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SCA 360: Nordic Colonialisms and Postcolonial Studies: Unsettling History Project

Unsettling History Research Project

This assignment may be different from other research projects you have done in the past. This page is designed to help you navigate some of the unique resources you will be using, and how to deal with roadblocks you are likely to face. Since everyone is from somewhere different, each person's research for this assignment will look different based on what is available about your area. This guide presents one roadmap that can help guide you. If you feel lost, ask a librarian for help.

Here are a few tips for this research:

  • Keep track of the information you find, and the place where you found it. It can be difficult to remember tribe names (and all their variants), cession numbers, and treaty dates. Writing this information down, along with the source where you found it, will help you as you progress in your research. It will also help you retrace your steps when you need to go back to a source.
  • Ask: what am I looking at? Are you reading a blog post? An online exhibit? An archival database? A map resource created by a non-profit? A digitized book from the 1850s? A scan of a handwritten treaty? A local history website? Figuring out what type of information you are looking at will help you decide how to use it. For example:
    • a blog post might be worth reading in full, but you may have to be critical of who wrote it and why
    • it is probably not worth your time to try to decipher handwriting from the 1850s, but you might get other information from how it looks
    • a local history website might be succinct, but may also be biased towards settler points of view

If you get stuck, are having trouble using a resource, or feel overwhelmed by all of the information you find, reach out to a librarian! We are experts in doing research, and we are here to help you with yours.


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Citing Unique Sources

This resource is a guide for citing online resources in MLA format including entire websites, a page on a website, tweets, YouTube videos, images and artworks, and more. This page includes the framework for MLA citations, so you can adapt it to the type of resource you are citing and include the information you have. Always try to include as much of the information as you can find, and ask yourself if someone else would be able to locate the same source with just the information in your citation.

If you need help or want to check your citations, ask a librarian!

Getting Started

Local government websites, local or state history websites

Use a Google search to find these. Look for your local chamber of commerce, historical societies, tourism boards, etc. See how local authorities portray the history of your place to locals and visitors. The resources you find may or may not discuss the native people who lived in your area before it was colonized. For example:

Get a sense of the generally accepted historical narrative for your area. For example: St. Peter, Minnesota: History and Treaty of Traverse des Sioux

Follow the links on the information pages for each group you find through the map. Look at "Websites" list and the "Sources" dropdown. These will lead you to sources discussing colonial history, and to websites for local tribes, nations, or bands. For example: Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) Website

Once you have the names of the tribes and nations associated with your area, you can also use a Google search to find other organizations connected to those groups. For example: Dakota Wicohan

Note: You can text your zip code to (855) 917-5263 to find out whose land you are on. Data for this tool comes from

Tips for this website:

  • Click the "Places" checkbox in the lower right corner to see modern place names and political boundaries
  • Toggle "Treaties" and "Languages" in the top left to view geographic areas for that information, including cession numbers and links to language resources

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