Date of Award

December 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Joe A Austin

Committee Members

Lex A Renda, Aims A McGuinness


Indian, Indian Play, Native


This study examines political and cultural interactions between Native Americans and Euro-Americans during the transition from imperial colonialism to settler colonialism. It employs the concept of entanglement to convey the inextricable linkages that arose between the two groups over time, linkages also marked by the dissimilar effects of contact between them. As such, this study adopts a world history lens, arguing that no culture has historically existed in isolation, so no culture can be effectively studied in isolation. Five case studies explore accelerated tensions between Indians and Whites that resulted through the shifts in negotiations of power between them as settler colonialism gained traction, and as it did so increasingly challenged the understandings that Native Americans held regarding the integrity of their land base. These case studies argue that one of the means by which some Native Americans attempted to retain their sovereignty was through the adaptation of Euro-American political and cultural ideas into their tribal identities. Consequently, there evolved national Native identities which served as an adjunct to tribal identities, yet the defense of Native sovereignty, the foundation of national identity, was increasingly challenged through settler colonialism, so this study explores how Native nations continued to assert their rights of sovereignty regardless of the provisional status granted them as “domestic dependent nations” by the government of the United States.