Date of Award

December 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Leah Rouse

Committee Members

Shannon Chavez-Korell, Marty Sapp, Stephen Wester, Katie Mosack


AI/AN Persons, Incarceration, Reentry


American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) persons comprise 1.7% of the population in the United States (U.S.), 1.1% of the population in the state of Wisconsin (WI), and represent immense diversity with over 566 federally recognized Sovereign Nations. Despite their relatively small numbers, AI/AN persons suffer a wide variety of extreme biopsychosocial disparities. In Wisconsin, this includes the highest incarceration rate of any ethnic group. Building upon a community partnership, the project examined the areas of challenge and support for AI/AN persons in Wisconsin who sought reintegration into an urban community after incarceration. Via the Extended Case Method, the project explored the applicability of Danieli’s Trauma and the Continuity of Self: A Multidimensional, Multidisciplinary Integrative (TCMI) Framework, through the lenses of Historical Trauma (HT) and persistence. Participants presented with significant health and social disparities, consistent with the HT literature. Although there is little literature on the AI/AN experience of incarceration and reentry, the participants shared may stories of challenge that mirror those of other racial populations who do have an extant body of research in this area. However, the findings revealed more collectivist, less individually-focused, experiences that included emphases on family, community, and their tribal nations. These findings exposed some gaps in the utility of Danieli’s TCMI framework to address experiences at the collectivist level for AI/AN persons reintegrating. The findings seem to support the assertion already made in the literature that the TCMI framework may not well accommodate an understanding of incarceration and reintegration experiences among AI/AN groups. Recommendations to the partner agency, limitations, and implications for future research are described.

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