Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Indigenous communities have inhabited Louisiana since time immemorial. However, the national project of teaching the rise of the West as a heroic story remains the curricular centerpiece in elementary and high school history classes in North America. As a curriculum theorist, and former science and history teacher, I am concerned with the ways in which my teachings of colonialism’s cultural, historical, and national narratives suppress and silence the stories of the colonized. Therefore, the purpose of this paper (based on a four-year qualitative study) is to share oral histories of the United Houma Nation in order to illustrate their daily lives inside and outside the colonizers’ institutional systems. Louisiana’s political, judicial and educational institutions recently settled the longest desegregation lawsuit in American history. My dissertation research illustrates historically how Louisiana’s State apparatus dictated educational exclusion through the infamous Jim Crow policies of racial segregation. Like many African-American communities in the south, the United Houma Nation did not have any access to “White” systems of public education until the mid-1960s. An Indian identity denied the United Houma Nation from having access to African American schools as well. Community members were excluded—racially—from Louisiana’s educational institutions. Very little research has been done the United Houma Nation and their historical relationships with Louisiana’s educational systems. The potential social significance for revisiting history via qualitative research methods that stress situating and contextualizing local voices is that it becomes a way for transforming both the content and the purpose of history.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Petra Munro Hendry



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