This study examines closely related public discourses like balance, neutrality, objectivity, and fairness, analyzing the collective barrier they pose to social-justice education. Taking the recent sesquicentennial of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 as a case in point, this study gives an overview of the public pedagogy (Sandlin et al., 2011) that prevailed in southern Minnesota in 2012, encouraging educators to present perspectives on the war in ways commonly considered "balanced,"� "neutral,"� etc., all while urging citizen-scholars to commemorate sacrifices made by the Dakota people and white settlers equally. As I argue, this public pedagogy mediates justice as fairness (Rawls, 1993; Steele, 2005; Seth, 2010), a sense of justice that has a long colonial history in America, promoting the suspension of social contingencies like race so that the historically empowered may make sense and derive comfort from the violently unequal past. To better understand justice-as-fairness discourses as antithetical to critical social-justice education (McLaren, 1995; Grande, 2004; Giroux, 2006; Waziyatawin, 2008), this study proceeds to explore relationships between classroom pedagogy and 2012's larger public pedagogy. Analyzing data collected from fieldnotes, informal conversational interviews, and classroom artifacts, I look carefully into dilemmas these conflicting senses of justice presented to a group of 15 college students and two instructors as they co-authored a successful traveling museum exhibit on the U.S.-Dakota War. Conducting their work at a private, liberal-arts institution located near where the fighting once took place, I investigate various ways students and instructors resisted, negotiated, and reproduced justice-as-fairness discourses that have long encouraged local citizens to suspend moral judgment about how their communities were made. What emerges is a portrait of educators and student knowledge workers setting aside critical prior knowledge about colonialism and racial oppression in order to accommodate the creation of a museum exhibit that would safely mediate a common sense of justice for them and their implied white audience. The study concludes by theorizing pedagogical support for a critical museum-exhibit project on the U.S.-Dakota War that would advocate for regional social change, an exhibit variously envisioned by students but one that ultimately went unwritten for deference to local ideological demands.