Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Communication and Information

Major Professor

Lori Amber Roessner

Committee Members

Michelle Violanti, Ronald E. Taylor, Julie L. Reed


Issues of American Indian identity and recognition are complex, and, too often, journalists fail to find effective ways of representing Native individuals and issues in the news; however, these issues are not new. This dissertation examines the manner in which news media have misrepresented Native people through historical example. A comprehensive review of nineteenth-century press coverage of the Miami Nation using the lens of critical media discourse offers insight into problematic coverage of Indian issues and individuals, countering tendencies to treat all Native experience as a common, generic narrative. This tendency overlooks the unique historical experiences of different tribal nations as well as the problematic legacy that previous coverage helped to build. Perhaps most importantly, this dissertation allows the Miami to speak in their own voice and exercise self-determination in the way they are represented in the press as well as in the historical record.

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