Exchanging Gifts with the Dead

Lava Beds National Monument and Narratives of the Modoc War

  • Boyd Cothran
    University of Minnesota


This article considers the 1988 dedication of a memorial to United States–Indian violence in far northeastern California to explore the possibilities of historical justice through commemoration andhistorical revisionism. The author explores the anthropological and sociological concept of the gift to expose the limitations of a multicultural marketplace of remembering and forgetting that suffuses moments of purported historical justice-making. Ultimately, the article forwards a critique of liberal multiculturalism's call for inclusion by suggesting that multicultural historical revisionism oftenobscures power relations by offering the gift of equal inclusion within a national narrative. In the place of equivalency, the author argues for the necessity of a multivocal unequivalency thatacknowledges the presence of power in narrations of the past.

Published: 2011-01-01
Pages:30 to 40
Section: Articles
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How to Cite
Cothran, B. (2011). Exchanging Gifts with the Dead: Lava Beds National Monument and Narratives of the Modoc War. International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, 4(1), 30-40. https://doi.org/10.5204/ijcis.v4i1.69