Dr. Leo Killsback - Westminster College

A M E R I C A N I N D I A N AWA R E N E S S 2 0 1 4
“Colonizing and Decolonizing
Indian Nations:
Rewriting and Re-righting
Indian History ”
Dr. Leo Killsback
November 6, 2014
Prior to colonization, Indian nations enjoyed thousands of years of nation-building, which allowed for a strong
community of shared values and appreciation for ancient tradition. In today’s society, many people—even Indians—are unfamiliar with the ways in which Indians of the past truly lived and thought before the genocidal wars
and assimilation policies of the United States took their toll on the once vibrant cultures. Alcoholism, drug abuse,
violence, political infighting, and other problems plague Indian country–especially those who defied colonialism.
Indian communities continue to suffer from internal dysfunction, and tribal leaders have begun to value white
ways of thinking rather then relying on the legacy of their ancestors. This new trend contributes to more confusion and dysfunction within Native American communities. Few link today’s problems to the historical atrocities
committed during colonization, but recently, some find value in their indigenous identities as a way to reclaim
their humanity. Dr. Leo Killsback is an Indian scholar who has made deliberate efforts to confront modern challenges in a move to decolonize, revitalize, and reawaken indigenous communities, in particular, those of North
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