Sociology ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-14-2021


Few places in the United States promote their American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) foundations more than the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Yet, at the same time the legacy of settler colonialism and white supremacy continues through inequitable social outcomes for AIAN people in the region. Using semi-structured, in-depth interviews, this study explores white identity formation among those working and/or engaging with the AIAN population in the region, in a variety of institutions with varying levels of power and influence. Findings demonstrate the emotional, physical, and geographical mechanisms that are employed to draw boundaries around Indigeneity and whiteness. Chapter Two explores self-reflexivity levels among respondents in congruence with their relationships with AIAN people, Chapter Three examines the use of the controlling image of the “Noble Savage” and cultural appropriation from participants, and Chapter Four reflects on the experience of conducting this project as an Indigenous researcher.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Nancy López

Second Committee Member

Dr. Kimberly R. Huyser

Third Committee Member

Dr. Elizabeth Korver-Glenn

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Jodi O’Brien

Document Type


Available for download on Thursday, May 15, 2025

Included in

Sociology Commons