TCU research journal emphasizes Indigenous methodologies

Published by the American Indian College Fund, the 2022 edition of the Tribal College and University Research Journal is part of an effort to support community-based research and mentor Native scholars.

Researchers from Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College assess the height of a seedling in their study of culturally significant trees.

The latest volume of the Tribal College and University Research Journal is available online at no charge. Published by the American Indian College Fund, the journal features articles by faculty and students from tribal colleges and universities and the wider research community on topics such as environmental science, Indigenous health and wellness, student success, and tribal college program development.

The current issue, Volume 6, includes the following articles:

  • Researchers at Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College found that two culturally significant tree species, cedar and hemlock, could face long-term declines in population due to overbrowsing by deer. The authors, led by Environmental Sciences Department Chair Andrew Kozich, note that Indigenous research methodologies guided the study, including holding informal discussions with community knowledge-holders. More than 20 students have collaborated across different projects through the research process and in papers and presentations, and a recent graduate and a current student are among the five authors.
  • Four authors from Blackfeet Community College worked with two colleagues from Montana State University on a study assessing the impact of cultural traditions for healing. Students from the tribal college recruited 24 adults from the community for activities such as listening to elders tell stories and taking hikes to culturally sacred areas. Researchers observed a decline in psychological stress over the course of the intervention, as measured in part by a drop in cortisol levels.
  • Three faculty members and one student intern at Turtle Mountain Community College reported on research to test whether past participation in an undergraduate research program influenced students’ decisions about pursuing a STEM-related degree. Their qualitative study involved interviews with 10 former community college students who served as research assistants. The results suggest that the students felt the community college research opportunity helped prepare them for future careers in research and also improved their knowledge and skills overall.

Other papers include Techniques for Regenerating Old Seeds and A Vision for Indigenous Honors Programs.

In addition to publishing the Tribal College and University Research Journal since 2016, the College Fund provides resources for hosting multiple writing retreats for potential authors. These writing retreats provided opportunities for authors to work with scholar mentors to guide them through revisions and learn more about the publication process. 

Since its founding in 1989, the College Fund has provided more than $259 million in scholarships, programs and other efforts supporting Native higher education. It provided $15.5 million in scholarships and other direct student support to American Indian students in the 2020 academic year. The journal is available online here and via the College Fund’s website. Printed copies of the journal are available at no charge by emailing Heidi Normandin at

Story published October 11, 2022

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