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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Native American Male Perspectives on Successful Higher Educational Attainment: Primary Motives and Practices in Overcoming Hindering Barriers in Degree Attainment

  • Author(s): Wilson, Aaron T
  • Advisor(s): Hodge, Felicia
  • Champagne, Duane
  • et al.

There is an ongoing crisis among the Native American male population as they seek higher educational attainment. Currently, Native American males are experiencing such low numbers of higher educational attainment that their reporting they could be considered non-existent. This study identifies the primary motives of Native American male students who have successfully reached educational degree attainment. Understanding and discovering the major barriers in higher educational attainment among Native American male students, their management practices and the strategies that contributed to successful completion of a college degree program is a secondary aim. Study finding indicate the primary motive of Native American male students to earn college degrees is to obtain knowledge and skill sets that would allow them to engage in work that will result in positive outcomes within their tribal communities. The findings also identified major barriers to educational attainment which were lack of support within higher educational institutions, cost associated attendance and living expenses, and being away from their communities. In addition, the inability to ask for and receive the help necessary to move forward in the educational process was noted. The findings highlight the need for and significance of asking for help, traveling home often to participate in ceremonies and tribal gatherings, finding and building support groups within the university setting, and religious practices that contributed to the success and excellence of the participants to reach degree attainment.

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