Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Anthropology

First Advisor

Christina F. Kreps

Second Advisor

Dean J. Saitta

Third Advisor

Kelly Fayard

Fourth Advisor

Annabeth Headrick


Critical museology, Decolonization, Indigenous aesthetics, Museum anthropology, Visual sovereignty


The nature of this research is to explore the idea of visual sovereignty within contemporary Native American art, and how this concept engages with practices of decolonization. Through conducting semi-structured interviews with five artists who selfidentify as Native American, I explore how the artists engage with this concept, what visual narratives their artwork presents, and how their works function as acts of decolonization. I connect their narratives to a broader conversation of critical museology and museum anthropology within museum spaces including how to reconsider the art/artifact divide, how to frame Indigenous arts reception through Indigenous aesthetics, and how their narratives add multiplicity to the concept of sovereignty. This research utilizes critical ethnography and narrative methodology to present the data, which is interpreted through the frameworks of visual sovereignty, Tribal Critical Race Theory, and both relational and Indigenous aesthetics.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Laura A. Hughes


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

183 p.


Museum studies, Native American studies