Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Kari Chiasson


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the perceptions of male American Indian students and their strategies for staying enrolled in school and to determine what issues they were facing while attending a predominantly-White institution (PWI) of higher education in the Northern Plains. Participants consisted of seven male American Indian students attending school during the 2014-2015 academic school year. Resistance theory provided a framework for this research on male American Indian students and their perceptions of cultural dominance and their responses concerning assimilation and the campus cultural climate. The Hypothesis of Transculturation is a bridge to how male American Indian students (MAIS) implemented and preserved their culture while forging through their successful college careers. Interviews and note taking generated data. Participants interviews were recorded through electronic audio recordings and transcribed for analysis of codes, categories, and themes.

Three themes emerged from data analysis. Theme 1: Male American Indian students rely on academic support from professors and the American Indian Student Center, as well as, family and friends to be successful. Participants made purposeful contacts with professors, the American Indian Success Center, and family to create successful support systems. Theme 2: Male American Indian students feel a deep-seated sense of commitment to support family and to return to help their tribal communities. Participants had plans to compensate their families both emotionally and financially, with further plans to return to their home communities to create a positive difference. Theme 3: Many in the student population have little to no understanding of American Indian culture and tradition resulting in Male American Indians feeling marginalized. Although participants made some nonnative friends, they felt there was a negative campus climate in regard to cultural misperceptions and the former mascot.