Native American Mothers’ Lives Off Reservations

Introduction to the Study

For most parents, raising children is often described as a difficult feat. Families do not live in an isolated environment where they can just create their own set of rules and abide by them. Since they belong to a larger society, they need to adapt to its rules and prevailing culture. To parents belonging to a cultural minority, it may be much more challenging since there are more factors that can affect their parenting. One is the family’s adjustment to the dominant culture they live in while retaining some valuable remnants of their original culture. Another may be the management of negative stereotypes they are labelled with and the corresponding discrimination.

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To be a Native American woman living off the American Indian reservations, life can be full of uncertainty. Not only does she have to contend with gender inequality in society but also with the cultural dominance of the environment she lives in. There are bound to be more if that woman is raising a child(ren). She can be overwhelmed with the usual issues of disciplining children and instilling in them the values they would need to learn to grow up to be responsible adults. She can also be without guidance if she does not have easy access to the wisdom of her tribal elders from the reservations.

Considering the long history of struggles and social alienation of the Native American people, the plight of a Native American mother raising her children outside the reservation is worth exploring. She and the marginalized population of women in her same predicament may be in dire need of support and in order to provide it to them, their situations need to be examined. My research study aims to do just that.

Background of the Study

I find it quite concerning that studies on Native American women have mostly yielded dreary findings. An example is the high dropout rates among these women, which, in one study was even higher as compared to other women in the United States (Bowker, 1992). Examining the causes for dropout was even more saddening. Native American high school girls who leave school before graduation were usually troubled by poverty, alcoholism, drug use or teenage pregnancy. They have a different attitude toward education. They did not seem to value it as much as their peers did. Those who reside off the reservations live with greater risks to their safety and well-being because they are separated from their families who may have chosen to stay with the tribe.

Young girls who come from troubled households are likely to be emotionally bruised. Being exposed to domestic violence, drug and alcohol use by their parents who are frustrated and unemployed may force them to resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms to numb the pain of their unfortunate state in life. These include engaging in drug and alcohol use as well, being sexually active even before they are ready and being delinquent in their schooling. If they end up with an unwanted pregnancy and decide to raise the baby themselves, the vicious cycle of bad parenting continues if they do not have a good role model to emulate.

Gray et al. (2013) analyzed the differences between children reared by Native American Indian and Caucasian families and concluded that Native American Indian children would benefit much from the traditional values and practices inherited from their ancestors. These include strong respect for elders, family members and the whole community and the sanctity of marriage and family. These values can inoculate them against the threats that may barrage them in living outside the reservation such as substance abuse, teen pregnancy, violent acts and suicidal tendencies. Native American mothers, especially those who are single parents, need to be equipped with the parenting skills necessary to keep their native values instilled in their children. Researchers such as Giles-Sims & Lockhart have acknowledged that there are “culturally-shaped parenting strategies” (2005, p. 196) and Native American mothers should be well aware of these.

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It is critical to focus a set of challenges that are faced by Native American females. I believe that examining how these women raise their children off the reservations (Hodge, 2009) is worth the effort. In the course of my research of the related literature, I found that there was a dearth of studies investigating first-hand experiences of Native American women living outside the reservations, as well as their parenting concerns. This research intends to fill that gap. It will enable the targeted Native American women to share the experiences that they have gone through living both on and off the reservation as well as their issues and concerns in parenting (Swischer & Hoisch, 1992; Pallacios and Kennedy, 2010). The sub-groups concerned in this study are Native American mothers who are enrolled in the federally recognized tribe of the Crow Tribe of Montana, and their children. One can argue that such groups have been marginalized by the state (Hooks & Smith, 2004).

Statement of the Problem

Compared to other ethnic minority groups, Native Americans have the highest birth rate, and are thrice more likely to live in poverty compared to their white counterparts. Life on the Native American reservation is typically described as hard and impoverished. Krupat (1996) reports that Native Americans experience

“Twelve times the U.S. national rate of malnutrition, nine times the rate of alcoholism, and seven times the rate of infant mortality; as of the early 1990s, the life of reservation-based men was just over forty four years, with reservation-based women enjoying, on average, a life expectancy of just under forty-seven years.” (pp. 30-31).

Native American women are part of a marginalized population who endured a difficult history of being ousted and relocated from their homeland. This affected both the people’s collective and personal identity formation and relationship patterns in successive generations (Cowan and Cowan, 2005). Thus, traditional culture and values have not been kept intact resulting in the people mostly at a loss of how to effectively manage themselves, their relationships with their families and others.

In leaving the reservations, people become uprooted from their native culture and need to adapt to a new one. Sometimes, they get confused about their cultural identity, being caught in between two cultures. Native American women may undergo such acculturation phase. Their cultural confusion may be passed on to their children especially if they continue to live outside the reservations.

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Most Native American women struggle in their lives off the reservation. They find it difficult to find jobs because they are discriminated upon in the workplace. If they do succeed in being employed, they are usually paid very low because majority of them are not equipped with the skills and education for higher paying jobs. They are miserably paid for their efforts. Life off the reservation can be very hard for them. This difficulty is multiplied once they become mothers, as the issue of raising their offspring becomes an additional burden especially if they are doing it singlehandedly. Berlin (1987) reports that most young Native American mothers are not equipped with the maturity to handle the demands of motherhood. Especially if they have been exposed to inappropriate parenting skills from their own parents, it is likely that they repeat the cycle of poor parenting with their own children.

My study shall explore the insights of Native American mothers who have chosen to live outside the reservations. Their way of living, their parenting methods, their challenges and achievements and others shall be investigated through personal interviews. My study will increase the current body of research for Native American mothers and their children residing off of the reservation.

Theoretical Framework

In order to more clearly understand the situation of Native American women who are the main interest of this research, a strong theoretical framework of this study needs to be considered.

Historical Trauma

Native Americans have been historically traumatized from their negative experiences being ousted and relocated from their homeland throughout history. Unlike personal trauma, their people’s historical trauma is focused on their collective trauma as families, and this trauma has been passed and even amplified from one generation to the next (Brave Heart and Debruyn, 1998; Campbell and Evans-Campbell, 2011). This affects both the people’s collective and personal identity formation and relationship patterns in successive generations (Cowan and Cowan, 2005).

Systems Theory

Another theory that can explain Native American historical trauma is the Systems Theory. Systems Theory explores human experiences and behavior patterns. The theory states that humans seek out homeostasis. In relation to this study, it premises that each member in the Native American family system plays a role that contributes to the synchronized functioning of the system (Gray et al., 2013). Each member keeps his or her role so children who have formed the role in a relationship pattern will likewise form similar relationships with others who can operate within the same family system (Bowen, 1985). Hence, if traumatic experiences altered family relationship roles, then it may also negatively influence succeeding relationship patterns. For example, if a child grows up being accustomed to their parents being intoxicated most of the time and they are left in the care of their grandparents, then, they may follow the same modelled pattern when they grow up. Alcoholism may be accepted as a way of life, and parenting responsibilities may be left to the grandparents. Studies of Campbell & Evans-Campbell (2011), Holman and Birch (2001) and Yoshida and Busby (2011) found that an individual’s view of their parents’ marital quality, relationship quality with each parent and the impact of their family of origin can predict their own marital stability and satisfaction in life.

