Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Cheryl A. Getz, EdD, Chair; Antonio Jiménez-Luque, PhD, Member; David Karp, PhD, Member;


Native American, Oneida, Haudenosaunee, lacrosse, leadership, sacred medicine wheel, talking circle, Community Based Participatory Research, action research, O’Leary Action Research Model


Oneida college lacrosse players have an important perspective on the sacred game of lacrosse that needs to be heard. The Oneida are one of six tribes of the Haudenosaunee, or also known as, the Iroquois. Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and the style played today is most similar to the Haudenosaunee style. Oneidas are traditionally orators and lacrosse players. There is a lack of literature on the Oneida, lacrosse, and education. Oneida college lacrosse players face a problem in attempting to preserve their traditional Indigenous knowledge at their respective university communities, while also seeking the best way to transmit that knowledge. Oneida college lacrosse players are challenged physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually when navigating Western education as Native American students.

There is a Western educational disparity for Native American people, a distrust of Native Americans towards researchers, and additionally, an emergence of decolonizing ideologies of Indigenous researchers claiming a space in academia. This action research study included monthly talking circles and weekly journaling with 12 Oneida college lacrosse players as collaborators. This dissertation utilized action research and in particular, community-based participatory research, along with principles based on decolonizing practices and the sacred medicine wheel. One interpretation of the sacred medicine wheel is viewing the world through the lens of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, and this was used as a framework for sharing our perceptions’ as collaborators in this dissertation. This dissertation created new knowledge on Oneida college lacrosse players’ perceptions concerning the sacred game of lacrosse. Several themes emerged relating to retaining and transmitting traditional perceptions of the sacred game of lacrosse to participants’ respective university or college communities. Finally, this research created unique and transformative spaces for community healing and growth amongst collaborators.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies

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