Through an analysis of three interpreted mines in northeastern Minnesota, this article illuminates how the region’s public history is complicit in the ongoing process of settler colonialism. Largely controlled by iron mining interests, the region’s public history and tourism industry is deeply invested in the future of mineral extraction, representing mining and white-ethnic mining culture as natural and indigenous to the landscape. This narrative erases Ojibwe presence in the region, ignoring both the role mining played in past environmental injustices as well as how it continues to threaten Ojibwe political and resource sovereignty.
Monumental Mines: Mine Tourism, Settler Colonialism, and the Creation of an Extractive Landscape on Minnesota’s Iron Range
Joseph Whitson is a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota where he has been involved in a number of public history initiatives including co-curating Singing our History, an exhibit on the history of Red Lake Nation, working on the Humanities Action Lab’s Global Dialogues on Mass Incarceration, and contributing to the Minneapolis Public School’s American Indian History curriculum. He has also developed historical interpretation for the Minnesota Historical Society and Three Rivers Park District. He is the founder of Indigenous Geotags, a social media based public humanities initiative focused on public land and Indigenous issues.
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Joseph Whitson; Monumental Mines: Mine Tourism, Settler Colonialism, and the Creation of an Extractive Landscape on Minnesota’s Iron Range. The Public Historian 1 August 2019; 41 (3): 49–71. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2019.41.3.49
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