Date of Award

December 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Kumkum Sangari

Committee Members

Kimberly M Blaeser, Josepha Lanters, John L Hall, Ines Hernandez-Avila


critical pedagogy, decolonization, Indigenous Studies, knowledge production, tourism


My dissertation is a study of the ways in which Indigenous writers and theorists suggest we decolonize the sites of knowledge production through our pedagogical and methodological practices. Ultimately, my dissertation is about the power of story and finding the necessary strategies to change the narratives that do harm in our daily lives. I focus on the sites of knowledge production because these are the institutions and practices with which I am the most familiar. The purpose of this work is beyond metaphorical as I strive to forefront the narratives that change the ways in which settler-Indigenous relationships are formed in a geopolitical context. The subjects of this study include textbooks, curriculum requirements, archives, gardens, fieldwork research methodologies, museums, tourist sites, and schools that utilize decolonial praxis. As its primary theoretical framework, this project relies on Doreen Massey’s conceptualization of space as interrelational and ongoing, coupled with Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s definition of intervening as an Indigenizing methodology that changes institutions to serve Indigenous peoples, rather than changing Indigenous peoples to fit institutions. Since the sites of knowledge production are often intertribal, I examine trans-Indigenous strategies for intervening in Eurocentric narrative spaces by using Chadwick Allen’s trans-Indigenous methodologies in my literary analysis. In this study, I also analyze academic tourism — yet to be explored in my field — as the conflation of research methodologies and tourist practices at museums and heritage sites where knowledge is packaged for popular consumption and risks being unethically oversimplified. I expect my dissertation fieldwork on the spatial narrative of the Indian Community School (ICS) in Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) will illuminate necessary strategies to create spaces that reflect our shared visions for a just society.