Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Criminal Justice

Content Description

1 online resource (vi, 382 pages) : PDF file, illustrations, map

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Frankie Y. Bailey

Committee Members

David Duffee, Hans Toch, Bruce Johansen, Donald Grinde


chronic stress, cognitive appraisals, contamination, lazarus, mohawk, Mohawk Indians, Anxiety, Stress (Psychology), Polychlorinated biphenyls, Contaminated sediments, Environmentally induced diseases, Social conditions

Subject Categories



This study explored the long term impact of white collar environmental crime, i.e., illegal disposal of toxins by ALCOA and GM foundry, on Akwesasne Mohawk Territory. Specifically this study focused on whether toxic contamination was perceived by Akwesasne residents as a chronic stressor, and how residents appraised and coped with the long term consequences of contamination. Data were collected from retrospective interviews using a non random targeted snow ball method. Lazarus's theory of stress and emotion was used to analyze the responses of 47 residents of Akwesasne about environmental contamination. Respondents who were aware of the contamination appraised it as a harmful threat. The respondents expressed negative emotions when speaking of the contamination. The contamination and the related threats to the environment had an impact on both the residents' health and the Nation's economic base of agriculture/fishing. Over time, reappraisals by the respondents of the threats posed by contamination have become focused on the negative repercussions on health, cultural knowledge, and the economy (i.e., urbanization and monetary pursuits). In response to the threat posed by the contamination, respondents described changing their lifestyle, cultural practices, and economy. Reappraisals of what could be done discussed by the respondents focused on the residents' concerns about cultural revival, moving, or acceptance of conditions. The respondents spoke of using hope based on the Mohawks' cultural tradition of looking ahead seven generations as a way of coping.

Included in

Criminology Commons