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Deconstructing trauma

Description

This dissertation describes a qualitative research study that was conducted in order to deconstruct the notion of trauma using a resiliency framework in one Pueblo Indian community in New Mexico.

This dissertation describes a qualitative research study that was conducted in order to deconstruct the notion of trauma using a resiliency framework in one Pueblo Indian community in New Mexico. Trauma is widely discussed in relation to mental health issues impacting Indigenous peoples worldwide, as demonstrated in my review of the literature and throughout this work. Yet, the result of most research tends towards pointing out deficiencies in Indigenous communities. Rarely, if ever, is trauma explored through a strengths-based and resiliency approach. This study represents the first attempt to do so in and with a Pueblo Indian community. As a Pueblo researcher working with my own community of Kewa, my goal was to go back to the very people consistently being studied, that is, the Indigenous community, and to re-examine what is trauma, including its definitions and with a focus on local culturally-based interventions.

This work is broken down into three components that are woven together through the common theme of understanding, deconstructing, and addressing trauma: a journal article, book chapter and policy brief. The journal article is titled: “Walking the Path: A Pueblo Journey through Trauma and Healing.” The journal article begins by reviewing concepts on trauma and resilience documented in a literature. I both review the literature and offer critiques from the perspective of a Pueblo Indian researcher working in the field of health. This segues into my dissertation study. A series of eight qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted using an interview guide with open-ended questions. I found that participants reported ample evidence of both trauma and resilience, documenting the need for further research in this area and, most importantly, a values-based intervention. Critical in my research findings is that participants revealed the types of trauma relevent to Pueblo people, which points to our understanding of local issues that may also resonate with the experiences of other Indigenous peoples but that are intended to speak to Pueblo communities. Through my research, I consistently assert that understanding trauma also includes the need to document how Pueblo people have coped and overcome their trauma. These forms of resilience were also documented in the findings.

The book chapter is titled, “Using Pueblo Values to Heal from Trauma.” This section of the dissertation details Pueblo values and the implications on trauma. Pueblo values are described in detail based on my research and explicated in relation to theory that I propose. In this book chapter, I argue that these Pueblo values play an integral role in how we cope and heal from trauma. To summarize what participants explained, the idea is proposed that following these values will lead you to “the right path.” Suggestions for an ideal intervention based on participant interviews include the development of a values-based curriculum whose success is contingent on following Pueblo values that teaches values as defined by the Pueblo community.

My dissertation concludes with a policy section that focuses on “Finding the Path when you have Fallen Off.” This section talks about “cultural freezing” and the need to integrate positive cultural identity in youth, who are especially vulnerable in Indigenous communities, through the development of a values-based curriculum. The policy section will focus on the implications of trauma concepts defined for Native People that have demonstrated the need to process trauma. In order to process trauma, culturally-relevant frameworks and curricula such as “Transcending the Trauma” or “Gathering of Native Americans” (GONA) have been developed to help guide communities to begin the conversation around trauma. These discussions help to raise awareness around trauma and help people begin their healing journey. However, these developed concepts, frameworks and curricula have only started the journey and now there is a significant need for interventions to sustain recovery from trauma. These interventions also must include levels of individual and community readiness to address trauma and align with the values of the community and individual. It is a step we need to take to decolonize education and unfreeze culture

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  • 2018

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Diné decolonizing education and settler colonial elimination: a critical analysis of the 2005 Navajo Sovereignty in Education Act

Description

In 2005 the Navajo Nation Tribal Council passed the Navajo Sovereignty in Education Act (NSEA). The NSEA has been herald as a decisive new direction in Diné education with implications

In 2005 the Navajo Nation Tribal Council passed the Navajo Sovereignty in Education Act (NSEA). The NSEA has been herald as a decisive new direction in Diné education with implications for Diné language and cultural revitalization. However, research has assumed the NSEA will lead to decolonizing efforts such as language revitalization and has yet to critically analyze how the NSEA is decolonizing or maintains settler colonial educational structures. In order to critically investigate the NSEA this thesis develops a framework of educational elimination through a literature review on the history of United States settler colonial elimination of Indigeneity through schooling and a framework of decolonizing education through a review of literature on promising practices in Indigenous education and culturally responsive schooling. The NSEA is analyzed through the decolonizing education framework and educational elimination framework. I argue the NSEA provides potential leverage for both decolonizing educational practices and the continuation of educational elimination.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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White man's moccasins, we have their shoes, they have our land: the footprints left by the U.S. trust doctrine on Pueblo Indian peoples and a suggestion for transformation through an economic lens