Acculturation Theory

When people are uprooted from their native culture and transported into a new one, they undergo acculturation or adaptation to the new culture. Gordon (1964) theorized that immigrants assimilate the language and behaviors of the people in the host culture first followed by structural assimilation. This involves the social and economic integration into the new culture. Finally, some immigrants get to the last stage of assimilation which in which they identify with the new culture and abandon their identification with their culture of origin. Gordon suggested that assimilation may affect more first-generation adult immigrants than their children who are born into the new culture. He also enumerated the components of language, behavior and identity as indices of acculturation.

Over time, it is likely that an acculturation gap grows between children and parents of immigrant families, with the parents holding on to their traditional culture and the children acculturating to the new culture (Ranieri, Klimidis, & Rosenthal, 1994; Szapocznik et al., 1986). Children have less difficulty picking up the new language and learning the traditions and cultural behaviors of the people in the new culture. Consequently, their culture of origin, being less exposed to them, diminishes in terms of the effect on their growth and development unless their parents consistently push it to them (Birman & Trickett, 2001). To apply to Native American families, it must be taken in the context of those who were relocated from their places of origin or from the reservation they have come from and how they adjust to their new homes outside the reservation. An example is a Native American child’s interaction with new adults in his new school may not reinforce the customs and traditions that his parents have shown him leading to cultural discontinuity between the home and school. In extreme cases, Native American children are asked to choose between their native heritage and school success and such dilemma leads to disastrous effects (Reyhner, 1992). Problems like drug and alcohol abuse ensue due to unresolved internal conflicts coming from teachers pressuring students to give up their Native Culture, or at the least, not acknowledging it. Reyhner (1992) suggests teaching methods and school curriculum appropriately adjusted to the Native American youth to reduce school dropout rates and to lessen cultural conflicts between their home and their school. This helps the Native American mothers who may still retain some of the values, customs and traditions they were born into in order to pass these on to their children even if they are already living outside the reservation.

Strengths Perspective

In order to overcome the negative experiences one has withstood in life, their competencies, resilience, resources and protective factors that lead to positive developmental outcomes should be emphasized (Leadbeater et al. 2004). The Strengths Perspective Theory purports that in order to assist people identifying, securing and sustaining their internal and external resources to help them achieve their goals and establish mutually enriching relationships with the community (Kisthardt, 2002). This is achieved by strengthening existing assets and/or facilitating the development of new resources to accomplish pre-established goals (McMahon et al., 2013). With regards to Native American individuals who have suffered negative experiences, the Strengths Perspective Theory can become a tool to lift them up and help them to still be productive.

Research Objectives

The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of Native American women living off the reservation regarding their current living conditions, their quality of living and their parenting experiences in raising their children. Interviews with a selected group of Native American women who are members of the federally recognized tribe of the Crow Tribe of Montana, will ask what it means for them to grow up on the reservation as well as their experiences there that led them to choose to raise their own children off the reservations. My study will look at what challenges they are facing as women and as mothers now that they live apart from their tribal community. If their accounts are consistent with what the literature reports of not having enough opportunities to better themselves and that their children suffer from dilemmas regarding their cultural identity, then this study submits itself to the consideration of government and non-government organizations to help them achieve a better quality of life.

Research Questions

The following research questions shall guide the course of the interviews:

  1. What does it mean for a Native American woman to grow up on the Native American Indian reservation?
  2. What experiences have led Native American women who grew up on the reservations to choose to raise their own children off the reservations?
  3. What challenges do women who grew up on the reservations face when they try to raise their children off the reservations?
  4. What may be the reasons for Native American women who grew up on the reservations chose to remain off the reservation with their children?

Research Design

The qualitative approach is suitable in those cases when it is necessary to understand the opinions and attitudes of respondents, and identify specific concerns of individuals (Creswell, 2013). By approaching the participants this way, it helps the researcher involve them in the discussion of various issues which may delve deeper than what may be known. This is why qualitative interview has been chosen as the method of research. Semi-structured interviews shall be conducted with a number of Native American women who were raised in Native American reservations but have chosen to leave and reside outside the external boundaries of the reservation. These they reside, and participants may be raising their own children either single-handedly, with a spouse/partner, or other family member.

My study’s research design is unique to the research topic. Using an in-depth qualitative method of interview, it will specifically lean on an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach which probes deep into an interviewee’s thoughts and feelings to fully derive true understanding of her circumstances or at least gain a clearer perspective of what she goes through in various situations (Smith, 1996). The study will rely more on the quality of information provided by the interviewees rather than their number. This means it will only select a few credible participants. Although a smaller sample size is usually associated with a limitation of a study because of the supposed lack of contribution of the small number of participants, a study like this current one shall concentrate on the reduced participant number’s richer and deeper information. The researcher has the luxury of spending more time with each interviewee and drawing out more personal and reflective responses to the questions which may be inhibited with a larger sample (Smith et al., 2009). This approach to focus on “an interest in the nature of human experience and the meaning that people attach to their experiences, with the assumption that the important reality is what people perceive it to be” (Kvale & Brinkmann 2009, p.26). In this case, Native American mothers are expected to fully disclose their experiences as related to the interests of this study. The researcher shall take pains in encouraging the interviewees to be truthful in their experiences, as it is they who will eventually benefit from it since the researcher intends to expose the reality of this marginalized group’s life to concerned parties who can help them rise from their challenges while keeping the identities of the study participants confidential.

The interviews shall be transcribed in verbatim and the transcripts shall be qualitatively analyzed using Bowen’s (2005) method that identifies patterns in the data by means of thematic codes. The patterns that may emerge are studied making logical associations with the interview questions with the information from the literature review as backdrop. I shall confirm if the theories of Historical Trauma, Systems Theory, Acculturation Theory and Strengths Perspective apply to the lives of the participants.

Justification of the Study

The justification of this research lies in the fact that the selected subject is under-studied considering they are possible sources of rich information about contemporary Native American culture and the coping styles of women who are surviving their lives outside their comfort zones. It is also an ambitious attempt to look into the sociological lens of Native American parenting in a more modern American culture.

Taking a more holistic perspective on the lives of Native American women today, the researcher considers the history of the Native American people and the effects of the various events that transpired in the past on their current value system, lifestyle and shared perspectives. Analyzing the consequences of the people’s historical trauma from being ousted from their own native lands and its effects on their family system shall be helpful in further following women who decide to live independent from the tribe outside the reservations. Their adjustment to another culture, perhaps vastly different from their own is likely to be filled with new challenges which may either frustrate them or push them to be stronger survivors. Transitioning to motherhood is again another chapter they confront in their lives. With all the events concurrently happening in their lives, the strength of character and personality of Native American mothers is consistently tested. It is worth evaluating how they manage their lives and if they draw from their innate strengths to help them get through it all and still manage to stand proud as a Native American, as a mother and as a woman.

Beyond the awareness that the participants of this study can provide is the call for understanding they deserve for what they have gone through. Society can be hasty in judging such women based on the common cases of inappropriate parenting, heightened drug and alcohol use, tolerance for domestic abuse and other dire truths suffered by some Native American women. It is fair to first have and understanding of where they are coming from and instead of criticizing them, provide the necessary assistance to help them rise from their dreary situations and help them live better and more productive lives. If not, it is their children who will carry the brunt of the vicious cycle left to them as their legacy.

Relevance of the Study

There are several reasons why it is important to examine the topic. Gaining first-hand information from Native American mothers with regards to their current life conditions, child rearing and the challenges they encounter in their daily lives is an essential step in identifying their needs. The findings of this study may be suggested to legislators, politicians and public administrators to understand the challenges faced by Native American women living off reservations. This study can also be used for policy development and decision-making for the welfare of the women and their children. Non-governmental organizations concerned with improving the living standards on Native American reservations will also find this study relevant to their mission.

