E-Acimocik: storying the lived experiences of indigenous faculty and staff at a predominantly white institution

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


In the Fall of 2021, Montana State University reported its largest number of American Indian/Alaska Native students. Despite this growing population of students, few professionals employed by this institution are adequately prepared to meet the holistic needs of Indigenous communities who are affiliated with the university. Consequently, a small group of Indigenous professionals are tasked with taking on this work. To address gaps in service to Indigenous communities, this research provides potential strategies for university professionals to consider as part of the strategic planning process. Employing an Indigenous approach to academic research, a group of 10 Indigenous professionals employed by Montana State University were interviewed about their personal experiences working for a predominantly White institution and the ways that their identities play a role in their professional work. The majority of interviewees noted additional responsibilities were expected of them due to their identities as Indigenous people. Based on their responses, this study identifies four key areas that significantly impact the workplace experiences of Indigenous professionals at Montana State University, including relationships with students, community support, knowledge of Indigenous kinship systems, and emotional and cultural labor.




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