Jill Fish

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Jill Fish is currently a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Counseling Psychology. She is from the Tuscarora Nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, which is located within the state boundaries of New York. Jill received an MS in Mental Health Counseling from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a dual BA in Psychology and Philosophy from Niagara University. Jill aims to shift institutional knowledge of Native American peoples as a means of increasing their visibility in the United States, thus, challenging and changing the prevailing narratives of Native Americans.

Dissertation Abstract: Jill’s dissertation seeks to address the following questions: 1) What cultural representations are present in narratives of Native American adults from an urban community? 2) How do these individuals internalize and resist cultural representations? 3) How does ethnic identity, historical loss, enculturation, regard, and psychological well being relate to the first and second research questions? To answer these questions, she uses a mixed methods approach that integrates quantitative measures of ethnic identity, historical loss, enculturation, regard, and psychological wellbeing and narrative data. Currently, she is collecting narratives through an innovative method in indigenous narrative research – digital storytelling and is collecting approximately 100 narratives from participants through a series of digital storytelling workshops held in urban Native American communities in Minnesota. Thematic analysis, a rigorous qualitative method widely used in psychology, will be used to analyze the narratives. Narratives will be coded for form (the structural framework that underlies the story), process (the storyteller’s strategies to construct a meaningful narrative), and content (the subject matter of the story), while attending to representations of master and alternative narratives. Not only will this research address the limited and narrow empirical research on cultural representations among Native Americans, but findings will also have implications for educational curricula, indigenous pedagogies, and reforms in institutionalized knowledge.