Limitation of the Study

Findings for this research is only applicable to the narrow population group identified by the study and should not be applied to other cultural groups. This limitation should be taken into consideration by any person reading the study.

In terms of the researcher’s role, my limitation is only to unearth valuable information about the lived experiences of Native American mothers who have decided to raise their children off the reservations. There is no expectation to implement action plans to alleviate their circumstances, although I have the option to inform concerned parties to extend assistance in the rehabilitation of these women, if need be without compromising the confidentiality of my research participants.

Ethical Considerations

The study shall adhere to ethical guidelines when conducting research with human participants. It shall accord due respect and consideration to the participants of the study, making them feel as comfortable as possible and not shamed or judged from the revelations they might disclose in the interviews. They shall be assured of confidentiality especially because the nature of the research topic might be a sensitive one. The safety and security of the participants shall be ensured at all times during the interview process. My role as the researcher is to conduct the interviews as best as I can with utmost sincerity, honesty and kindness. The participants may also withdraw from their participation in this study if they do not feel comfortable anymore or if they feel that their interests are being compromised with their participation in the study.

Literature Review

Parenting styles vary all over the world. There are culturally divergent philosophies on child-rearing, and all of them are influenced by one’s history as well as the current factors that prevail as one joins the mainstream. Through this chapter, I will explore the background of Native American women and the factors which may be influential in their child-rearing practices. I will anchor the research on a conceptual framework based on the theories on Historical Trauma, Systems Theory, Acculturation Theory and the Strengths Perspective.

In order to understand how the contemporary Native American woman has evolved and her attitudes and behaviors with regards to raising her child, historical events in the lives of the Native American families need to be chronicled, which I will attempt to do.

By use of this chapter, I shall also raise some issues of Native American women and the challenges they encounter as they raise their children outside the boundaries of the Native American reservation and into mainstream society.

Historical Background

Native American Indian culture has been embedded with positive values and traditions such as strong respect for elders, the community and their beliefs regarding the sacredness of the conjugal relationship. Such values have made their society stable through their history (Day, 2007; Red Horse, 1997; Rivers, 2005). When such values are strengthened, the people remain resilient against the threats to the dissolution of their dignity as an ethnic group such as higher violence rates (Greenfield & Smith, 1999), suicide (Olson & Wahab, 2006) and substance abuse (SAMHSA, 2010). Most Native American family and cultural bonds have been severed by the forced institutionalization of thousands of Native American children into boarding schools and indoctrination into the Caucasian culture, stripping them of their own cultural birth heritage (Campbell & Evans-Campbell, 2011). Consequently, the Native American people lost their resilience resulting in higher rates of substance abuse (SAMHSA, 2010), violent victimization (Greenfield and Smith, 1999), and teenage pregnancies (Berry et al., 2000). There was likewise a higher rate of suicide, depression and anxiety among Native American Indians (Olson and Wahab,2006).

Conceptual Framework

Historical Trauma

Native Americans have been historically traumatized from their negative experiences being ousted and relocated from their homeland throughout history. Unlike personal trauma, their people’s historical trauma is focused on their collective trauma as families, and this trauma has been passed and even amplified from one generation to the next (Brave Heart and Debmyn, 1998; Campbell and Evans-Campbell, 2011). This affected both the people’s collective and personal identity formation and relationship patterns in successive generations (Cowan and Cowan, 2005). For example, Bowker (1992) claims that child-rearing practices in Native American families have not evolved much. There is still prevalent neglect of children and dysfunctional families which may create strong impact in growing children. These children may interpret their parents’ non-interference in their developing adolescent problems as apathy, but on the other hand, parents may just be perpetuating the child-rearing strategies they have been exposed to when they were much younger. Experiencing the trauma of their people can be used as a justification of some parents in the development of dysfunction in their families.

Native American descendants are usually born in circumstances that are not favorable to their ideal growth and development. Historically, their fate was seized by the government and mandated their removal from their own family, with the goal of sending them off to a much better conditions. The 1900s marked the mass migration of Native American children to boarding schools (Duran and Duran, 1995) where they were to adopt mainstream American behaviors. These children were subjected to torturous punishments, isolation, abuse and neglect (Glover, 2001; Lonczak et al., 2007). Most of them were transferred to foster care and were adopted by Caucasian families, making them lose their adaptive Native American culture and heritage and embrace a culture which was hostile to their own race (Gray et al., 2013).

Margaret Jacobs (2013) chronicled the saga of Native American children from the time they were forcefully removed from their families because it was believed their home environments on the Native American reservations were unfit for child-rearing. Native American parents and elders were deemed as negligent and abusive and are unable to provide for the basic needs of their children because they were destitute themselves. Native American mothers were declared to have poor mothering and home-making skills, and the fact that there were a great number of young, unmarried Native American mothers exacerbated the situation, validating the policy of having Native American children reared in proper boarding schools or their adoptive Caucasian families.

The relocation of Native Americans as mandated by government acts had a great impact on their self-sustainability. The industrialization of America caused the concentration of wealth into the cities and off the Indian reservations, leaving the reservations in great poverty (Campbell and Evans-Campbell, 2011). Gray et al. (2013) concluded that the cumulative degenerative conditions of the Native American families, their culture, economy and social networks represent generations of collective, traumatic experiences of their people leaving residual effects on present generations. These dire experiences suffered jointly as a people have created a “historical trauma” which has significantly affected Native Americans for many generations (Brave Heart and Debruyn, 1998).

Systems Theory

Another theory that can explain Native American.

historical trauma is the Systems theory. It premises that each member in the Native American family system plays a role that contributes to the synchronized functioning of the system (Gray et al., 2013). Each member keeps his or her role so children who have imbibed the role in a relationship pattern will likewise form similar relationships with others who can operate within the same family system (Bowen, 1985). Hence, if traumatic experiences altered family relationship roles, then it may also negatively influence succeeding relationship patterns. For example, if a child grows up being accustomed to his parents being intoxicated most of the time and he is left in the care of his grandparents, then, he may follow the same modelled pattern when he grows up. Alcoholism may be accepted as a way of life, and parenting responsibilities may be left to the grandparents. Studies of Campbell & Evans-Campbell (2011), Holman and Birch (2001) and Yoshida and Busby (2011) found that an individual’s view of his parents’ marital quality, relationship quality with each parent and the impact of his family of origin on himself can predict his own marital stability and satisfaction in life.

The Systems theory, which supports intergenerational transmission of historical trauma, likewise suggests that an individual’s perceived impact of his family-of-origin moderates the quality of his own later relationship patterns (Cowan and Cowan, 2005). Weak parent-child relationships due to parental silence on their traumatic histories arrests bonding between parents and children and makes them feel ashamed of their heritage (Bar-On et al., 1998). The children’s sense of identity, in turn, becomes negatively impacted which consequently affects how they relate to others (Brave Heart & Debruyn, 1998; Campbell and Evans-Campbell, 2011).

Acculturation Theory

When people are uprooted from their native culture and transported into a new one, they undergo acculturation or adaptation to the new culture. Gordon (1964) theorized that immigrants assimilate the language and behaviors of the people in the host culture first followed by structural assimilation. This involves the social and economic integration into the new culture. Finally, some immigrants get to the last stage of assimilation that makes them identify with the new culture and abandon their identification with their culture of origin. Gordon suggested that assimilation may affect more first-generation adult immigrants than their children who are born into the new culture. He also enumerated the components of language, behavior and identity as indices of acculturation.

