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

Erin L. Barnhart, Ph.D.


Native American society today is plagued by a host of social and economic disparities, largely the result of historical trauma experienced by generations of the Native American population stemming from the European colonization of the Americas. This paper seeks to identify some of the key elements needed to create culturally relevant solutions to career development challenges facing Native youth by understanding the historical legacy of Native American people in the U.S. and how this history has shaped contemporary Native American society. After identifying historical lessons and contemporary challenges, potential culturally relevant solutions to the systemic cycle of poverty, unemployment, and poor education are identified. By understanding the past and its influence on the present, organizations can weave the lessons of yesterday with the insights of today to create a brighter future and a better tomorrow for Native youth in the United States.