Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Kinesiology (PhD)

Degree Level



Health, Human Performance and Recreation


Cathy D. Lirgg

Committee Member

Dean R. Gorman

Second Committee Member

Paul Calleja

Third Committee Member

Mary Ramey


Social sciences, Psychology, Health and environmental sciences, Education, American indians, Athletics, Competition, Native Americans, Sociocultural, Sports


The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the sociocultural experiences of Cherokee adults in athletic competition and sport. Specifically, following a qualitative design, fifteen participants were interviewed about their personal experiences in athletic competition and sport while growing up in rural Oklahoma. Interviews were open-ended and followed a semi-structured script of questions with additional probes. Once completed, the recorded interviews were transcribed and data were analyzed. The data revealed six axial codes and three selective codes. Cherokee culture, psychoSocial identity, and athletic competition were the three major selective codes discovered in this study. Qualitative analyses revealed that participants have lived in an environment that is conducive for athletic growth, cultural awareness, and Social exploration. The family, schools, and communities offer simple, yet stable surroundings. Athletic and Social identities are formed at early ages and are fostered by the close knit Cherokee culture.