research & analysis


Kenah Consulting works with Tribes to develop research designs tailored to their individual needs.  This includes research and analysis to gather evidence to establish land and natural resource rights and/or federal status, establish heritage claims, and develop cultural programming.  We will work to ensure that your organization has all the documentation and analysis required to meet its objectives. Our research approach is collaborative and holistic. We rely largely on ethnographic methods, which include participant observation, collection of oral histories, interpretation of material culture, archival research, and contemporary documentary research. Our consultant’s bring a wide base of knowledge about the museum and archival collections as well as contemporary artifacts important to tribal history across the United States. While we provide full research services, our preference is to pursue collaborative projects that allow us to gain insight from tribal members and pass on our methods and skills in ways that increase tribal capacity. 


A mainstay of ethnographic research is participant observation.  This means exactly what it sounds like: observing life through everyday activities. Participant observation makes up only a small portion of the research we do, but it is foundational to the ethnographic approach and informs our approach to the research we perform for our clients.


Kenah helps to develop and carry out research activities based on gathering oral histories from tribal members.  Such activities can spur additional documentary research and are central to preserving tribal histories. We work with Tribes to design parameters for oral history collection that meet their immediate needs, while creating a viable record that can be retained as a part of tribal heritage for future generations. 


An important component of supporting tribal cultural and natural resource rights is the ability to analyze and present material culture and the archaeological record.  Kenah Consulting’s expertise in material culture and archaeology is integral to the reports we develop to aid tribes in protecting natural and cultural resources or securing land into trust.  We can help your organization research and analyze cultural objects, archaeological material, and reports in concert with archival and oral historical records to ensure that tribal rights are incorporated and protected.


We work with tribes and cultural institutions to research, retrieve, and analyze archival records.  We have extensive experience with the Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the National Archives and Records Administration, as well as experience with Native American Records and collections across the United States.  Additionally, we have experience developing research plans to aid tribes in accessing and preserving the wealth of materials held in the private collections of their members. We can help to develop research designs and plans to aid your organization in meeting its objectives.  


A large part of establishing rights through documentary evidence is accessing documents that are too recent to be held in traditional archival collections.  Kenah Consulting can guide research into such materials and aid your organization in locating and gathering documentary evidence that speak to the recent experiences of the community.