There have been over five-hundred years of interactions between European Colonizer-settlers and the Indigenous peoples of North America. Starting with the 1493 Doctrine of Discovery through the present, language embedded in documents, laws, policies and popular culture, have created damaging and misleading stereotypes and identities for these Indigenous Peoples, the American Indians. This study connects historical and contemporary perceptions constructing the dominant narrative that informs many people about American Indians. Narrative Paradigm Theory, Critical Race Theory and Indigenous Theories all serve as a lens to deconstruct the legitimacy of the dominant narrative and promote the salience of counter-narratives constructed by American Indians in their efforts to tell their own experience and declare their own identities. The construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline served as a flashpoint thrusting the narratives constructed by dominant culture, and American Indians, into the national and international consciousness. A critical discourse analysis of news reports of this event revealed the competing language, ideologies and worldviews held by those involved in the conflict, as well as consumers of the text and discourse.


Christopher Brown

Committee Member

Gwen Westerman

Committee Member

Kristi Treinen

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Arts and Humanities

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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