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.