Description

ABSTRACT

Because economic advancement has been defined by Western society and not by Indigenous peoples themselves, the material gains of such narrowly defined notions of advancement have long been an elusive

ABSTRACT

Because economic advancement has been defined by Western society and not by Indigenous peoples themselves, the material gains of such narrowly defined notions of advancement have long been an elusive dream for many Indigenous communities in the United States. Many reasons have been given as to why significant economic advancement through a Western materialistic lens has been unattainable, including remoteness, the inability to get financing on trust land, and access to markets. These are all valid concerns and challenges, but they are not insurmountable. Another disconcerting reason has been the perception that the federal government through its trust responsibility is to do everything for the tribes, including economic advancement, job creation and economic diversification. Despite the problematic nature of this lens, this work is concerned with both how Indigenous--and particularly southwestern tribal, Pueblo Indian nations--interpret and participate in the drive to achieve measures of prosperity for their communities. Granted, the U.S. government does have a trust responsibility to assist tribes, however, that does not mean tribes are relieved of their obligation to do their part as well. Here, I provide an observation of the notion of government responsibility towards tribes and ultimately suggest that there is a strong and devastating addiction that hinders Indigenous communities and impacts economic advancement. This addiction is not alcoholism, drugs, or domestic violence. Instead, this is an addiction to federal funds and programs, which has diminished Indigenous inspiration to do for self, the motivation to be innovative, and has blurred responsibility of what it means to contribute. I will also include the need to utilize data to develop new economic policies and strategies. Last, I will include a policy suggestion that will be aimed at operationalizing the trust reform and data concepts. While discussing these challenges, my focus is to moreover offer a suggestion of how to strategize through them. Drawing from Pueblo Indian examples, the argument becomes clear that other Indigenous citizens across the lower forty-eight have an opportunity to break the prescribed mold in order to advance their economies and on their terms.

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Date Created
  • 2015

Sustainable communities: through the lens of Cherokee youth

Description

This study argues for Indigenous-led community development as a salient field of study whereby both theory and practice would be held to the goals of decolonizing entrenched systems that suppress

This study argues for Indigenous-led community development as a salient field of study whereby both theory and practice would be held to the goals of decolonizing entrenched systems that suppress indigeneity, as well as embodying processes to rediscover, regain, and reimage aspects integral to Indigenous well-being and sustainability. Building on fieldwork with Cherokee youth in Stilwell, OK using community mapping and photovoice methods, it is argued that holistic and culturally relevant frameworks that fully situate such salient factors are needed when examining topics related to sustainability, well-being, and resurgence in Native American communities. Utilizing youth narratives, the study proposes a starting point for a Cherokee-led community development framework.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Indigenous youth as critical agents of biocultural survivance: education and employment in response to the challenges of global heating and climate disruption

Description

These are unprecedented times. Like never before, humans, having separated themselves from the web of life through the skillful use of their opposable thumbs, have invented the means of extinction

These are unprecedented times. Like never before, humans, having separated themselves from the web of life through the skillful use of their opposable thumbs, have invented the means of extinction and have systematized it for the benefit of the few at the expense of all else. Yet humans are also designing fixes and alternatives that will soon overcome the straight line trajectory to ugliness and loss that the current order would lead the rest of humanity through. The works in this dissertation are connected by two themes: (1) those humans who happen to be closely connected to the lands, waters and wildlife, through millennia of adaptation and inventive association, have a great deal to share with the rest, who, through history have become distanced from the lands and waters and wildlife they came from; and (2) as the inheritors of all the insults that the current disrespectful and wasteful system is heaping upon all true sensibilities, young people, who are Indigenous, and who are the critical generation for biocultural survival, have an immense role to play - for their cultures, and for all of the rest. The survivance of autochthonous culture through intergenerational conduct of cultural practice and spirituality is profoundly affected by fundamental physical factors of resilience related to food, water, and energy security, and the intergenerational participation of youth. So this work is not so much an indictment of the system as it is an attempt to reveal at least two ways that the work of these young Indigenous people can be expedited: through the transformation of their education so that more of their time as youths is spent focusing on the wonderful attributes of their cultural associations with the lands, waters, and wildlife; and through the creation of a self-sustaining youth owned and operated enterprise that provides needed services to communities so they can adapt to and mitigate the increasingly variable, unpredictable, and dangerous effects and impacts of global heating and climate disruption.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Attaching your heart: community engagement and innovative youth programming with Pueblo communities

