacts of colonization of their land. According to Killsback, many tribal leaders agree that total sovereignty over their land is needed for sustaining their cultures. And, it may be a productive step toward economic development for tribes across the U.S.

Dr. Killsback’s talk was recorded at the University of Utah on February 23, 2015.