Cultural identity of individuals caught in between two cultures, may be measured in a number of ways by acculturation and ethnic identity experts (Phinney & Devich-Navarro, 1994). Two components of cultural identity are identified as self-designation as a group member of one culture and positive feelings for such identity as a group member (Birman & Trickett, 2001).

Over time, it is likely that an acculturation gap grows between children and parents of immigrant families, with the parents holding on to their traditional culture and the children acculturating to the new culture (Ranieri, Klimidis, & Rosenthal, 1994; Szapocznik et al., 1986). Children have less difficulty picking up the new language and learning the traditions and cultural behaviors of the people in the new culture. Consequently, their culture of origin, being less exposed to them, diminishes in terms of the effect on their growth and development unless their parents consistently push it to them (Birman & Trickett, 2001). To apply to Native American families, it must be taken in the context of those who were relocated from their places of origin or from the reservation they have come from and how they adjust to their new homes outside the reservation. An example is a Native American child’s interaction with new adults in his new school may not reinforce the customs and traditions that his parents have shown him leading to cultural discontinuity between the home and school. In extreme cases, Native American children are asked to choose between their native heritage and school success and such dilemma leads to disastrous effects (Reyhner, 1992). Problems like drug and alcohol abuse ensue due to unresolved internal conflicts coming from teachers pressuring students to give up their native culture, or at the least, not acknowledge it. To reduce high dropout rates of Native American youth, it is important that teaching methods and school curriculum be adjusted to mitigate cultural conflict between home and school (Reyhner, 1992). This helps even the Native American mothers who may still retain some of the values, customs and traditions they were born into and plan to pass on to their children even if they are already living outside the reservation in order to preserve their cultural heritage.

Strengths Perspective

In a study by Mileviciute et al., (2013), it was found that the way people explain their state of life reflects their outlook and disposition. It was concluded that the relationship between one’s negative life experiences manifested depressive symptoms strongly on one’s explanatory style. Native American youth were more likely to express their situations in the context of internal, global and stable explanations for the negative events instead of more positive ones showed more depression than those who are more positive in their communicative patterns. More positive youth were more resilient to depressive effects of their previous experiences. In order to overcome the negative experiences one has withstood in life, his competencies, resilience, resources and protective factors that lead to positive developmental outcomes should be emphasized (Leadbeater et al. 2004). The Strengths Perspective is a theory that purports to assist people identifying, securing and sustaining their internal and external resources to help them achieve their goals and establish mutually enriching relationships with the community (Kisthardt, 2002). This is achieved by strengthening existing assets and/or facilitating the development of new resources to accomplish pre-established goals (McMahon et al., 2013). With regards to Native American individuals who have suffered enough negative experiences in the past, the Strengths Perspective can become a tool to lift them up from their state and help them to still be productive.

Conceptual Framework of the Study
Figure 1. Conceptual Framework of the Study

Native American Families

Reports from the Indian Country Diaries (2006) claim that Native American families are more likely to live in poverty and their children are more likely to drop out of school, be involved in drug and alcohol abuse, teen-age pregnancy as well as experience violence as compared to other cultural groups. Several of these children are supported by only one parent or are raised by their grandparents. Due to the prevalence of teen-age pregnancies, the Native American families are younger, with about 34% of the population being under 18, and the median age of Native Americans is 28.7 years old. The white population’s median age is ten years older (Indian Country Diaries, 2006).

High relationship quality, as measured by how stable and satisfying a couple’s relationship is, has become a protective factor for psychological well-being not only of the couple but also their children (Busby, Holman and Taniguchi, 2001). On the other hand, low relationship quality may lead to negative outcomes such as high rates of substance abuse, suicide and violence both in general and among Native Americans (Brave Heart and Debruyn, 1998;Nontasak & Frese, 1978). Such negative outcomes may be indicators that these individuals have experienced historical trauma which has negatively impacted on the couple’s relationship quality (Campbell and Evans-Campbell, 2011).

Native American families value the significance of the extended family system especially in supporting children. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and other relations or clan members normally take part in the upbringing of the Native American child in the reservation (Jacobs, 2013). Thus, children raised in the reservation grow accustomed to such care and guardianship wherever they go. However, once family units are relocated outside the reservation, they miss out on the extended family support systems of their home communities. When they encounter problems due to lack of education, training and employment, they are forced to turn to social services agencies which may not provide the same personal care and assistance that they are used to.

Grandparents have been increasingly relied upon to be caregivers of their grandchildren while their adult children go away to work or as custodial caregivers while the parents of the children have lost their custody due to neglect or substance abuse (Kopera-Frye, 2009). In Native American culture, grandparents are regarded as conduits of tribal cultural values and present knowledge of the younger generation (Schweitzer, 1999). Apache grandmothers, in particular, actively preserve their customs, beliefs, traditions in their cultural history and pass it on to their grandchildren. They enjoy an elevated status as agents of cultural transmission and socialization (Bahr, 1994). However, the influences of media have undermined Apache grandmothers’ passing of the torch to the younger generation. Time spent educating the young ones on Native American traditions have been replaced by watching television, listening to popular music or being involved in social networks (Bahr & Bahr, 1995).

Elders who are tasked to be the caregivers of their grandchildren have tendencies to nurture and keep them secure because it is their main role in the family. Because of this commitment, they usually resent the time when their wards grow older, leave the home every day for school and become adolescents. It is usually the parents’ role to help the children with their school. Berlin (1987) surmised:

“Elders respected by children often have little use for school since they see it as taking their children away from tradition into a destructive and alien world. Thus, many Native American children throughout their school experience, especially in adolescence, find there is no one to support their eagerness to learn or their special talents, and their cognitive development goes unnurtured” (p. 301).

Native American Children and Youth

Berlin (1987) recounts that in most of the Native American tribes and cultures studied, child-rearing methods promote the culture’s survival. Infants and toddlers are often exposed to several cultural activities in Native American life. This is carried on by older children and adults who model the same to younger children assumed to take over these roles in the future. The continuation of the cycle greatly depends on the effective transfer of traditional heritage from the older to the younger generations, as well as the skills required to keep the tribe surviving despite life’s challenges.

The deterioration of Native American cultures resulting from the cultural challenges brought on by Western influence has affected the child-rearing practices of parents. Dealing with actual physical displacement from their homes in the reservations and the emerging Anglo-cultural values and clamour for material comforts, Native American parents have been caught between traditional child-rearing practices believed to have developmental purposes for the children and the new lifestyle changes necessitating the satisfaction of daily needs which often conflict with tradition (Berlin, 1987). In some tribes, traditional tribal ways have been successfully retained despite some serious economic changes, and child-rearing have remained to be relatively smooth. However, in most other tribes, changes brought about by relocation have drastically transformed the usually peaceful child-rearing ways. For the few adolescents who remained in the reservation, they abandoned by their parents to seek employment outside. When the parents come back as failures, turn to alcohol and become indifferent to their previous roles as caregivers to their children. In such cases, adolescent development becomes adversely affected (Attneave, 1979; Beiser, 1972).

The rate of enrolment of Native American children has significantly increased at present with around 92% attending school. However, it does not necessarily follow that all these children graduate from high school. Although graduation rates have also improved from the past, it still does not measure up to the numbers of graduates of White Americans and Asians. Dropout rates remain to be high (about 3 out of every 10) for Native Americans whether in urban areas or in some reservations. (Indian Country Diaries, 2006). Rehyner (1992) encouraged teachers to get to know and interact with their students and customize their curriculum to meet all students’ needs.

