Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Patricia Ehrkamp


This thesis analyzes the relationship between settler colonialism and public memory in B.F. Nelson Park, a downtown park in Minneapolis. My focus is the Pioneer statue, a large granite memorial depicting a frontier family in the middle of the park, which I examine through the lenses of race, gender, power, and violence. Using archival and landscape analysis I examine the historical and present built environment of the park and how it relates to white supremacy. Through interviews of two municipal constituencies, I evaluate how these organizations maintain present narratives of European settlement and in turn uphold the monument. This research seeks to understand how settler state power is consolidated through the frontier mythology and American exceptionalism found in the Pioneer statue. I argue that various forms of visual and verbal resistance to the monument speak to the power of decolonial refusal of settler sites, like the Pioneer monument.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This research was supported by Barnhardt Withington Research Funding in 2020.