Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Antoinette Jackson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kevin Yelvington, D.Phil.

Committee Member

Roberta Baer, Ph.D.


applied anthropology, critical discourse, critical theory, feminist epistemology, heritage, oral history


The purpose of this applied project is to uncover and interrupt the silencing of memories through the production of public narratives, specifically, the documentation of heritage of members of an indigenous and Afro-descendant community in Waspán, Nicaragua. The project is informed by interviews with seven women ex-combatants in the Contra War (1980-1990). Oral histories, transcribed interviews, and field notes are the source for the content of a book of heritage stories that I produced as one output about the former combatants utilizing their own words. In this thesis, I argue that the values of the “conquering” group of Nicaragua (i.e. the Sandinistas, and specifically the upper class male leadership) are reproduced through the dominant national narratives, which also serve to silence other voices such as the Afro-descendant and indigenous populations, the former Contra Combatants, and the women within the Miskitu ethnic group. I further argue that the ways in which silences are reproduced can be interrupted through this oral history project, which supports the production of alternative narratives that challenge dominant narratives and provide a way for historically silenced groups to “voice” and memorialize their stories. This research project is an effort to support a community in its attempts to give “voice” to narratives that have been “silenced” in official national discourses found in museums, monuments, heritage sites and educational curriculum.