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Melanie Fillmore

October 23, 2019 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm MDT

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Thesis Information

Title: Decolonizing Urban American Indian Institutions: Indigenous Political Authority in Boise, Idaho

Program: Master of Arts in Political Science

Advisor: Dr. Brian Wampler, Political Science

Committee Members: Dr. Stephen Utych, Political Science and Dr. Vanessa Anthony-Stevens, School of Public Service


American Indigenous populations are underrepresented in American political science discourse. There is a continual lack of studies that show public perception of American Political institutions and public participation. I argue that contemporary discourses on data and political participation of American Indigenous people are incomplete without framing that data within the context of ongoing settler colonialism. National data shows that nearly 71% of all American Indigenous people live in urban settings. Framing American Indigenous public participation in the American political system requires an in depth examination in the role of American Settler colonial federal authority and its impact on American Indigenous access to recognition and citizenship over time. Public participation must be framed by examining the role of authoritative actions that have led to American Indigenous people to live in cities. And as a result of navigating and overcoming challenges to settler colonialism, this project is an inquiry into learning if ‘practical authority’ is present to claim recognition and citizenship over time and space outside of United States Federal Authority. To show this, I will be utilizing Decolonizing and Indigenous Methodologies to story the creation of an Urban American Indian Organization called The Native American Coalition of Boise (NACOB). I also use political science methods for quantitative data to understand public perception of community participation.