Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-10-2016

Major Department or Program



Shampa Biswas; Melisa Casumbal-Salazar


Drawing on insights from indigenous politics and theories on settler-colonialism, this thesis retraces the early history of Whitman College and interrogates those myths and fantasies which function at the heart of the Whitman community's self-understanding. Non-theoretical sources include records and primary sources from the Whitman College and Northwest Archives as well as accounts recently published by members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). This thesis argues that the Whitman College identity is fabricated through a series of myths and colonial fantasies, manifested in the physical composition of the campus, the Whitman imaginary, and this community's daily practices. It also argues that white supremacy persists as a fundamental component of these fantasies, dictating not only this community's acknowledgement and understanding of race, but also various efforts to shield this community from confronting the terms of its very existence.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Waiilatpu Mission (Wash.), Marcus Whitman (1802-1847), Narcissa Prentiss Whitman (1808-1847), Whitman Massacre (1847), American imperialism, Identity (Philosophical concept), Missionaries, Pacific Northwest -- History, Whitman College 2016 -- Dissertation Collection -- Politics Department

Permanent URL

Document Type

Public Accessible Thesis

Terms of Use

If you have questions about permitted uses of this content, please contact the ARMINDA administrator



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).