Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Department or School/College

School of Education

Committee Chair

Frances L. O'Reilly

Commitee Members

Roberta Evans, John Matt, William P. McCaw, Kathryn Shanley


University of Montana


This qualitative study examined the role of Native Lifeways in tribal colleges as perceived by their presidents and other influential leaders on the campuses of three tribal colleges. Tribal colleges were founded in part to support and promote Native Lifeways, as demonstrated within their respective mission statements. Given the fact that TCUs are at the forefront of the defense of Native Lifeways, they continue to be in a state of endangerment as a result of the history of U.S. Indian Policy.

Data was acquired from the face-to-face interviews of 15 leaders within the three tribal colleges located in northwest United States. The data were analyzed through the process of grounded theory, as described by Strauss and Corbin (1990), Tesch (1990), and Creswell (1994). Three coding procedures were used to analyze the data: open coding, axial coding and selective coding. During the stage of open coding, six categories emerged: (a) Indigenous Lifeways are Core, (b) Need to do More, (c) President’s Role, (d) Live It, Model It, (e) Persevere, and (f) Influence of Mainstream. The second coding procedure of axial coding, the six categories were de-contextualized and stripped down into segments. Analyzing the data at a micro level revealed new relationships. Upon completion of this procedure the data were analyzed at a macro level within the selective coding procedure. It was within the selective coding, a core category emerged; this core category called “The Identity of Upholding Indigenous Lifeways” was presented in a story line in and was related to the initial categories, now labeled as subcategories.

This study found that the identity of upholding Indigenous Lifeways at TCUs will be defined by the identity of the leadership of the TCU. Further, Indigenous Lifeways are upheld at Tribal Colleges through various ways that are dependent upon the identity of the individuals that are charged with maintaining them. In conclusion, this study formulated three postulations: (a) TCUs are Indigenous Lifeways Center, (b) There are Trenches within the Trenches and (c) There is a Danger of Mainstream Resemblance.



© Copyright 2014 Sean Falcon Chandler