Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MIS)

Degree Name

Interdisciplinary Studies

Department or School/College

Interdisciplinary Studies Program

Committee Chair

Robert Baker, English Literature

Commitee Members

Robert Baker, English Literature Richmond Clow, Native American Studies Douglas MacDonald, Anthropology


Indian, non-Indian, civilized, uncivilized, colonialization, decolonization, Pyrrhonian skepticism, satire, humor, buckskin


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Epistemology | Indigenous, Indian, and Aboriginal Law | Legal History | Other American Studies


This thesis is a skeptical treatment of the logical distinctions presumed to exist between “Indian” and “non-Indian” people. Despite representing 99 percent of the U.S. population, “non-Indians” represent a legal identity which has no explicit definition. The basis for the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions regarding non-Indians and Indians rests not on any objective, empirical or logical criterion or proof, but rather on the “assumption of a ‘guardian-ward’ status. This thesis investigates this assumption, and recommends that we suspend judgment on whether the difference between “Indians” and “non-Indians” can be determined either by logical argument or by legal assumption.



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