Description

This dissertation explores the notion of Pueblo community engagement at multiple levels, from the communities’ role in engaging its members, the individual’s responsibility in engaging with the community, both the

This dissertation explores the notion of Pueblo community engagement at multiple levels, from the communities’ role in engaging its members, the individual’s responsibility in engaging with the community, both the community and individual’s engagement relationship with external forces, and the movement towards new engagement as it relates to youth and community. This research recognizes both the existing and the changing nature of engagement in our Pueblo communities. Because the core value of contribution is critical to being a participant in community, both participants and communities need to think of what needs to be done to strengthen Pueblo community engagement , for community and for youth. On the community side, this dissertation examines past community programs impact to the social structures of Pueblo communities and highlights a couple of new strategies to incorporate community voice in programming efforts. In addition, this dissertation explores youth contribution to community. The notions of community recognizing and being receptive to new ideas for youth engagement and of instilling their sense of community in youth is critical to the ‘new engagement’ paradigm. This dissertation proposes that one strategy is to incorporate youth in the governance structures of community through innovative programming with the ultimate goal of instilling in youth the feeling that they belong to their community.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Improving the New Mexico Indian health care system: Pueblo core values and federal policy

Description

Due to the history of colonization, disruption of Indigenous life ways, and encroachment of external Western ideals and practices upon tribal peoples in New Mexico, the protection and preservation of

Due to the history of colonization, disruption of Indigenous life ways, and encroachment of external Western ideals and practices upon tribal peoples in New Mexico, the protection and preservation of tribal customs, values, traditions, and ways of thinking are critical to the continued existence of the tribes. It has taken many years for tribal communities, such as the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, to get to where they find themselves today: In a paradoxical situation stemming from the fact that Pueblo people are told to pursue the iconic American Dream, which was not actually designed or intended for tribal peoples and that always seems to be just out of reach for many community members. Yet many of them do their best to emulate the capitalistic consumption and the Western way of life. What is troubling about this is that perhaps many of these people are starting to forget that it was the strength of their ancestors and their dreams that allowed Pueblo people to be here today. So, how do Pueblo people address this paradox? How do they begin to give newer generations, such as the youth, the tools to question and to assess future programs and the future of the tribal communities? Furthermore, what does such a process of preserving and reclaiming mean for future governance? Are these communities prepared to accept the outcomes?

This compilation seeks to address these issues by examining a) the creation and delivery of Western medicine for American Indians in New Mexico and b) a discussion of Pueblo culture and belief systems. The exploration will include not only discussing health and health care concerns, but it will also engage the future considerations that tribal governments in New Mexico, specifically Pueblo Indian communities, must reflect on to ensure the preservation of the culture and values of Pueblo people. Finally, specific recommendations for action and discussion will be delivered in the form of a policy paper that is designed for tribal leadership and tribal administrative audiences and suggested for implementation.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Sociocultural perspectives on sovereignty, citizenship, identity, and economic development with implications for Isleta Pueblo

Description

In these three pieces, I expand my thoughts about the functional relationships that sociocultural notions of identity and belonging, and economic development (nation building) of Isleta Pueblo have to citizenship.

In these three pieces, I expand my thoughts about the functional relationships that sociocultural notions of identity and belonging, and economic development (nation building) of Isleta Pueblo have to citizenship. The journal article, "Sociocultural perspectives on sovereignty, citizenship, identity, and economic development with implications for Isleta Pueblo," builds a framework for understating the current social dynamic of a United States Indigenous community in this present time. In the journal article, I draw from Western philosophers and activist scholars including Indigenous authors, to problematize notions of citizenship and full-participation with its emphasis on rights, and reflections from the filed about my personal upbringing to further the argument about identity. For the book chapter, "Isleta Pueblo Economic Development and Citizenship," I expand on the relationship of Isleta Pueblo citizenship, notions of sovereignty, and economic development. The book chapter will discuss the theory of nation building using some comparative examples taken from other countries in order to broaden the conversation on Indigenous economic development and what it currently does and might entail, especially as related to citizenship. The policy paper brief will provide a summary, findings, history, and recommendations for the identity crisis Tribal Youth are experiencing with regard to a blood quantum policy. The policy paper brief is intended for the tribal leadership of my community to consider.

