Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Terry Mitchell

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


School-retention rates for Indigenous (Onkwehonwe) students are disproportionately lower than the non-Indigenous population in Canada (Mendelson, 2006). Currently, few studies on Native education acquire the perspectives and knowledge from successful OS. Many nonpersistence factors for OS have been uncovered, but few studies have offered solutions. Additionally, there is minimal (re)search using an Indigenous methodology (Onkwehonwe’neha) in the exploration Onkwehonwe education. This search (study) focused on the perspectives and experiences of six successful OS (i.e., five graduate students and one entering a graduate program). Two of the six participants were Aboriginal student-services coordinators at accredited universities within Ontario, Canada. Through the use of culturally relevant Onkwehonwe’neha methods of conversations and a sharing circle, the participants shared their perspectives on factors that contributed to their success in school and on interventions that might increase academic success for other OS.

Four areas of Onkwehonwe academic success were identified: challenges that OS face in their journeys towards success, motivators that increase OS’s motivation to continue in school, supports that assist OS’s success, and interventions and strategies to increase success. As a result of using an Onkwehowne’neha, the author was able to understand the interconnectedness and interrelatedness of the findings. A cultural framework was developed to illustrate the integrated, multi-level, and wholistic approaches needed to address challenges that OS face at various levels of education (i.e., elementary, high school, and post secondary). Specifically, combinations of motivators, supports, and interventions were identified as ways to mitigate challenges that OS face in their academic journeys. Some supports and interventions also were found to increase motivators among OS.

Convocation Year