Award Winner
John Whitmer Historical Association Best Anthology

Essays on American Indian and Mormon History

P. Jane Hafen
Brenden W. Rensink

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9781607816904 (hardback)
9781607816911 (ebook)

American Indians have long played a central role in Mormon history and its narratives. Their roles, however, have often been cast in support of traditional Mormon beliefs and as a reaffirmation of colonial discourses.

This collection of essays, many the result of a seminar hosted by the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University, explores the historical and cultural complexities of this narrative from a decolonizing perspective. Essays cover the historical construction of the “Lamanite,” settler colonialism and the Book of Mormon, and connections between the Seneca leader Handsome Lake and Joseph Smith. Authors also address American Indian Mormon tribal identities, Navajo and Mormon participation at the dedication of Glen Canyon Dam, the impact of Mormon Polynesian missionaries in Diné Bikéyah, the ISPP, and other topics. Prominent American Indian Mormon voices lend their creative work and personal experiences to the book.

With the aim of avoiding familiar narrative patterns of settler colonialism, contributors seek to make American Indians the subjects rather than the objects of discussion in relation to Mormons, presenting new ways to explore and reframe these relationships.