Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Geography

Committee Chair

Sarah Halvorson

Commitee Members

Christiane Von Reichert, Jeff Wiltse


Native American policy, Native American Indian Reservations, Rocky Boy Reservation, Discourse, The Chippewa-Cree Tribe


University of Montana


The purpose of this thesis is to analyze the border formation of the Rocky Boy Reservation, which was established in 1916 and is the home of The Chippewa-Cree Tribe. This thesis examines how racialized discourse surrounding The Chippewa-Cree Tribe affected the creation and subsequently the geography of the Rocky Boy Reservation, which is located in north-central Montana near the Canadian border. U.S. Native American policies and their affects on the reservation’s geography are also examined. It is important to analyze discourse and U.S. Native American policy because both influenced the geography of the Rocky Boy Reservation, which significantly contributed to the poverty of The Chippewa-Cree Tribe. The analysis of this thesis was influenced and grounded in the works of geographers, historians, and social theorists who have studied race, discourse, and policy to examine the formation of borders. With this grounded framework archival methodologies were then used to examine the historiography of the Rocky Boy Reservation’s border creation. Historical documents including congressional records, policies, letters, newspaper articles, and a host of other sources were the primary data sources for this study. With the use of these documents, this thesis argues that racialized Anglo-American discourse regarding The Chippewa-Cree Tribe and U.S. Native American policies contributed to the Rocky Boy Reservation’s establishment in an isolated space with few natural resources. In this location agriculture was expected to be the tribe’s main source of livelihood, but it proved to be untenable because the reservation’s boundaries were drawn in an area with few resources. The area was not a suitable location for farming. Therefore, the reservation had an economy based on farming in a space that was not appropriate for it, which left The Chippewa-Cree Tribe in a state of dire poverty. Because of this poverty The Chippewa-Cree Tribe were reliant on the U.S. government for subsidies and other assistance. Subsequently, The Chippewa-Cree Tribe had to follow rules and regulations in order to receive this assistance, which left them marginalized and disempowered.



© Copyright 2014 Brendan Arthur Hoover