Teachers need to understand where each of their students come from and make the effort to study their cultural attitudes and beliefs so they can incorporate these into their curriculum. That way, the children feel that they are valued regardless of their cultural background and become proud of their cultural heritage instead of repress it (National Caucus of Native American State Legislators, 2008). When cultural understanding and positive school environment are achieved, student resiliency and achievement follows (Gentry et al., 2012; Ogbu, 1981; Powers, 2005; Schunk et al., 2008; Thornton & Sanchez, 2010). This implies that opportunities to participate in activities and programs encouraging one’s own cultural practices, native language and cultural arts, to name a few, should abound in schools (Demmert, McCardle, Mele-McCarthy, & Leos, 2006).

Fuchs & Havighurst (1972) notes the inconsistencies of teachers and school authorities in their cultural expectations in the curriculum. Children are placed in ambivalent positions when they are asked to choose between their Native American heritage and schooling. They realize the great dilemma when they choose propagating the practices of their heritage because this causes them to fall behind in school and eventually drop out. On the contrary, if they abandon their heritage and choose to adopt the culture of their new environment, they suffer from guilt and psychological problems because their own people become offended. This results in being shunned by their families and tribesmen, making them turn to drugs and alcohol abuse. Berlin (1987) also noted the same thing with Native American children adopted by white families. Their prolonged separation from their people, even with brief intermittent visits, makes them feel different and alone in their situation. They cannot claim to be either “White” nor “Indian”, which translates to not belonging to any specific culture completely. It was found that they are more likely to develop psychotic depression, serious mental illness and suicidal tendencies than their counterparts who never left the reservation (Berlin, 1978; Goldstein, Freud & Solnit, 1973; Mindell & Gurwitt, 1977).

Tribal community members were open enough to discuss the challenges and problems encountered by the Native American youth in their reservation community. One was problem identified was depression which brought about academic underachievement, substance abuse, conduct/oppositional behavior. Another was hopelessness manifested by sadness, apathy, suicidal thoughts, low self-esteem and low initiative (Mileviciute et al., 2013). In another study, though, the Native American youth in the Northern Plains reservation generally reflected a positive disposition about their personal lives and identified more strengths despite the challenges they face in their communities (McMahon et al., 2013). This was quite surprising considering the adverse circumstances they need to live with. Findings of the study showed that these youth were embedded with a variety of adaptive developmental assets to cope with their dire situation and helped them develop resiliency (McMahon et al., 2013).

The concern of tribal leaders of Native American communities with child development being a key to tribal survival has moved them to action. They advocate parents to be more active in their children’s education. One tribe has started the tradition of giving recognition rewards for academic success as well as the provision of travel experiences to motivate the children to study better. In tribes where arts and crafts are specializations, programs to engage younger children in Native American arts and craft are offered to unleash artistic talent early. Providing such opportunities to young children somehow cushions them from the difficulties of adolescent growth and development (The Third National Indian Child Conference, 1981).

Native American Women

In more recent studies, Palacios & Kennedy (2010) argue that traditionally, Native American women’s identity and role as caretakers and culture bearers were all based on the principles of spirituality, extended family and tribe. Because of their association with food and its supply, the women gained power and status and it increased with age and wisdom. They were revered on their views on sacred matters, herbal medicines and tribal history.

However, in contemporary times, such heightened reverence for women has immensely decreased. The Native American woman has earned the reputation of being inadequate mothers. The “unmarried Indian mother” was usually convinced to give up her child for adoption. In a context of being given a “choice”, and the consideration of the possibility that the baby will have a better life with another family, the mother agrees. The child will be with parents who have the resources to provide for him or her (Jacobs, 2013). The Indian Adoption Project (IAP) was more successful in recruiting unmarried Indian mothers to relinquish their unborn babies for adoption and provided increased social services such as allowing them to live in maternity homes while awaiting the birth of the children instead of staying on in the reservation. Most young mothers opted to avail of the services of the maternity homes (Jacobs, 2013).

Native American women are more likely to suffer violent crimes, as domestic violence and abuse are very rampant in their culture (Indian Country Diaries, 2006). In a study by Bowker (1992), the Native American women participants all reported to being exposed to several social problems while growing up in the reservation. It is because of such exposure that they become desensitized to a variety of attitudes, situations and issues which non-Native girls in mainstream society may deem as huge, insurmountable issues. Their early exposure to alcohol abuse, child abuse, neglect and sexual abuse, legal disputes of parents and relatives and teenage pregnancies make them immune and desensitized that these are not considered deviant behavior anymore. It is no different in schools. There, they enter a world of people whose values may be different from theirs. They encounter uncaring teachers, low expectations of their skills and knowledge, insensitivity and abuse. The low expectations of their skills conflicts with high expectations of handling adult responsibilities inappropriate for them because they are far beyond their chronological years (Bowker, 1992).

Native American minority groups in the country have the highest birth rate compared to other ethnic groups. Most of them live in poverty on a much higher rate than their Caucasian counterparts. It is worse for women because they are discriminated upon in the workplace. Native American women get jobs, if at all, which pay very low because majority of them are not equipped with the skills and education for higher paying jobs. They are miserably paid for their efforts. To illustrate, average Caucasian women earn 59 cents as compared to the 17 cents earned by Native American women for the same job. It was also found that Native American women had the lowest percentage of employment in the work force with only 35% of them employed. Add to that, 25% of Native American families are headed by single mothers (Kikingbird, 1986).

In an effort to support Native American teen mothers, pilot programs spearheaded by mental health consultants have been developed. Pregnant adolescents remain in school during their pregnancies and earn credits when they take courses in child and personality development associated with practicum experience in a specified preschool or day care center (Berlin, 1987). There, they learn to care for infants and young children hands-on and the adverse effects of inadequate nurturance such as infants suffering from neuro-developmental problems. They also learn to relate to babies and children and gain experiences in caring for them. They learn how to stimulate them by holding, playing, entertaining, talking to them and observing their behaviors in various settings. Even after these adolescents give birth, they continue on with their education with their own babies. Lessons available for them include dealing with motherhood, relationships and relating to adults. Sometimes, their boyfriends, often their children’s fathers, attend sessions with them to bond and learn more about parenting (Goldstein, 1974).

In recognition of the pathetic state of Native American Women, President Bush in January, 2006 mandated the Violence Against Women Act with special provisions for such indigenous women. Under this act, Native American women are protected from assault, as anyone who commits such violence against a Native woman will be tried in federal court and penalized for up to a decade in federal prison. Serial sex offenders in tribal nations shall be tracked and entered in Indian Country sex offender registries. Domestic abuse against women shall also be prevented and the victims shall be supported by new grant programs. The Act also calls for funding for a baseline study of domestic abuse to get to the core of the problem and address it so domestic abuse will be significantly reduced, if not eradicated (Bowker, 1992).

