Amber Madoll

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


In this thesis I explored the application of oral history in the collection, preservation and interpretation of American Indian cultural history. Through the analysis of written ethnographies, published works, oral histories and case studies, this research addresses some of the major debates hindering oral history's admittance as a viable ethnographic and historical resource. The overall intention of this research was to elicit the major methodological issues anthropologists face when employing oral history techniques in American Indian studies so that solid, comprehensive strategies can be created and implemented to strengthen the acceptance and practice of oral history in modem cultural studies.

After laying out the historical framework of oral history and its role in the collection and preservation of American Indian cultural history, the thesis explores some of the prominent challenges faced by historians and anthropologists. Topics include the void of American Indian voice in historical research and the lack of methodological standardization in the practice of oral history. It also addresses the three-dimensional complexity of American Indian cultural history, the impact of Native language and dialect in data collection, and the role of cultural affiliation and identity in choice of participants and interviewers.

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