This article traces a discursive lineage from a 2013 Second Amendment billboard campaign in Colorado to visual accounts of white settler nostalgia that circulated in the 1860s. The billboard foregrounds fantasies of indigeneity for a contemporary political discourse of “gun rights” and quite literally backgrounds the reciprocities of nineteenth-century contexts of violence: the Civil War specifically, and genocide and enslavement more generally. The article reveals a correspondence between the Confederacy, white militias, and the so-called peace-making efforts on the Great Plains after the Civil War. It contends that fantasies and projections of white settler nostalgia remain resonant in contemporary gun rights debates, while the Second Amendment’s inextricable relations to settler colonialism, slavery, and white supremacy remain suppressed.
KT Thompson is assistant professor of English and American studies at the College of William and Mary. Thompson is the author of Blanket (2018), Settler Contingencies, Indigenous Futures (forthcoming), and essays in Tin House, Avidly, ISLE, and the Atlantic.
KT Thompson; Stock Histories. Social Text 1 March 2019; 37 (1 (138)): 107–115. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01642472-7286288
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