MA IDS Thesis Projects

Date of Award


Document Type



College of Theology, Arts, & Sciences


International Development and Service

Degree Name

International Development and Service, MA

First Supervisor

Nick Caleb


The negative impacts created by the operations of extractive industries are disproportionately felt by indigenous peoples around the world. Frequently, environmental justice organizations led by non-indigenous individuals or groups make efforts to support the work of these indigenous communities who are fighting to protect their peoples, cultures, and environments from mining, drilling, or other extractive operations. However, oftentimes environmental justice actors, no matter how well-intentioned, do not act in ways that are beneficial to indigenous efforts or respectful of indigenous peoples. This research study looks to examine how indigenous peoples who are fighting against extractive industries on their lands view the support of non-indigenous environmental justice actors who are wanting to support their causes. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with indigenous individuals in the Ecuadorian Amazon and indigenous members of the Lummi Nation, both of whom have had their cultures impacted by extractive industries. Grounded theory was used to analyze the data gathered and draw conclusions. In a second level of the exploratory study, ethnographic techniques were utilized to produce findings aimed at demonstrating how better methodology and research practices could have led to more statistically significant results in the initial research phase.