Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Loretta M. DeLong


The Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribal members in North Dakota have long suffered from severe poverty and accompanying social stresses that threaten the social fabric of the community. Ninety percent of students attending college from the Turtle Mountain Reservation qualify for educational assistance based on financial need (Northwest Area Foundation, 2014). Youth, between the ages of 10 and 18, struggle with historic and present day, multi-generational, trauma and poverty exhibiting risk factors exemplified by suicide attempts; depression; hopelessness; despair; alcohol, meth and/or other substance abuse; increased anger; conflicts; aggression, violence; and poor performance in school. Schools on the Turtle Mountain Reservation estimate that up to two-thirds of youth, approximately 1000 students are thus at risk (Poitra, 2010).

The Belcourt Youth Activities Program/National Youth Sports Program (BYAP/NYSP) was created to address those factors of ill health, lack of education, poverty, and poor nutrition, obstacles to the wellness of Native Americans at Turtle Mountain.

The purpose of the study was to explore the impact and benefits on participants of the BYAP/NSYP program at Turtle Mountain Chippewa Reservation and to identify if differences exist between the value placed on exercise, nutrition and education of females compared to their male counterparts. Using experiential learning as a conceptual framework, questions were created from a hypothesis that, "Students do receive impact and benefit from a health and wellness program BYAP/NYSP". Experiential learning is demonstrated by participants who use an experience, actively test that experience, and then create a new experience (Kolb & Kolb, 2010). Demographic data and information concerning the impact and benefits of the program was obtained through a 25-question survey administered to adults 18 years and older who had participated in the summer program as youth at some point during the past 10 years. Of the 200 program participants invited to respond to the survey, 52 responded.

Results indicate that the BYAP/NYSP program does impact and benefit health and wellness as well as increase the knowledge of responding participants. The results showed this program to be effective in the Native American community of Turtle Mountain. Additionally, results indicate that there is no statistical significance to support the hypothesis that females value education and nutrition more than men.