Skip to main content
Ada Deer and the Menominee restoration: rethinking Native American protest rhetoric
Argumentation and Advocacy (2017)
  • Margret McCue-Enser, St. Catherine University
Using the Determination for the Rights and Unity of Menominee leader Ada Deer's opening statements at the congressional hearings on restoration, this essay argues Deer inverts the ideals of liberal democracy from being an argument that compelled termination to one that justifies restoration t by focusing on the right to self-determination and equality. Beginning with termination legislation as it was inspired by liberal democracy and capitalism, I explore the effects of termination and the burgeoning 1960s American Indian Movement. Next, I examine Deer and DRUMS’ advocacy through the lens of counterpublic theory and argue it stood in contrast to the confrontational tactics of AIM as an example of political moderation. Finally, I examine Deer's demands for the sovereignty of Menominee land and culture and argue it inverts liberal democracy and turns it into an argument for restoration. In closing, I reflect on the range of political strategies used by Native Americans and argue for a reevaluation of the cultural ideologies brought to bear the scope and study of Native American protest rhetoric.
  • protest rhetoric,
  • American Indian,
  • Ada Deer
Publication Date
Spring February 13, 2017
Citation Information
Margret McCue-Enser. "Ada Deer and the Menominee restoration: rethinking Native American protest rhetoric" Argumentation and Advocacy Vol. 53 Iss. 1 (2017) p. 59 - 76
Available at: