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(Re)writing California Native American Representations: Amah Mutsun Sovereignty and Educational Experiences of Tribal Elders


Exploring the misrepresentations in the mass media of California Native Americans identifies the root of dehumanizing stereotypes: American Literature. With a historical context of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, this thesis explores the stereotypical misrepresentations that supported European colonizers’ genocidal actions against California Natives. As for misrepresentations impacting today’s educational institutions, examining Amah Mutsun elders’ academic experiences explains how biased ideals and stereotypes impact California Natives’ livelihoods. This thesis uplifts California Native voices through indigenous literature, oral history, and storytelling to highlight accurate representations that honor their ancestors and their modernity to combat misrepresentations. Meanwhile, oral history and storytelling empowers the Amah Mutsun community to nation-build and decolonize through cultural revitalization for self-determination to uphold sovereignty on their terms as a non-federally recognized tribe. Oral history also combines indigenous knowledge systems and education research, where oral history serves to prioritize the voices of participants.

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