“Water is life! Mni Wiconi!”: Religious Duality in the Dakota Access Pipeline Protests
Kara-Lyn Moran, Environmental and Religious Studies, 2022
Thesis advisor: Professors Brett Hendrickson and Caroline Lee

How and when did you select your advisor and the thesis committee members?
Brett Hendrickson and Caroline Lee are the co-advisors. Paul Guernsey is the 3rd reader. I choose them because they were relevant to the topic and Hendrickson was already my advisor and we had a good relationship. Lee had a different perspective and background. Guernsey had just completed his dissertation about indigenous people and was very helpful collecting background information.

When did you start thinking about your thesis? How did you select your topic? How did you develop your research question?
2nd semester of junior year, I was interested in the topic and it was a good way to connect both of my majors. I developed the question in a way that could connect to both my majors and was something I could find research about without first-hand interviews.

How did you start tackling your thesis project at the very beginning?
Lots of reading. I wanted to learn from indigenous scholars and see the way they represented the events, so it was books, interviews, indigenous news sources… This was to just start with a solid foundation and gathering information.

Did your advisor explain the structure of a thesis project to you?
Yes, we did a walk thought of how the project would work over the year.

Did you have to do a literature review? Had you ever done one before?
I did do a literature review, but I had not done one before.

Do you remember receiving correspondence from the library about your honors thesis?
Yes, I worked with Ben throughout the year and used many of the library resources.

What did you find most challenging about your thesis project?
I struggled on how to best represent a marginalized group when I was not apart of the group. I wanted to represent them well and not feel like I was talking for them. I had to be very sensitive about this throughout the project.

What did you find most rewarding about your thesis project?
Being able to produce something I was proud of at the end and seeing the large print out.

What assistance did your advisor/department offer you throughout the course of the year?
We meet frequently throughout the semester, about weekly, this was very helpful. Hendrickson helped create weekly goal for writing and research so I could manage the workload.

Were you able to get access to all of the research materials you wanted for your project?
Mostly because #NODAPL was very recent, and information was readily available on the internet. Because of court cases, many of the internal documents have been recently released so I had to comb through those, but they were available

What advice would you offer other honors thesis students, especially in your department?
Work with an advisor you have a good relationship with and can talk openly with. It makes the year so much better and you will feel like it will be supported.