Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Individualized Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program

Department or School/College

Interdisciplinary Studies Program

Committee Co-chair

Neyooxet Greymorning, Cheryl Ritenbaugh

Commitee Members

David L. Moore, George Price, Mikel Aickin


University of Montana


What would a contemporary cultural model for health and wellbeing look like for an Indigenous community and what domains would feature prominent today? How would this model be reflected in governance for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT)?

This autoethnographic, interdisciplinary, action research study suggests ten cultural domains for inclusion in a contemporary cultural model for health and wellbeing for the Selish, Ksanka and Qlispe (SKQ), the Indigenous Nations of the CSKT. It then provides a revised, annotated draft of a culture-based constitutional governance structure, which integrates, synthesizes, and incorporates these ten domains.

The key purposes of the study were to 1) provide a process whereby cultural models describing values, beliefs, principles and practices at the individual, community and organizational levels may become more clearly articulated and thereby promote increased cultural consonance for promoting health and wellbeing of the SKQ People, and 2) provide a more culturally-aligned, proposed revision of the SKQ Constitution, which better reflects and may serve to promote the health and wellbeing of the People.

As action research, the design and methods shifted during the study based on consultations with co-research participants and the focus of attention of the SKQ. The study shifted from presenting the sources of health and wellbeing disparities, and proposed approaches for addressing health and wellbeing issues for the SKQ, to examination of shifting theoretical frameworks from conventional public health to whole systems Indigenous approaches.

Study results both described and provided a process for creation of a cultural model for health and wellbeing for the SKQ. Through a systems approach to decolonization and constitutional reform, the study serves as an application and observation of culture-based governance for the SKQ. Cultural constructs from the health and wellbeing model were integrated into a proposed constitutional revision including initial policy direction. An autoethnographic chapter provides a cliff-notes version of the entire study and is addressed primarily to the SKQ community.

Key conclusions are: 1) culture is important to and must be reflected in governance, 2) a culturally-articulated governance system has the potential to both produce and reinforce the people it is designed to serve.



© Copyright 2017 Anita Louise Dupuis