History ETDs


Lisa Brown

Publication Date



In my work I offer a comparative study of the removal experiences of the Cherokees of Georgia and the Sutherland Gaels in the Highlands of Scotland. Examining the effects of colonialism and cultural imperialism on indigenous populations, the following examines the ways in these peoples mediated their colonial experiences through their own cultural mores, how the removals were carried out, and the resultant impact on these indigenes. The following focuses largely on the role of acculturation, or assimilation, of the elite into the colonizing societys values and life ways, and how this led to a growing distance between the chiefs and commoners of Gaelic and Cherokee societies. In turn, this increasing distance and loss of traditional obligation between chief and clan informed and influenced the role that these indigenous elite played in the ultimate dislocation of their people. In the case of the Cherokee Removal, many monographs provide a dichotomized examination of the events leading up to and surpassing removal from the Southeast; many authors favor either the pro removal or anti removal parties and consequently demonize the opposing party. This work attempts to provide a more balanced representation, offering insight into the reasoning behind each party's stance. Additionally, in regard to the Highland Clearances, the events have been represented as the inevitable result of industrialization and modernization or the cultural genocide of the Highland Gaels. Focusing largely on the Sutherland region, this work offers an examination of the Gaelic elites' reasoning behind the massive removals of Gaels from the inland regions of Sutherland, and the reaction of the average Highlander to this loss of protection and parental interest from their chiefs. This work adds to the growing body of literature in the ethnohistorical examination of Celts and Native Americans and in this way shows the universality of colonialism and its effects on indigenous populations, which is vital to the understanding of history and equally as relevant in today's modern world.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Gauderman, Kimberly

Second Committee Member

Steen, Charlie

Third Committee Member

Calloway, Colin



Project Sponsors

University of New Mexico Center for Regional Studies

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History Commons