Memories that haunt: layered landscapes of historical trauma on the American plains

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2 Scopus citations


This article explores the impact of American colonization on two American Indian communities, the Cheyenne and Arapaho, through the oral histories and personal narratives of tribal members. These stories were prompted by a series of photographs collected by Jesse H. Bratley–an Indian School teacher working on the Cheyenne-Arapaho reservation at the turn of the century–which were shared with these communities in 2016. Housed at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Bratley’s images speak to the subtle ways that photography confirmed and conformed to the assimilationist rhetoric of the United States federal government. When shared with tribal members, Bratley’s images produced a bricolage of memories, evoking layered stories of trauma and persistence. These narratives offer new insights into the relationship between martial violence, the American Indian education system, and the intergenerational historical trauma experienced by these two communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)736-749
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 3 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • American Indian education system
  • Cheyenne and Arapaho
  • historical trauma
  • social memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Conservation
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Museology


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