Being people of color, Native Americans are usually subjected to racial discrimination. This means their racial reputation precedes them and they are adjudged accordingly, and it follows they are treated based on such reputation (Brooks, 1994). Some stereotypical labels given to Native Americans are “drunk Indian”, “the squaw” and the “Indian princess” (Schiffer, 2014). The drunk Native American Indian stereotype stemmed from the historical time when Native communities traded alcohol with colonists, but due to their inexperience with the substance, they easily got inebriated to the point that they cannot function normally. This stereotype portrayed Native Americans as “naturally inferior, lacking self-respect, self-control, dignity and morality” (The Ignoble Savage, n.d. as cited in Schiffer, 2014, p.1217). The drunk Native American Indian woman, on the other hand, is seen as dirty and negligent of her family in favor of alcohol. Another stereotype for Native American woman is the squaw, which means she is primitive, ugly and lacks grace. She is unattractive and haggard, subservient and abused tribal female who is considered the tribe’s prostitute or harlot, perceived to be of very low moral character (Merskin, 2010). She is the opposite of the Native American Indian princess, another stereotype of Native American women, drawn from the character of Pocahontas, made popular by the Disney movie of the same title. This stereotype is portrayed as the “noble savage”, who collaborates with white men to subdue her own people (Lajimodiere, 2013). Although it seems that the stereotype for the Indian princess is positive, it is actually a euphemism to demean the successes of Native American women. These stereotypes spring from a white colonist viewpoint rather than from the first-hand experiences of Native American women.

Native American Culture in Child Rearing

The comparison of value orientations of modern Anglo-American values and traditional Native American values differ much on their relationship with nature, tradition and group practices, family relations, thinking and communication inclinations. BigFoot & Funderburk (2011) recount how very personal as well as communal raising a Native American child is within a tribal unit:

“When an Indigenous woman discovered she was carrying a child within her, she would actively engage in song and in conversation with the yet unborn child. This ensured that the infant knew it was welcome and planted early seeds of respect and love. This new life was viewed as being eager to learn, a willing seeker of traits that would guide understanding of the self and others” (p. 311).

Each child is traditionally believed to have what it takes to grow into a worthwhile person. The whole tribe expects a child to manifest good behavior and this becomes the child’s motivation to be good and to feel that they belong to the tribe (Atkinson, Morten & Sue, 1998). As suggested by the attachment and family systems theories, a child’s warm reception by his family and establishment of positive relationships are crucial to his development. His identification with the tribe takes precedence over his own individuality (Atkinson, Morten & Sue, 1998; Wilbum, Ballew & Sullivan, 2004). Raising the child with indigenous practices is a cooperative communal effort (Forehand & Kotchick, 1996; Glover, 1999; Masse et al., 2004) of not only the child’s parents but also his grandparents, great-aunts and uncles, younger aunts and uncles and even adopted relatives (BigFoot, 1989) Children have a very special place in society and they are considered gifts from the Creator. The parents and caregivers are tasked to nurture the children and implant in them seeds of honor and respect. When children grow up practicing respect for others, their parents and caregivers are confident that when they are returned to the Creator, they have fulfilled their mission. This may be reinforced by honoring them through ceremonies, giving them worthwhile and meaningful names or recognizing them in special events such as in honorary dinners, dances or giveaways (Bigfoot & Funderburk, 2011). Giveaways entail giving the child a special item to honor him and his good deeds. Many times, a caregiver would remove personal items of clothing, jewelry or other possessions to give to a child while commenting, “I am giving this to you because you are consistent in cleaning your room and obeying your parents.”

The way parents and relatives speak about the child, often within his hearing range, affects how he behaves so positive language is used to develop his initiative and self-esteem. Seeds of desired traits a parent implants in the child should be nurtured well by repeatedly acknowledging such traits when they are manifested. When the child grows into adult hood, the traits will stay on with him and guide him to live a peaceful life. (BigFoot & Funderburk, 2011). Appropriate behavior is encouraged when parents say “My daughter makes me proud because of how she helps me in the kitchen to prepare dinner for the family. Her siblings are kept healthy by her willingness to extend her assistance”, or “My son is considerate of my weak knees because when I try to stand up, he readily assists me”. Even very simple efforts of children to help out are honored by the people around them and partake in “tending the good seed”. It also serves as cues to behave accordingly.

Disciplining Native American children are practiced in direct and indirect forms. One form of discipline believed to teach children of the consequences of their own actions is ‘noninterference’ or letting things happen the way they were meant to happen (BigFoot, 1989). This concept does not imply inaction in the face of grave potential harm but allows a person to have a choice. For example, if a child refuses to eat, then the logical consequence is for him to be hungry. The parent allows it because the child has made a choice that eventually he learns something from. BigFoot (1989) differentiates noninterference from ignoring. When a child continues to misbehave, he is ignored or removed from the environment that used to enforce desirable responses from him so he feels deprived of such positive conditions. When he continues with his inappropriate behavior, he becomes outcast by the community. His behavior is considered as a deliberate disobedience to the rules and expectations which were made clear from the beginning. His punishment matches the gravity of his misdemeanor. Often, chastisement becomes the duty of an uncle or elder instead of the parent in order for the parent-child bond to be kept intact and avoid straining their relationship (BigFoot-Sipes & Willis, 1993). Children are not considered “bad” because of their misdemeanors. Parents and community members prefer to see it as a lack of understanding on the part of the child, hence, he or she needs to be guided accordingly of what is right. He is made to understand that his actions affect the people around him whether they are positive or negative. Hence, more desirable behaviors are encouraged. Discipline, in indigenous beliefs, is associated more with the instilling of self-control and following rules rather than the imposition of punishment when a child strays from the righteous path (BigFoot, 1989). Big Foot & Funderburk (2011) contend:

“Discipline is the broader concept and punishment is a narrow response to a specific behavior. For many tribes, self discipline is highly prized as demonstrated by traditions of fasting, vision quests, endurance during ceremonies, and self denial leading up to ceremonies and feast days” (p. 313).

The Reservation

Life in the reservation is typically described as hard and impoverished. Krupat (1996) reports that Native Americans experience:

“twelve times the U.S. national rate of malnutrition, nine times the rate of alcoholism, and seven times the rate of infant mortality; as of the early 1990s, the life of reservation-based men was just over forty four years, with reservation-based women enjoying, on average, a life expectancy of just under forty-seven years.” (pp.30-31).

Such dire conditions are echoed in the literature, with the U.S. Census Bureau (2009) reporting that while the national poverty rate is about 10% for Caucasian families, poverty rate for Native American families in the reservation is about thrice that rate. Unemployment rates have reached 50% or higher (U.S. Census Bureau, 2009). The economic deprivation brought about by poverty results to “low educational attainment, substance use, incarceration, child abuse, teen pregnancy, school dropout” (Evans, 2004 as cited in Mileviciute, 2013). However, to counter such negative effects, Native American communities make use of their traditional cultural values and practices to offer their youth the resources they need to still develop optimally despite their dire circumstances (Whitbeck et al., 2002).

Reservation schools usually integrate culture-centric practices in their curriculum as they educate students within their culture (Mackety, 2011) as opposed to dominant-culture schools outside the reservation which are less likely to include strong cultural contexts in their lessons (Gentry & Fugate, 2012). One example is the mandate given by the Navajo Sovereignty in Education Act of 2005 to its Navajo tribe schools. This mandate expects schools to incorporate its native language, culture, history, government and K’e (Character) in the curriculum (Mead et al, 2010). It is believed that in doing so, preservation of the Navajo language and culture is ensured for the benefit of future generations of the Navajo people (Navajo Nation DoDE, 2011). Thus, people from the tribe should be welcome to offer their support and contribution to the school to enhance children’s knowledge of their culture.

Life Off the Reservation

Relocating from the reservation into urban areas has overwhelmed several Native Americans who were first exposed to a life outside the reservation. For most relocates, they were not prepared for the urban trappings of technology and progress. It was exciting to find out about these. However, some who preferred to stay in the reservation warned those who went out about the deterioration of their Native American culture if they become too impressed with non-Native lifestyle.

