Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Valerie J. Janesick


American Indians, Assimilation, colonization, history education, Textbook Bias


The purpose of this study was to describe and explain the portrayal of American Indians in U.S. textbooks selected for review in Hillsborough County, Florida's 2012 textbook adoption. The study identified which of the textbooks under consideration contained the greatest amount of information dedicated to American Indians. The study then analyzed how that information was portrayed. The exploratory questions that guided this study were, how are American Indians portrayed in five selected U.S. history textbooks? It also addresses the question, under what conditions can Tribal Critical Race Theory help illuminate how American Indians are portrayed in textbooks? The methodology used is a critical case study (Rubin and Rubin, 2005; Janesick, 2004). The Five Great Values, as developed by Sanchez (2007), were used in the organization, coding, and analysis of the data. The theoretical framework that guides this study is Tribal Critical Race Theory (Brayboy, 2005), created in order to address issues from an indigenous perspective. This study found that while overt racism has declined, colonialism and assimilation were still used as models when American Indians were depicted in the five selected textbooks. It also discovered the portrayal of American Indian women to be particularly influenced by the models of colonialism and assimilation. Colonization and assimilation can been seen in the depiction of American Indians as a part of nature, the homogenization of American Indian religion, the portrayal of elders as unnecessary, the exclusion of American Indian role models, and the use of Western socioeconomic models rather than indigenous ones.

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