Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Sociology

Major Professor

Laurel Graham, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Jennifer Friedman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Cheryl Ellerbrock, Ph.D.

Keywords

Master‘s Tools, Formula Stories, Mythologies, Stereotypes, Traditional Knowledge, Nature, Identity

Abstract

W. E. B. Du Bois‘ legendary reflections on the ―peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one‘s self through the eyes of others‖ has been applied almost exclusively to the souls of African American people (Du Bois 1903). This thesis shows how the concept of double-consciousness is alive in the stories told by Native Americans. I draw upon data from two websites that have recorded the stories told by ―exemplary indigenous elders, historians, storytellers and song carriers‖ and their oral traditions that serve the ―purpose of cultural preservation, education, and race reconciliation‖ (Wisdom of the Elders, 2009). From that population, I chose one hundred and three stories for my sample in this study. Employing qualitative methodology – thematic analysis, grounded theory, and narrative analysis - I examine these stories for the ways in which they claim to present a more satisfying identity for Native people than the myths, formula stories, and stereotypes of Native Americans that circulate through the dominant culture. They construct subversive stories that arise from their double-consciousness and challenge hegemonic concepts of Native identity, nature, and knowledge. This research will begin to fill the large gap in sociological literature on Native Americans in general and Native Americans in particular, while offering a novel application of ―double-consciousness,‖ a foundational concept in critical race theory.

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