History, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 4-28-2014


Baligh Ben Taleb. "Accounts of Settler Colonialism: A Comparative Study of the Dakota & Palestinians’ Plight." M.A. Thesis, University of Nebraska, 2014.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: History, Under the Supervision of Professor Victoria Smith. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Baligh Ben Taleb


Over the course of the nineteenth century, American settlers spread throughout the Western frontier, driving out indigenous populations to establish unique and permanent homelands of their own. In doing so, they caused the death and displacement of thousands of Plains Indians, including the Dakota people in the young state of Minnesota in 1862. Indeed, the US-Dakota War represented a salient instance of settler colonial expansion on the frontier, triggering a bloody conflict between the Dakota Sioux and American military expeditions led by Henry H. Sibley. This paper attempts to contextualize this war within the broader framework of settler colonialism and examines the white settlers’ rhetoric of exclusion that validated the mass hanging and dispossession of the Dakota people.

Equally important, this paper examines the settler colonial enterprise in Palestine since the rise of Zionism until around the 1967 War. It looks at a body of Zionist settler colonial practices in Palestine in tandem with the tragedy of Lydda––the very epicenter of the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1948. This is not, however, to essentialize both historical experiences, it certainly tends to highlight few practices of settler colonialism in America and Israel such as the discursive strategy of exclusion cloaked within Dakota ‘heathenism’ and ‘savagery’ and Zionist “obsessional imperative” of being ethnically pure to the detriment of thousands of Palestinian Arabs.[1] It is beyond this paper’s scope to deliver parochial tablets; rather it tends to explore the underpinnings and practices of settler colonialism on the Dakota and the Palestinian peoples. Two cases different in time and space, but they share certain psychodynamics of settler colonialism.

Adviser: Victoria Smith

[1] Lorenzo Veracini. Settler Colonialism: A Theoretical Overview. (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010): 61.