A
Changing
Society
EDUC 2301: Introduction to Special Populations
Learning from Native American Stories
Chapter 5
LEARNING FROM NATIVE AMERICAN
STORIES
Is there not something worthy of perpetuation in our
Indian spirit of democracy, where Earth, our mother,
was free to all, and no one sought to impoverish or
enslave his neighbor? Where the good things of Earth
were not ours to hold against our brothers and sisters,
but were ours to use and enjoy together with them, and
with whom it was our privilege to share?
Ohiyesa, quoted in The Wisdom of the Native
Americans, pp. 132–133.
©2012 Cengage Learning.
All Rights Reserved.
CULTURAL FACTOR 1: HISTORICAL AND
CURRENT TREATMENT IN THE UNITED STATES
Ford (1983) identified five stages of U.S.
government policy actions toward Native
Americans• removal
• relocation
• reorganization
• termination
• self-determination
©2012 Cengage Learning.
All Rights Reserved.
Current Conditions
• The Native American unemployment rate is currently
24.2 percent—a rate that soars above the rates for the
total U.S. population at large.
• High school dropout rates reach 60 percent for Native
American schoolchildren.
• Native American adolescent suicides increased 1,000
percent over the past 20 years.
• Native Americans also show high rates of drug use and
an alcoholism rate that is double the national average.
©2012 Cengage Learning.
All Rights Reserved.
CULTURAL FACTOR 2: INITIAL TERMS OF
INCORPORATION INTO U.S. SOCIETY
Having been denied true assimilation
into U.S. society, involuntary minorities
are keenly aware of the intergenerational
oppression received since their ancestors
were forcibly incorporated into U.S.
society centuries ago through conquest
and colonization.
©2012 Cengage Learning.
All Rights Reserved.
CULTURAL FACTOR 3: SHARED VALUES AND
TRADITIONS
• The values of traditional Native American
culture arose primarily (but not exclusively)
within the context of a nomadic hunting and
gathering economy that has been almost
completely destroyed.
• Native American women are typically seen as
equal to Native American men, but that does
not mean they assume the same roles and
functions.
©2012 Cengage Learning.
All Rights Reserved.
CULTURAL FACTOR 4: VIEW OF SPIRITUALITY AND HUMANS'
RELATION TO NATURE
• Reverence for harmony with nature
• Belief that all creation is equal—that all
living things are interdependent
• Holism
• Persons are judged primarily in terms of
whether his or her behavior contributes to
the harmonious functioning of the tribe
©2012 Cengage Learning.
All Rights Reserved.
CULTURAL FACTOR 5: ACCULTURATION AND EXPERIENCE WITH
EXCLUSION AND ALIENATION
• When Native Americans were forcibly
“removed” from their own lands by white
settlers and then “relocated” to contained
reservations by members of the dominant
culture, they were effectively excluded and
alienated from mainstream society in the
United States.
• The dominant culture has exerted enormous
force and pressure on Native Americans to
adopt its values.
©2012 Cengage Learning.
All Rights Reserved.
CULTURAL FACTOR 6: LANGUAGE DIFFERENCES, STRENGTHS, AND
CHALLENGES
• There are 304 federal Native American reservations,
and over 150 tribal languages are still spoken today.
• Native Americans have been forced to replace Native
languages with English in order to survive in dominantculture-controlled boarding schools, reservations, and
institutional policies and practices. As such, Native
American languages have been systematically
discounted and erased.
©2012 Cengage Learning.
All Rights Reserved.
POTENTIAL BARRIERS IN LEARNING–TEACHING
RELATIONSHIPS WITH DOMINANT-CULTURE
TEACHERS AND SCHOOLS
Native Americans and associated
worldviews and values continue to go
largely unrecognized in U.S. schools. Not
only is it difficult for members of this
group to be recognized as Native
Americans, but they also face a major
lack of recognition of their existence in
North American history.
©2012 Cengage Learning.
All Rights Reserved.
For Reflection and Discussion
1. What are the significant traditional values
commonly shared by Native Americans that
would be in conflict with dominant-culture
perspectives and practices?
2. How would the Native American emphasis on
seeing individuals as part of a greater whole
provide strength and give meaning to life?
©2012 Cengage Learning.
All Rights Reserved.
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