Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Indigenous Health

First Advisor

Nicole Redvers


American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities in the United States (US) represent culturally rich food landscapes, traditions, and languages. Food access remains a public health issue in AI/AN communities that is influenced by a myriad of factors. Indigenous food cultures and Indigenous languages are also underappreciated factors in the health of AI/AN communities. This dissertation in practice is guided by both the Social Ecological Model (SEM) and Indigenous Evaluation Framework (IEF) Model with the intent of highlighting multilevel culturally aligned approaches to promoting AI/AN health through food access and Indigenous languages. Specifically, this dissertation in practice sought to platform Indigenous food cultures and Indigenous languages with the aim to provide a better understanding of the impact of strengths-based approaches to enhancing food access and Apache language revitalization.

For the first product, I conducted a scoping review to map the existing AI/AN food access literature in the US to the SEM to identify common impact levels that food access interventions are targeting. A systematic search strategy was developed, and I found that interventions targeted the ‘institutional’ and ‘public policy’ levels the least. My review highlighted the importance of including culturally aligned, multi-level programs, that include traditional foods in food access interventions. For the second product, I developed an evaluation report for the First Nations Development Institutes’ (FNDI) Strengthening Native Programs & Feeding Families (SNPFF) grant program. This evaluation report summarizes key findings from the outcome evaluation carried out with the FNDI SNPFF grantees. Interviews done with participants highlighted important data on the strengths, challenges, and barriers that Native-led entities and nonprofits are working to address within the food access space. For the third product, I developed a policy brief to promote Apache language revitalization and health among the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT). Various policies impacting AI languages, wise practices, and model language programs are discussed in this policy brief. Based on input from community stakeholders, including Elders, as well as a scope of the literature, policy recommendations are presented. Together all three products promote a strengths-based approach to addressing key health issues impacting AI/AN communities.