Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences, Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

P. Bruce Uhrmacher, Ph.D.


Tribal Critical Race Theory, Generations of colonialism, Indigenous identity


Through the lived experiences of 26 New Mexicans, this inquiry investigates how colonization impacts identity through the generations, particularly looking at historical trauma and education. The findings demonstrate the importance of decolonizing spaces within educational settings. Furthermore, the findings demonstrate the need for viewing educational systems and spaces through a Tribal Critical Race Theory (TribalCrit) and Indigenous Storywork lens that lead Indigenous students in finding face (one’s identity), finding foundation (one’s greatest potential/full expression) and finding heart (one’s flow with the creator). The lens of TribalCrit enables the creation of a space where Indigenous students are empowered by their educational institutions in exploring their cultural and academic identity.

That being said, this dissertation needs to engage in aspects of decolonization. In the conceptualization and implementation of the decolonizing approach, an Indigenous and Western academic knowledge was sought and found in the following devices: Indigenous storywork protocol, conversation as method for data collection, data analysis in the usage of boxed writing, and arts-based research in data presentation. By merging Indigenous knowledge with Western concepts, I’m recognizing that a dissertation cannot be fully decolonized, but an attempt should still be made.

Thus, this dissertation attempts to move towards decolonization in several ways. First, I utilized Jo-Ann Archibald’s (2008) seven Indigenous Storywork principles. Her seven principles permeated everything I did from beginning to end. The research questions are as follows:

Overarching research questions

  • How do the identities of one Indigenous family inform our understanding of colonization? The following sub questions asked:
  • How is knowledge generated within a family context?
  • How does education impact Indigenous self-identity and the identity of family?
  • What are the contributions of Indigenous scholars on curriculum studies?

Next, I used conversation as method as described by Kovach (2009), a research method grounded in Indigenous ideas derived from an Aboriginal writer. Conversation as method comprises my data collection procedures. Third, I used several different writers’ ideas as conceptual frameworks to analyze my data. Brayboy’s (2005) Tribal Critical Race Theory was especially important. Finally, I incorporated arts-based research and digital storytelling for my data presentation.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Michelle Garcia-Olp


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

385 p.