Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jeffrey A. Frykholm

Second Advisor

David C. Webb

Third Advisor

Margaret D. LeCompte


In this dissertation, I examined the impact of Indian educational self-determination on the teaching of mathematics at the local level in a Lakota community. I drew upon a framework created by Bishop (1991) which described mathematical activities found in all cultures to develop a Lakota mathematical framework from which to compare activities and content found within the middle-school and elementary mathematics classrooms to mathematical activities found in Lakota culture. These six universal mathematical activities included counting, measuring, locating, designing, playing and explaining. I also constructed a framework (also for comparison) around self-determination principles that have been formulated and implemented in curriculum in Indian Country over the last forty years. I used this to inform the language used in the descriptions of self-determination in this Lakota community as well as the implementation of these principles in the structure and curriculum at the local K-8 school. I argue that self-determination, as an educational philosophy in this Lakota community had no impact on the teaching of mathematics. I also argue that, self-determination, at the curriculum level, has much potential, not only in integrating Lakota culture and language into the teaching of mathematics but also integrating mathematics into the teaching of the Lakota language and culture.