Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Sarah S. Lowe

Second Advisor

Laelia L. Benoit


Climate change can induce a significant mental health burden on youth, especially for those in Indigenous communities. Despite their vulnerability, little is known about the impact of climate change on the mental wellbeing of Native American children and adolescents. This qualitative study seeks to address this gap by exploring Native American youths’ perceptions and emotional and behavioral responses to climate change. The study is grounded in Indigenous methodologies, which prioritize Indigenous worldviews, values, and ways of interaction. We will utilize relational capital on campus to identify the collaborating tribe and ensure a respectful and reciprocal relationship is built before proceeding with research logistics. Tribal Elders and the Indigenous Research Advisory Board are integral to the design and implementation of all phases of the study. Upon their permission, we will employ qualitative methods including in-depth interviews, art interpretation, and photovoice to learn about the youths’ perceptions and lived experiences of climate change, with a hope to incubate potential for social change. Data analysis will be done iteratively and collaboratively with participants to accurately represent their voices. Although doing Indigenous methodologies takes time, resources, and commitment, it is critical for research with Indigenous populations to be done ethically in a way that avoids exploitation, emphasizes self-determination, and promotes capacity building in the community.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access