Miller (2013) explained that instead of dismissing their traditional Indian values as a hindrance to their success in modern America, some native relocates appealed to tradition being their source of strength. Former Bureau of Indian Affairs field agent and military policeman, Benjamin Reifel encouraged his Native American constituents to be hopeful and resist the urge to fail and advocated for a change of attitude in creating the necessary cultural adaptation in order to function within the economic and social systems of the mainstream society (Miller, 2013).

Still, the reality of the difficulty in finding a job, urban congestion, language barriers and geographic were strongly felt despite the relocates enthusiasm for their new environment and the encouragement to be brave. Many returned to the reservation but several also achieved varying degrees of success in their relocated homes (Miller, 2013).

Native American Parenting

In analyzing parent-child relationships in Native American families, especially the mothers raising their children single-handedly, it is worthy to look into attachment theories. Bowlby’s Attachment Theory (1969) explains that an individual’s experiences with his or her significant relationships in the earliest stages of life are responsible for his or her survival functions as he or she grows and develops throughout the life span. Bowlby (1969) identified four kinds of attachment styles, namely secure, avoidant, ambivalent/anxious, and disorganized. Those who have formed secure attachments have no difficulty establishing close relationships to others. They form healthy, happy and trusting personal relationships without any fear of being too dependent on them or being abandoned. This is because they may have grown up in nurturing and responsive homes with early attachments having all three components of closeness, care and commitment. In contrast, some people establish negative, avoidant behaviors towards the people they have relationships with. Their avoidant attachments formed early in life made them reluctant to open up emotionally because they feel uncomfortable getting close to other people. For these individuals, their independence and self-sufficiency should be maintained because from the time they were younger, they have been exposed to cold, unattached caregivers who did not provide them with the love and security they craved, hence, they learned to fend for themselves. People who have formed ambivalent attachments may be inconsistent in relating to others as they may have grown in an environment where their caregiver has also been inconsistent in giving them love and affection, and have developed insecurities due to this. The same goes for those who formed disorganized attachments. As young children, they were exposed to caregivers who were not organized themselves and have passed this trait on to the children. They usually engage in unhealthy relationships and develop dysfunctional behaviors (Brodie, 2012).

Berlin (1987) point out that distressed Native American mothers, mostly still adolescents, tend to lash out on their babies because they are not equipped with the maturity to handle the demands of an infant. They become irrational and angry and hurt their children to stop them from crying or simply abandon and neglect them (Beiser, 1981). In turn the infants and children are left poorly cared for, and healthy attachments are not formed. This result in their inability to trust anyone nor develop the confidence they need to ensure their own well-being.

“The resulting developmental delays cause such a child to be deficient both in curiosity and in the physical ability necessary to explore and to become an avid learner. The anger, hostility, depression, and isolation that may develop instead tend to destine the youngster never to learn to trust others or to make sustaining relationships.” (Berlin, 1987, p. 302).

Other outcomes of poor or abusive parent-child relationships, coercive parenting and caretaker rejection are suicidality (Walls, Chappie, and Johnson, 2007), greater problem behaviors in children (Momper and Jackson, 2007); inability of children to become good parents themselves as adults (Libby, Orton, Beals, Buchwald, and Manson, 2007). On the other hand, strong parent-child relationships prevent adolescent delinquent behaviors and its related problems (Mmari, Blum, and Teufel-Shone, 2010) among Native American families. Such impact of parent-child relationship on a child’s future relational well-being supports the systems theory of intergenerational transmission of relational patterns.

In terms of academic performance, Gentry & Fugate (2012) contend that when parents and families are involved in their children’s schooling, children manifest improvement in their behavior, motivation and academic achievement no matter what socio-economic background they have (Kratochwill et al., 2004). Successful parental involvement included:

  1. Parenting (assisting parents in creating supporting home environments that foster student success);
  2. Communicating (keeping open lines of communication between school and home);
  3. Volunteering (recruiting parents to become involved in school and classroom programs);
  4. Learning at home (informing parents of effective practices in helping students with homework and other curricular activities);
  5. Decision-making (engaging parents as advocates for both student and school success); and
  6. Collaborating with community (providing parents with access to community resources). (Epstein, 2001, cited in Gentry & Fugate, 2012, p. 635)

Mackety & Linder-VanBerschot (2008) found from their focus group interviews that Native American parents identified two types of school involvement namely school-oriented involvement and home-oriented involvement. The school-oriented involvement included parents being active in communication with teachers and other school personnel, actively attending school events, volunteering their time in school and advocating for their children. Home-oriented involvement on the other hand, referred to helping their children with school work, showing interest in their children’s educational concerns, encouraging their children to do their best in their studies and enjoining other members of the family and community members in the educational processes of their children. Some parents complained about certain barriers in their involvement such as not feeling welcome in their children’s school, their own negative experiences in their school history, observations of the school’s nonchalance about their parent involvement, gaps in cultural sensitivity and barriers in language and communication. Other parents identified their own limitations in being more involved in their children’s school such as financial constraints, lack of child care for those left at home, lack of resources and facilities to do work for the school and transportation problems in going to school (Macekty & Linder-VanBerschot, 2008).

Epstein (2001) emphasizes the value of collaboration between the home, school and the community as it is bound to result in the best outcomes for children. This is summarized in the following:

“the responsibility for improvement is shared by all of those involved in the education of Native students—public, tribal, and federal school and government officials; parents and students; and community members” (The Indian Nations at Risk Task Force, 1991, p. 32).

Children benefit much from increased parental support and involvement in their schooling as it strengthens student motivation, self-efficacy and self esteem. It conveys the message that school is important and should not be taken for granted (Epstein, 2001).

Parenting Interventions

From the foregoing discussion, Native American parenting has been mostly affected by historical trauma and to prevent further damage to cascade down to the younger generation, some parenting interventions have been designed taking into account the cultural and environmental context of Native American families living in more contemporary times. Braveheart (1999), for example, developed a psycho-educational intervention for parents to manage the damage derived from historical trauma. The intervention exposed them to traumatic memories and cognitive integration in light of the tribe’s culturally accepted parenting practices to make them aware of the impact of historical trauma on their own parenting skills. The intervention provides opportunities for the parents to reconnect to their tribal culture and values, strengthens their kinship to their extended networks and empowers them as parents (Goodkind et al., 2012) to know what to avoid with their children that they know will create much damage.

Dionne et al. (2009) created an evidence-based parenting program called “The Incredible Years” specifically designed to incorporate traditional Native American beliefs and values as well as discussion of historical trauma and current injustices experienced in contemporary society. Significant improvements in parenting and child behavior were manifested as compared to a control group, proving that parenting interventions that are developed with the backdrop of historical trauma and a healing framework are effective.

Another parenting intervention is the Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) developed by Sheila Eyberg, Ph.D. She originally created this program for families with very young children who have disruptive behavior disorders. The program fused two prominent child therapy models at the time namely Axline’s (1947) traditional play therapy which focused on the child’s behavior and free expression of emotions in a safe environment; and child behavior therapy, which focused on the parent with the role of change agent based on social learning theories (Patterson, 1975). This model aims to foster strong bonds between parents and their children and to build up parenting skills on setting limits and providing structure in reversing negative behavioral patterns.

BigFoot & Funderburk ‘s (2011) belief of the need to go back to consulting the old wisdom in the raising of children as the center of the Circle is consistent with the PCIT’s principles of “Honoring Children” and the structure of “Making of Relatives”, which are Native American values. Essential to the Native American tribes is the ‘Circle Theory’ which includes old wisdom about relationships, care for the environment, affirmations, identity and inclusion.These principles have been applied to past generations, but were interrupted when the social composition of the indigenous people was threatened and almost shattered (BigFoot & Funderburk, 2011).

