Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Mary Jo Abascal-Hildebrand, EdD, Director; Johanna S. Hunsaker, PhD; Raymond Latta, PhD


Cree elders, cultural genocide, cultural renewal, First Nations, Leadership studies, Lockean theory, perspective


The purpose of this study was to gain insight on the effects of cultural genocide through the lens of selected Cree elders in Alberta, Canada. The study enlisted the elders' perspective on the legacy of cultural genocide, and its residue. This process enabled the elders to offer views about Cree identity, and suggest a leadership perspective for continued cultural renewal. The study applied a Lockean theory to the attack on Natural Law to explain the genocide. The study also explained the way Locke's ideas may have contributed to the earlier federal policies that have subordinated the Cree, and to the subordination of Cree Natural law. This ethnographic study limited itself to the views of six Cree elders from the geographical boundaries of the Tribal Chiefs Institute in the Canadian province of Alberta. The study addressed historical data as well, and analyzed current Canadian Federal Government policies affecting First Nations and cultural renewal. Data from the six interviews were compiled and analyzed on the basis of three themes: (a) Cree Natural Law; (b) education; and leadership. In general the first theme, Cree Natural Law, portrays the cultural foundation of the Cree people. The perspectives of the six elders found that the values of the Cree people were essential to the development of self as a contributing factor to the collective development of a community. The second theme, education, provided insights on the way that European education systems affected the Cree people both on an individual basis and collectively as a nation. Further, it explained the current educational needs of the Cree. The third theme, leadership, offered views about how Natural Law and education has provided direction for cultural renewal of the Cree people. Altogether, the themes suggested the Cree Natural Law continues to provide renewal of cultural identity for the Cree people through its leadership model of collaboration, consensus, and vision.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access