More Than Land: Native American Dispossession at Grand Canyon
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Native American dispossession has been a constant occurrence throughout history since their first contact with European settlers. This thesis examines the different forms of dispossession affecting Native Americans around Grand Canyon National Park. My research focuses on a proposed development project on the Navajo Reservation called the Grand Canyon Escalade, and how this project illuminates three major forms of dispossession in the Navajo community: living legacies of land dispossession, the dispossession of an economic livelihood, and the dispossession of access to and control over sacred places and practices. To conduct my research, I primarily used several qualitative methods, including participant observation in Grand Canyon Semester program, and content and textual analysis of tribal newspapers and websites detailing potential detrimental impacts of the Escalade project, as well as the potential benefits. This thesis draws form the work by William Cronon about land dispossession, while also rejecting the traditional idea that dispossession is limited to land or is a singular event in history. Instead, drawing on scholarship from Dianne Rocheleau, Diana Ojeda and Jennifer Devine, I make the argument that dispossession in an ongoing situation that takes multiple forms, which can be seen through the proposed Escalade project.