Date of Award

January 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Pauline Stonehouse


The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine perceptions of leadership and education held by three father-son pairs of Native American Three Affiliated Tribes members. Two father-son pairs with one triad of grandfather, father and son have all graduated from college and are considered leaders by their peers or have accomplished significant achievements, and are recognized by their community. Portraiture was used as a methodological framework for this project. Qualitative data were collected using interviews, observations, and formal and informal visits. Document analysis was used to describe and analyze how these Native fathers and sons were able to navigate high school, college, and their current lives to make them leaders in their fields. This study explored participants’ perspectives on leadership and offers an uncommon perspective on three sets of Native fathers and sons who were able to attain their college degrees as well as define their leadership roles both on and off the reservation. This study is unique in many ways by providing a deeply personal window into the lives of my subjects. I found a limited number of studies using qualitative research on Three Affiliated Tribes men as well as a limited number of research studies about Native American male perspectives on leadership.

Through the use of portraiture methodology, this study gives a voice to the participants by allowing them to tell their story using their own words. Several over-arching themes such as the use of storytelling in teaching, the importance of cross-generational advice, the importance of mindset when going through life, and the collective view of tribal leadership sparked many conversations.

Key Words: Portraiture; Leadership; Intergenerational; Tribal Critical Race Theory, Three Affiliated Tribes, Male Perspectives