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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Young, Kathleen Z.

Second Advisor

Hammond, Joyce D., 1950-

Third Advisor

French, Kristen


Textbooks are the guiding documents for high school history courses in the United States, and states create their own education standards for their students. Washington State expects students to consider indigenous peoples' perspective on United States history to be one of genocide. Given this mandate, textbooks used in Washington State are responsible for presenting that perspective. That responsibility is primarily placed on textbooks because they represent a disproportionate amount of the curricular materials used in United States history classes across the country. A sample of six textbooks representing half of those currently used in Whatcom County, Washington, was analyzed for the inclusion of best practices for genocide education when discussing indigenous peoples. Textbooks were coded using content analysis of the text, images and captions, as well as semiotic analysis of selected images and their framing on the page. Texts' representations of victims of the Holocaust were used as a basis for comparison because of their universally recognized status as victims of genocide. My findings suggest that the perspectives of both groups of victims are inadequately represented in the textbooks, but in very different ways, and that these misrepresentations could be interpreted as complicity in continuing the genocides against the two groups.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Indians, Treatment of--North America--History--Textbooks; Indians of North America--Study and teaching; Genocide--North America--History--Textbooks; Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--History--Textbooks




masters theses




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