The Blood of Father Lehi : Indigenous Americans and the Book of Mormon
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, ProQuest Disserations Publishing
The Book of Mormon, published in New York in 1830, has been described and understood by many Mormons to be a "history of the American Indians." It tells of a family who left Jerusalem around 600 BCE and migrated to a "Promised Land," generally understood to be the American continents, and who became the progenitors of Indigenous American peoples. As a text produced by Euroamericans, the Book of Mormon can be situated as part of a larger colonial imaginary that envisions Native peoples as lost Israelites. However, many American Indian people have converted to Mormonism or have grown up in the Mormon faith. For many, the Book of Mormon narrative has become an integral part of their Indigenous identity and subjectivity.
This dissertation is an ethnographic exploration and analysis of how the Book of Mormon informs the Indigenous subjectivities of Indigenous American Latter-day Saints (Mormons). It is based on fieldwork conducted in Catawba, Shoshone, and Confederated Blackfoot nations.