Off-campus South Dakota State University users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your South Dakota State University ID and password.

Non-South Dakota State University users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Elizabeth Droke


Effective mechanisms for creating culturally relevant nutrition and physical activity education for Native American (NA) youth are poorly understood in the literature. At the same time, researchers have suggested that NA youth engage deeper in school curriculum that is relevant to their culture; and NA youth are known to be at high risk for obesity and diabetes, suggesting that improving health knowledge could be valuable in this population. This investigation sought to create and pilot a culturally relevant, school-based nutrition and physical activity curriculum for NA elementary school children in South Dakota’s Siouan tribes, which would have the potential to improve knowledge of these topics in this population. The inquiry began with a qualitative study to gain insight as to Siouan elder perspectives, and gather stories they use to teach children about nutrition and physical activity. Elders are highly respected in NA communities and their participation was sought to lend credibility to the project. The elder insights and stories were then used to create a culturally relevant curriculum with nutrition and physical activity messaging embedded in lesson materials that were created to be appropriate to the Siouan tribal communities of South Dakota (SD). The curriculum development was a collaborative effort with SD State University Extension and utilized feedback from NA tribal members in the process. The resulting curriculum was piloted xv for feasibility in elementary schools on two tribal reservations in SD. Outcome data from the feasibility study demonstrated that the curriculum is practical, culturally acceptable and was well received by both teachers and the elementary school children.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Indian children--Nutrition--Study and teaching (Primary)--South Dakota
Exercise for children--Study and teaching (Primary)--South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (pages 116-120)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted