We are so proud of the graduate students who apply Indigenous Research Methods to their thesis and dissertation work, overcoming serious challenges of many kinds to do so. And as these people graduate, they continue their amazing and courageous work. This page honors the accomplishments of our current and recent graduate students. If you know of an AIRA or SSITA member who’s recently graduated with a Master’s or Doctorate that used Indigenous Research Methods, or whose work using IRM has been recognized by the larger community, please email details to the webmaster. Include contact information for the person to be honored if it’s not you so we may ask their permission before publishing.


AL and FS

Two members of AIRA’s grad student group, SSITA (Student Storytellers Indigenizing the Academy), have just been awarded their doctoral degrees! We are so proud of Anne Lindblom (left) and Frank Sage (right, with his dissertation chair)!

During the last week of April, Anne Lindblom (above left) won her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Eastern Finland. Her dissertation is titled “Stepping out of the shadows of colonialism to the beat of the drum. The meaning of music for five First Nations children with autism in British Columbia, Canada”. That same week, Franklin Sage, Navajo (above right), successfully defended his dissertation and earned his Ph.D. in Educational Foundations and Research at the University of North Dakota. His dissertation is titled “Indigenous Knowledge System and Decolonizing Methodology Interwoven into Higher Education Experiences: Autoethnography.” The photo shows Frank standing with his Dissertation Chair, Dr. Cheryl Hunter.


The “Vancouver Sun” story about Paulette Steeves (see below for that news and a link) was picked up on 8/31/16 by “Indian Country Today” as one of their major lead articles.  Congratulations, Paulette!!

Frank Sage relaxes at a grad student dinner in Montana at AIRA 2014.

Franklin Sage, Navajo, an AIRA doctoral student in Education Foundations and Research at the University of North Dakota, has been invited as an International Visiting Scholar to the University of Passau, Germany, in October, 2016. His lecture is entitled “The Experiences of Native Americans in the US Education System: Beyond the Mascot Controversy.” Frank will also be guest lecturing at several other universities in Germany, including, Helmut Schmidt University, the University of the Federal Armed Services Hamburg, the University of Wurzburg, and the University of Flensburg. Another AIRA grad student, Christiane Rudmann, helped things along by advocating for Frank’s position. Both are active members of the grad student group SSITA, Christiane even working as a discussion group co-moderator and library organizer. Congratulations, Frank, as you head to Germany to spread information about, and awareness of, Indigenous Research Methods! And thanks to you, Christiane, for being such a great force for organizing wonderful things.

Paulette SteevesDr. Paulette Steeves, Cree-Metis, who got her Ph.D. only last year, has just been named director of the Native American Studies program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The Vancouver Sun ran a front-page article about her and her work on July 2, 2016 and put an interview clip on their website. The screen grab of that interview clip shown here displays the extraordinary breakthrough of what she’s done: Paulette is described as an “aboriginal anthropologist”! Who could have imagined such a term would ever exist. Of all the sciences, anthropology and archeology have traditionally been among the most resistant to Indigenous voice. Paulette’s accomplishments in the field are quite literally unprecedented. In fact, the Vancouver Sun got it exactly right on their video subheading “Aboriginal anthropologist is changing history”. She’s changing colonialized history and perceptions of our people with her research and with her life! We celebrate and honor you and all you are doing, Paulette!!

venable dissertation

Dr. Jessica Venable, new Ph.D. at Virginia Commonwealth University, displays the award that recognizes her dissertation being one of just three finalists for the Distinguished Dissertation Award.

The work of Dr. Jessica Venable, a descendent of the Pamunkey and Mattaponi tribes and proud new Ph.D. hooded May 14, 2016 by the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education, was selected as one of just three finalists for their Distinguished Dissertation Award. The nomination specifically cited the importance of Jess’s use of indigenous approaches to research, pointing out that “there is still a dearth of research conducted in the United States that aims to study indigenous peoples using research methods and theoretical frameworks that sincerely honor indigenous ways of knowing and produce knowledge that truly benefits indigenous communities.” In particular, her work was praised for “conclusions and implications that lead to original theory-building that holds promise to move educational research forward for generations to come. Specifically Ms. Venable’s ‘Fifth-Paradigm Grantsmanship’ framework contributes boldly to the burgeoning field of research justice and will undoubtedly become a guidepost for future scholars for generations to come.” AIRA members and graduate students already know Jess as an exceptional member of our community. She founded the graduate student group that’s grown into SSITA, Student Storytellers Indigenizing the Academy, a vitally important peer-support network. Congratulations, Dr. Jess!!


Corrie and her son Po’pay visit a white buffalo in north-central Colorado.

Cornelia Santos, Apache/Diné/Chamorro, was awarded First Place in Oral Presentations in Science and Mathematics Education/Social and Behavioral Sciences, at the Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in STEM held in Washington, DC February 25-27, 2016. Corrie is doing the graduate work she presented, “Further Conversations for Native Cancer Patient Navigators in Indian Country: Conversations of Native Navigators and Western Medicine: New Findings Presented in Relation to Using a Hybrid of Traditional Native Medicine and Western Medicine in Addressing Cancer Care,” at the University of Colorado Denver. ERN is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Congratulations, Corrie!