restricted access Chapter 12: Indigeneity in the Methods: Indigenous Feminist Theory in Content Analysis
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178 c h a p t e r 1 2 Indigeneity in the Methods indigenous feminist theory in content analysis Stephanie Waterman (Onondaga, Turtle Clan) Kateri Tekakawitha, Mohawk, was canonized by the Vatican in 2012, based largely on the Jesuit written record of her conversion.Kateri’s (pronounced Gaw dah lee) interpretation of her conversion was not recorded. She, and her home Mohawk community near what is now Auriesville, New York, had suffered great loss due to removal(s), war, and smallpox. She herself was stricken with smallpox and had lost most of her family due to the disease. We can only imagine her emotional and physical suffering, and considering the devastation of disease and community and its impact on everyday life, it may be completely inconceivable to us in the present day. Kateri’s move to Kahnawake alone was likely enough for Jesuits to assume she sought Christian conversion. People, generally, are urged to make a good first impression; her very presence, her seeming voluntary move to a Jesuit community, was the lens through which her subsequent life was evaluated by non-­Natives. Palmer (2014) contends that the Jesuit narrative deracinates and erases Kateri ’s traditional narrative. The Jesuit narrative had a purpose; it was a tool for conversion to Christianity from spiritual practices they interpreted as “degrading , pagan, and unholy”(p. 268). Palmer interprets how Kateri would understand Christianity through Haudenosaunee principles including Condolence. Condolence , how the Haudenosaunee deal with loss, is foundational. The process, or philosophy, of Condolence, heals the community in addition to the family experiencing the loss. In the midst of near-­ devastation, Kateri traveled to Kahnawake for sanctuary, where she engaged in seclusion, prayer,“extreme piety, self-­ mortification, and self-­ denial” (p. 286). Her Jesuit mentors would have brought her food, likely prayed with her, and provided comfort. Kateri prepared and Indigeneity in the Methods 179 slept on a mattress of thistles that the Jesuits interpreted through Christianity. Yet, Palmer (2014) explains that in the Haudenosaunee Creation story, the twins born to Sky Woman, thistles and down were used “to mark the children’s fastness and also to serve as a warning” that the children were in seclusion (p. 286). In other words, Kateri’s use of thistles was more complex than a “mimicry of medieval Christian piety” (p. 286). Her use of thistles is an example of Kateri’s cultural knowledge and an indication of her spiritual journey.“At the Jesuit mission [Kahnawake] she found a refuge in which to explore and to transform the meaning of her losses and those of her community into something of value for her and her people” (Palmer, 2014, p. 287). The Haudenosaunee understanding of that transformation has been largely ignored; instead, the Jesuit interpretation provided the world with a one-­ dimensional, de-­ culturalized, de-­ racinated convert . Kateri was much more complex. In this chapter, I discuss a study of Native American Student Affairs (NASA) webpages through my lens as an Indigenous researcher. Webpages are external documents produced to provide information for prospective and current students , and their families. These webpages provide an external representation of an Indigenous unit with a larger non-­ Native college and university (NNCU) (Shotton, Lowe, & Waterman, 2013) founded on settler colonial principles. My research is exploratory: What messages do these webpages convey? Kateri’s story opens this chapter, as her story is an example of interpretative lenses that mask bias and promote misunderstanding. Through an Indigenous feminist lens I offer a methodology of the document analysis of these webpages and present them as re-­ claimed Indigenous spaces. Methods Through an Internet search, 55 First Nations student support units in Canada and 90 Native American student support units in the United States have been identified. Using National Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Regions strictly as an organizer, this chapter discusses the content analysis of the home webpages of five U.S. units found in NASPA Region I. Data are limited to the opening pages of five institutions because this chapter is about methodology more than findings. Webpages are the first impression NASA units put forward on the World Wide Web. Like the first sentence or opening paragraph of an article or novel, the opening webpage should grab the reader. Qualitative document analysis, focusing on images and text, is the appropriate methodology (Bogdan & Biklen, 2007) for this study. Content analysis methodology articles regarding the World Wide Web (Altheide & Schneider, 2013; McMillan, 2000; Weare & Lin, 2000, for example) refer to Klaus Krippendorff. Generally, procedures for...


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