Commonwealth Honors College Theses and Projects

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 17
  • Publication
    Consistency Among States in Evaluating the Risk of Nonnative Plants
    (2021) Kesler, Ben
    Invasive plants are non-native species that have self-sustaining populations, are spreading into natural areas, and have negative impacts on native ecosystems. An invasive plant that invades one state could quickly spread to surrounding states, so communication and collaboration between multiple states are needed to reduce risk from plant invasions in the U.S. Variations in weed risk assessments (WRAs) used for different states, however, may hinder consistency if WRAs produce different outcomes about which species are invasive. Additionally, it is more effective to prevent a species from becoming widespread than to manage an already-widespread species, so evaluating and regulating invasive species proactively (before they become widespread) would reduce later control costs. Evaluating new, range-shifting invasive species could lead to proactive regulation in light of climate change, but climate change is rarely considered explicitly in existing WRAs. Here, I assessed the consistency of state WRAs to one another as well as whether WRAs can account for range-shifting species proactively. I compared each state’s WRA to the standards laid out by Roy et al. (2018). My analysis determined whether WRAs for 30 states assess similar risk criteria and whether they have the flexibility to potentially incorporate climate change. Species’ spread, impacts, and potential distribution were included in all WRAs whereas species’ native range, introduction pathways, and potential effects in light of climate change were included in less than ten WRAs. Ten out of the 27 states that did not explicitly consider climate change in their WRAs could provide guidance that enables its consideration.
  • Publication
    American Indians and the Environment
    Roach, Liana
    Concerns surrounding the environment have been growing in this country throughout the last century. Environmental damage poses a threat to everyone, but American Indians have a higher risk of health problems and cultural damage from environmental problems than the mainstream population. Using secondary sources from the University of Massachusetts Amherst's W.E.B. Du Bois Library, this paper explores how pollution, desertification, resources scarcity, and climate change affect American Indian health and cultures, and in the process differentiates between Western beliefs and traditional American Indian beliefs regarding the environment. It then compares United States environmental policy to environmental programs found on specific reservations and contemplates how effective American Indian programs would be if extended to the country as a whole.
  • Publication
    Government Defining a People: The Structural Violence Embedded in the Federal Acknowledgement Process
    Reddish, Rebecca L
    I will examine the structural violence embedded in the federal acknowledgement process in the United States and how this violence manifests itself in certain American Indian communities. I will discuss the benefits of federal acknowledgement and the reasons a tribe might seek to be federally recognized. Taking into account the Euro-American perspective reflected in the seven criteria for acknowledgement, I will argue that the acknowledgement process seeks to create obstacles for tribes in gaining recognition rather than to aid them in their pursuits. By looking at research and accounts of specific tribes' struggles to gain acknowledgement such as the Lumbee, the Catawba, the MOWA Choctaw, the Little Shell Chippewa, the Nipmuc Nation, and the Houma Indians of Louisiana, I will pinpoint the main issues and deterrents of the seven criteria and the administrative process that has kept these tribes from gaining positive final determinations. In addition, I will examine the regard of already recognized tribes on those currently seeking acknowledgement. I will then explore the negative effects thtat the termination era as well as denial of federal acknowledgement has had on American Indians.
  • Publication
    American Indian Education: How Assimilation Decreases Retention
    Stone, Sarah E
    American Indian education is expansive and different within each school system and school type. Many forms of American Indian education however include some type of forced assimilation of the students into Anglo-American society. This assimilation is greatly responsible for the very low retention rate of American Indian students in school. This thesis analyzes past research in the areas of assimilation and retention and uses this research to create a solution that removes assimilation from the various school systems and therefore increases retention rates of American Indian students. Possible solutions found include incorporating American Indian culture in the curriculum, providing the students with resources to help them deal with non-academic issues, such as family issues or depression, and to provide the students with academic assistance that they can relate to. By riding the school systems of forced assimilation, this paper demonstrates how the retention rates will increase, and also how important it is that this happens.
  • Publication
    Historical and Contemporary American Indian Injustices: The Ensuing Psychological Effects
    Nelson, Talia
    In this research I investigate the various ways in which the process of historical colonization has devastated the indigenous population and cultures. I explore and analyze its long-lasting effects. Additionally, this work delves into a range of the most frequent means of perpetuating American Indian stereotypes, discrimination, and violence that persists to date. I analyze and discuss resulting profound issues found within the American Indian society. In particular, effects on one’s mental, emotional, social, and sometimes physical health, and the development of definitive psychiatric disorders. In support of the current as well as previous research and findings, this work also discusses scientific and psychological evidence. In addition to the analyses involved in this study, I provide suggestions to eradicate discrimination and violence against American Indians in contemporary society, and suggestions for clinicians to provide the correct and beneficial treatment for American Indians suffering from any of the aforementioned disadvantages. Through my investigation on the effects of historical colonization on the American Indian population, I found a relationship between cultural devastation and long-lasting effects. Specifically, experiences of historical loss and forced acculturation alter the well-being of many American Indians. Furthermore, through my exploration of contemporary means of cultural violence, discrimination, and stigmatization of American Indians, I also found a significant impact on the well-being of these individuals. Overall, this study ultimately provides societal awareness and a sense of the extreme disadvantages many American Indians have faced throughout history and continually to this day.