Key Terms and Research Vocabulary

Indigenous capital “I”: When writing about Indigenous Peoples, it is important to use a capital “I” because we are talking about actual people who belong to a place and who have influence, status, and recognition within political contexts.

Rhetorical Sovereignty (according to Scott Richard Lyons): “The inherent right and ability of peoples to determine their own communicative needs and desires” (Lyons). In other words, the 574 federally recognized tribes in the US are able to govern themselves separate from the United States government. However, historically, sovereignty among Native American tribes was eroded as treaty after treaty was broken by the United States government, land was stolen, and Indigenous Peoples were systematically killed. 

Settler-colonialism: The displacement of Indigenous Peoples by settlers who form permanent stays in that land.

Non-Native: Peoples, plants, and inanimate objects that do not originate or are not indigenous to a particular location

Decolonization: The undoing or removing of oppressive systems associated with colonial actions.

Museums/Archives: How do museums and archives obtain their collections? Who has historically been in charge of institutions like museums? Who has a say in how museum displays are curated and arranged? Who has access to museums and archives?

Marquette’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives in Raynor Memorial Libraries houses extensive records from a wide range of topics including Marquette’s history to the Catholic Church’s contact with Indigenous Peoples.

Reservations: Indigenous Peoples were forcibly removed from their land onto reservations by the US government in order to force assimilation, create space for settler-colonizers, and ultimately, make Indigenous Peoples disappear. Issues around alcoholism, drug use, and poverty on reservations should be examined with the knowledge of those histories, if not as a root cause of those issues. Today, 78% of Native Americans do not live on reservations and 72% live in urban and suburban areas (Whittle 2017).

Boarding schools/mission schools: School institutions were run by the United States government and religious entities such as the Catholic Church. Their goal was to westernize, forcefully assimilate, and “civilize” Indigenous Peoples. These tactics often entailed traumatic abuses such as forcing students to cut their hair, forbidding students to speak their Native languages, and forcibly removing children from their families. Canada’s boarding school system, called residential schools, were modeled off of the United States boarding school system.

Native American Student Association (NASA): Marquette’s NASA has been at the forefront of protests and resistance in holding the university accountable in moving towards a more equitable and inclusive campus community.

Lyons, Scott Richard. “Rhetorical Sovereignty: What Do American Indians Want from Writing?” College Composition and Communication, vol. 51, no. 3, 2000, pp. 447–68. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.2307/358744. Accessed 3 Aug. 2022.

Whittle, Joe. “Most Native Americans Live in Cities, Not Reservations. Here Are Their Stories.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 4 Sept. 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/04/native-americans-stories-california#:~:text=Today%2C%2078%25%20of%20Native%20Americans,became%20isolated%20from%20their%20communities.