Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Anthropology (Cultural Heritage Option)

Department or School/College


Committee Chair

Professor Kelly Dixon

Committee Co-chair

Professor Greg Campbell

Commitee Members

Kelly Dixon, Greg Campbell, Chas Robles


Cultural, Heritage, Well-Being, Native American Studies, Conservation


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Adult and Continuing Education | Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Social and Cultural Anthropology


This thesis features a case study and research survey to expand awareness of the ways in which Native American communities use and are impacted by culturally specific, relevant, and useful qualities of cultural heritage and cultural resource management (CRM). The case study and survey are framed by theoretical backdrops that include colonialism, post colonialism, and decolonization. Using the Southwest Conservation Corps Ancestral Lands (SCC AL) Program as the subject of this case study, this thesis addresses whether and how participants in the SCC AL Program observed the program’s potential to generate societal benefits that positively influence and/or contribute to individual and community betterment and well-being. To address this research objective, collaborative research methods founded in CRM, yet influenced by the theoretical frameworks such as postcolonialism and decolonization, are used with an aim to produce respectful and equitable research results. In addition- and by default- this thesis used collaborative methods as a study in their own right, exploring how research processes can be equally as valuable and informative as the results they produce. The results of the survey indicate that the SCC AL Program provides tangible and intangible benefits to Native American Conservation Corps participants in terms of individual and community well-being and educational, professional, personal, and economic preparedness. This collaborative research project was carried out with intentions to produce a defendable thesis, support SCC AL’s program model and growth, and contribute to scholarly and applied research relevant to understanding social issues that integrate cultural heritage and well-being.



© Copyright 2019 Michaelle Anne Machuca