American Indian Studies

Native PhD Graduates Gift Their Stories

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In American Indian Studies, Native PhD graduates share their personal stories about their educational experiences and how doctoral education has shaped their identities, lives, relationships, and careers.

This collection of personal narratives from Native graduates of the University of Arizona’s American Indian Studies (AIS) doctoral program, the first such program of its kind, gifts stories of endurance and resiliency, hardship and struggle, and accomplishment and success. It provides insight into the diverse and dynamic experiences of Native graduate students. The narratives address family and kinship, mentorship, and service and giving back. Essayists share the benefits of having an AIS program at a mainstream academic institution—not just for the students enrolled but also for their communities.

This book offers Native students aspiring to a PhD a realistic picture of what it takes. While each student has their own path to walk, these stories provide the gift of encouragement and serve to empower Native students to reach their educational goals, whether it be in an AIS program or other fields of study.

“Native Americans are chronically and severely underrepresented in graduate education in the United States. This collection of autobiographical essays by former Native American doctoral students (all graduates of the University of Arizona’s American Indian Studies program) offers a compelling and poignant portrait of the challenges that Native peoples face on the road to, through, and beyond graduate education. At the same time, the essays affirm the enduring value of Indigenous knowledge and relationships to family and land.”—N. Bruce Duthu, author of Shadow Nations: Tribal Sovereignty and the Limits of Legal Pluralism

“[This] is an essential read for anyone wanting to understand the experiences of Native American doctoral students in the academy. It presents the need for an Indigenous-focused curriculum in advanced degrees and provides insight into the career trajectories achieved through such curriculum. Culture, community, family, and academics intertwine in first-person narratives of persistence and success.”—Shelly C. Lowe, co-editor of Beyond Access: Indigenizing Programs for Native American Student Success

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