Indigenous students, Native American, Indian, Gentle Action theory, democracy, deliberation, Traditional Ways, culture, identity, oppression, racism, voice


This paper examines how Indigenous college students attending non-tribal colleges and universities in the United States experience feelings of alienation and marginalization. The concept of democracy and deliberation from the model of the larger oppressive society is not a cultural norm. Civic engagement is experienced differently in Indigenous communities. This paper articulates the outcomes of a deliberative forum which examined the concept of democracy employing Gentle Action Theory as the method to provide the students an opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences and to express their frustrations and needs regarding their academic endeavors. The comparison of Traditional Ways and cultural norms provided a basis for discussions of identity and their experiences as students.

*Note – Indigenous, Native American, and Indian are used throughout the paper. All are accepted within tribal culture and some are used in reference to Federal Indian Law.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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