AuthorBegay, Waylon Nakai
Indigenous Research Methods
Navajo College Students
AdvisorFox, Mary Jo Tippeconnic
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis critical Indigenous qualitative study seeks to examine Diné (Navajo) students’ struggle with success in American mainstream postsecondary institutions. The aim of this research is to explore Diné graduate college student narratives about mainstream higher education and their overall purpose for attending graduate school. The heart of this research is driven by the question: What is the main purpose Diné college students attend mainstream postsecondary institutions in the United States? Two additional questions served as guides: 1.) In what ways is Diné identity & culture important at mainstream postsecondary institutions? 2.) How can mainstream postsecondary institutions incorporate more culturally based frameworks to promote American Indian student success? This study uses the unique framework of Sa’ąh Naagháí Bik’eh Hózhóón (SNBH) philosophy of balance and harmony with the Ałchi Silah (Duality) paradigm identified in Diné Philosophy to examine the overall experiences of Diné college students. In addition, this study draws upon the theoretical framework of Tribal Critical Race Theory (TribalCrit) to map out the depth and scope colonialism and neocolonialism imposes on the experiences of Diné college students in the educational environment of policies and practices, theories(stories) and school traditions of mainstream postsecondary institutions. The specific connection to student success for Diné college students is the deconstruction and reconstruction of the Diné identity in relation to the cultural landscape of U.S. mainstream universities and colleges. A narrative based inquiry (storytelling) approach is utilized to uncover successes, obstacles, and misunderstood factors of mainstream higher education in the U.S. for Diné college students. This study proposes and recommends a Diné centered epistemology to reclaim Diné identity from the hold of 21st century colonialism. A Diné centered epistemology provides within mainstream postsecondary institutions, a space where Diné identity and Diné Philosophy can flourish and benefit Diné people and surrounding communities. A space where a Diné definition of success and education can be envisioned, shared, and honored. The findings of the study emphasize that funding and academic support is needed for not just Navajo college students, but all Indigenous students. In addition, the findings illustrate a real need for an Indigenous designed space within mainstream postsecondary institutions. A site where Natives could have prayer ceremonies and collaborate alongside Native healers and leaders to create curriculum that highlights Indigenous languages and cultures. A place that houses strategic academic guidance from well-informed Indigenous teachers and leaders who work closely with Native Nation (re)Building concepts. A site that resolves inter-tribal conflicts and lets Indigenous peace and unity emerge.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
American Indian Studies