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  • 2015

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An exploration of three generations of a Jemez Pueblo family impacted by federal Indian relocation policy: identity, indigeneity, and notions of belonging

Description

This dissertation is comprised three main sections including a journal article, book chapter and a policy reflection piece. My guiding research question is the following—How do Jemez Pueblo people and

This dissertation is comprised three main sections including a journal article, book chapter and a policy reflection piece. My guiding research question is the following—How do Jemez Pueblo people and their descendants who migrated to California as a result of the Relocation Act of 1956 define their cultural identities?

The journal article seeks to address the question: How can we explore the experiences of Urban Native Americans from a strengths-based approach, restructuring dominant narratives, and breaking barriers between urban and reservation spaces? Additionally, the journal article will provide a literature overview on urban American Indian experiences, including the stories of three generations of my family impacted by the Relocation period, in addition to the major findings of my research study. The book chapter is informed by the following question: How might Pueblo perspectives of identity benefit from examining multiple theories of Indigeneity? I seek to explore the complexity of Indigenous identities and examine multiple theories of Indigeneity that can assist Pueblo peoples in thinking about community and membership, and in particular, with regards to those tribal peoples who have relocated away from their Pueblos. I will include salient points from my dissertation research that help us to answer this question.

The policy reflections piece conveys the urgency to address the continued use of blood quantum in our Pueblo communities as a measurement for tribal citizenship. Like many other Indigenous parents, my interest in this issue is of personal importance to me as my own child is not eligible for enrollment in any of my tribal nations; thus, I have had to consider what a post “American Indian” identity is going to look like for her. I want to urge Pueblo communities and tribal governance to begin to rethink notions of citizenry and belongingness rooted in our original instructions, what Pueblo people refer to as our core values. The three sections of this dissertation are interrelated in that they seek to grow a more inclusive Pueblo community in effort to retain our cultural practices and belief systems for generations to come.

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  • 2018

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Learning from action: the case study of CEDAIN

Description

The following study is based on my individual and collective practice as a former staff member of El Centro de Desarrollo Alternativo Indígena A.C., a non-profit who works in the

The following study is based on my individual and collective practice as a former staff member of El Centro de Desarrollo Alternativo Indígena A.C., a non-profit who works in the Sierra Madre Occidental in the north of Mexico, and my experience as a master student in the US. I am developing this research as a reflective instrument to improve the strategies that I have been developing and implementing. To reach this goal I present the concept of praxis, which Paulo Freire and Antonio Gramsci used some years ago, as a methodology to shorten the gap between my practice and theory. Furthermore, I use the theoretical framework of popular education, and other ideas from the complementary fields of community development, and Critical Race Theory/TribalCrit, to shed light on how to improve our practice and the pedagogies we use as part of our work. The main question that is guiding this study is: What is the learning dynamic of organizations and participants who are doing community development work with Indigenous communities? To answer this, I analyze the data I collected in 2016, which includes: two months of participant observation, sixteen in-depth interviews, and one focus group with staff members. The findings of this research suggest that staff members have learned to respect time and culture of the community and to validate local knowledge; community members have shared that they have learned new agricultural practices, production of organic fertilizers and pesticides, earthworm compost, food conservation methods, communication skills and to work together. The ways identified in which participants have learned are: by doing, by observation, by dialogue, by receptivity, by recognition, through meetings and by reflection. The results of this research are consistent with what popular educators say: neutrality is impossible. Practices of the nonprofits do not occur in a vacuum; therefore, the mechanisms of auto analysis and reflection that CEDAIN staff shared, in conjunction with the attempt of this research to unveil the hidden and explicit curriculum of the practices of CEDAIN, are great tools to trigger critical consciousness, challenge what we have taken for granted, and recreate better practices. This research is a result of the compilation and analysis of the narratives, experiences and knowledge of community and staff members who participated in this study. In this sense, these set of ideas, which place grassroots experiences as the principal source of knowledge, could be applied to plan and design future pedagogical interventions.

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Date Created
  • 2018