Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Lucius Hallett IV

Second Advisor

Dr. Benjamin Ofori-Amoah

Third Advisor

Dr. Laura Hobson-Herlihy


Miskitu, development, indigenous, matrifocal, Nicaragua

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This thesis provides an ethnographic investigation into the economic autonomy of Miskitu women in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region of Nicaragua. The purpose of this study is to determine whether dominant development models created by patriarchal Western powers are suited to alleviating gendered poverty disparity among the matrifocal Miskitu Indians. Surveys of Miskitu women obtained during field research, with support from relevant literature, comprise the main source of information considered. It is concluded that while dominant development models are not best suited to alleviating gendered poverty in this region, it is the overarching indigenous nature of Miskitu culture and not their practice of matrifocality that is the primary cause.