Decolonizing Qualitative Research: A TribalCrit Approach to the Study of Native American and Indigenous Students at an MSI

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Document Type

Contribution to a Book

Publication Title

SAGE Research Methods Cases: Diversifying and Decolonizing Research




In this critical qualitative study, five Indigenous interdisciplinary scholar activists reflect on the decolonization methodology and TribalCrit (tribal critical race theory) framework they adopted to research the experience of Native American and Indigenous (NAI) students at San José State University (SJSU). The study addresses the challenges experienced by NAI students navigating an unreceptive Western higher education institution. The research identified a need to shift university culture to serve NAI students better. The study explores the concept of constructive criticism, analysis, and recommendations concerning the lack of holistic support for NAI students at a university that has been designated a Minority Serving Institution (MSI), Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI), and a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). The researchers provide a succinct summary of critical self-reflections, common themes, results of the study, and the launching of the university’s first-ever Native American Indigenous Student Success Center. Moreover, this study offers critical learnings that may be helpful for the student success communities to consider as they seek to actualize collaborative projects of antioppressive movement building.


Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences