Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Katherine Mansfield

Second Advisor

Rosalyn Hobson Hargraves

Third Advisor

Lisa Abrams

Fourth Advisor

Karen Rader

Fifth Advisor

Kurt Stemhagen


Mainstream institutions have, historically, dismissed Indigenous worldviews, knowledges, and research approaches (Bowman-Farrell, 2015; Harrington & Pavel, 2013). However, in recent years, a literature has emerged articulating Indigenous research methodologies (IRMs), and their distinctiveness from Western, Eurocentric perspectives on inquiry (Denzin, Lincoln, & Smith, 2008; Kovach, 2009; Smith, 1999 & 2012; Wilson, 2008). This has coincided with increased need for IRM scholars and practitioners to secure extramural funds to support their activities. But questions remain as to how the U.S. federal grant making enterprise has accommodated Indigenous frameworks. This research explores synergies in the ways that grantees, grant makers, and other related stakeholders understand and navigate the federal funding enterprise in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and health (STEM-H) fields; and the impact of how, and to what extent, this space is successfully navigated. To align with Indigenous worldviews, I use triple theoretical lenses of Tribal Critical Race Theory (Brayboy, 2005), Storytelling, and Interstitial Spaces (Cram & Philips, 2011), and an indigenized case study design. Eleven participants from Tribal Colleges and Universities and tribal communities, federal funding agencies, and consulting firms participated in unstructured interviews to tell their views about Indigenous approaches in the federal funding environment. Coupled with document review, the analysis showed that perceptions of risk, evidence, and expertise were sources of tension, although there were also areas of real and lasting success. I suggest that despite policies to diversify STEM-H grant making, Indigenous perspectives have largely been excluded from these discourses. This may have the effect of compromising the integrity of the validity construct as used in the dominant research methodology literature. I offer a model, called Fifth Paradigm Grantsmanship, as one means to usher transformative change in grant making.


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