PCIT has been found to be compatible with traditional Native American parenting practices. It incorporates approaches from social learning theory, family system theory and play therapy techniques which are all acceptable theories that natives already practice. Both focus on behaviors, relationships and acknowledge children’s developmental levels with minimal cultural bias (BigFoot & Funderburk, 2011). It teaches parents to be keen observers of their children as well as become good role models to them. This is parallel to the teachings of Albert Bandura who claimed that people acquire behaviors through observation and subsequently, imitation of what they have observed. The same principle has been practiced by Native Americans who taught children to “watch and listen” because it is by doing so that they learn (BigFoot, 1989).

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, combined with motivational interventions is well suited for families devastated by substance abuse (Chaffin et al., 2009), which many Native American families are. Parents who have substance abuse issues are usually guilty of child physical abuse and neglect, disrupting their family’s peace, harmony and stability (BigFoot & Funderburk, 2011).

Native American principles of Honoring Children-Making Relatives are relevant to the foundations of PCIT especially when it applies similar principles from the Circle Theory and Old Wisdom. The Parent Training Manual of PCIT was incorporated with traditional Native American cultural beliefs and concepts in parenting to create a program to enhance the intervention for Native American families (BigFoot, 1989).

Goodkind et al. (2012) reported the responses of parents to a community-based, culturally grounded mental health intervention for Native American youth. The intervention called “Our Life”, was run once a week for six months and it promoted the mental health of youth and reduced violent tendencies by involving parents as well as youth aged 7-17 years. They were involved in four kinds of activities namely:

  • recognizing and healing historical trauma;
  • reconnecting to traditional culture and language;
  • learning and sharing culturally appropriate parenting practices and social skills for youth; and
  • building relationships between parents and youth through horse-assisted and other experiential activities. (Goodkind et al., 2012, p. 470)

Most parents welcomed the idea of exposing their children in their traditional culture and expressed their desire to raise their children with its values. Many admitted their lack of knowledge of some traditional parenting philosophy and practices, having embraced more modern culture and wanted to be reacquainted with their roots. Parents reported better parenting habits as learned from the program. Some claimed they have increased their warmth and encouragement for their children so they develop better self-esteem. Their discipline techniques have also become more positive instead of negative and rules are better explained as well as the consequences of their actions are discussed to teach them life lessons. Less effective parenting practices were also reported to have decreased significantly such as the constant use of punishment, not involving the children in decision-making or being overly permissive to them. They also shared that there is an increase of their knowledge of resources that support them in their parenting such as some government agencies, other parents who provide helpful information and even articles read from the internet that provide them with guidelines on better parenting.

Anger management was also addressed in the intervention and parents reported an increased ability to manage their anger. One parent reported:

“I learned a lot of how I shouldn’t take out my anger on my daughter, or even when I’m sick. I’ve got to take a moment and pull myself together when I’m tired, and always be willing to listen to her, and just be there for her” (Goodkind et al., 2012, p. 474).

Communication between parents and children was also enhanced. After the intervention, the parents found themselves with increased contact with their children and more frequent shared dinners, family meetings and bonding experiences occurred.

One parent eagerly shared:

“I also did this mostly for my other, youngest daughter, because she was Going through a period of depression… and that’s why I went into this program with them to learn about their culture…. That really brought out a lot of her thoughts and her feelings, and helped her cope a lot better. She’s been doing pretty good ever since. She started doing good in school. Outspoken. A lot brighter person—happier person. We can communicate more than before we started this program. I’m trying to just interact with my girls, to be closer I guess you could say. I pretty much am very busy, and thought maybe they’ll do everything on their own, because they were getting older, but probably that’s why I missed it. That’s why I wanted to be involved in this program—maybe it would help them, especially my daughter. It did. It really did help her.” (Goodkind et al., 2012, p. 475)

This quote sums up common sentiments of the parents in the intervention. Aside from the improvement of parent-child relationships, the parents observed over-all positive outcomes for their children’s behavior and well-being. School performance improved and there was a significant reduction in delinquent behavior. Generally, the intervention resulted in commendable outcomes and was responsible in bringing the families involved in the program closer together (Goodkind et al., 2012).

The interventions discussed are recommended for environments that cater to troubled Native American families especially those headed by women in single-parent households raising their children off the reservations.

The Crow Indians of Montana

This study shall focus on the tribe of Crow Indians from the Northern Plains of Montana, as the women to be interviewed are from that tribe. This section now focuses on the history and lifestyle of the Crow Tribe in Montana.

The Crow Indians of Montana agreed to cessation with their land in 1868. Although they were a peaceful people when they were ousted from their land at that time, within fifty years, they had representatives lobbying in congress to save their last remaining property (Hoxie, 1991)

The Crows persisted to keep their culture, as exhibited by anthropologist Fred Voget, author of The Shoshoni-Crow Sun Dance and other cultural articles, including one on the description of the Crow people’s personality types (Hoxie, 1991).

Like most Native American tribes, the Crows are very family-oriented. Members can rely on traditional clan and kin for support and protection of orphaned children, poor parents or disabled elderly members. This kind of close-knit value system amazed George W. Frost who, when he was the superintendent of the Crow Reservation in 1877, observed a prevalence of marital infidelity. Polygamy was common and socially accepted, with the men taking as many wives as they can support, as adultery was not considered a crime. However, statistics reflect that Crows valued marriage. It was reported that 20% of Crows married four or five times or more and for each marriage it was for a long-term union (Hoxie, 1991).

Summary

Native American families have gone through much pain in the history of their people. It was discussed in this chapter the events that caused the deterioration of the once-solid family structures that embraced traditional values and communal child-rearing of tribal units. Aside from the forced separation of children from their parents to be sent off to boarding schools or adopted by White families, migration outside of reservations of families seeking better opportunities have further contributed to the decline of traditional Native American culture, values and practices. These have once been woven into fabric of integrity of the Native American Indian people.

Marred by hopelessness, Native American families who have had no luck with opportunities outside the reservation have succumbed to lives damaged by unemployment, alcoholism, substance abuse and other negative factors. These have greatly impacted the parenting capabilities of Native Americans, especially the mothers who are often left on their own to raise their children. Historical trauma has left deep scars that have been passed on from generation to generation. Children imbibe them through family systems exposing them to the negative outcomes of the traumatic experiences of their ancestors. In addition, such children contend with acculturation problems especially in school where their culture of origin are mostly shunned causing most of them to feel shame. It is with little doubt that such circumstances have caused a great number of Native American children to underperform or drop out of school.

Still, the strengths perspective theory gives much hope that Native American families are able to rise from the ashes of their devastating experiences to achieve their goals and be contributing members of society whether they live in the reservations or have relocated outside. Mothers, especially can find strength in their heritage of old wisdom in strong parenting values passed down from their Native American elders, if they only become open to it. The parenting interventions presented show evidence that such strengths can surface and serve them well.

Due to the dearth of research on the perspectives of Native American women raising their children outside the reservation, this study will endeavor to conduct interviews to explore how they are doing and what the state of their relationship with their children is. Each person has a story to tell, and this study hopes to collect a wide variety of stories of such women.

The theoretical framework that this study is built on shall guide the researcher in understanding various cases and help her put herself in their shoes. In hearing Native American women’s perspectives, information about their individual and common problems, parenting approaches, dilemmas, hopes and dreams for their children and themselves shall be unearthed. Such information shall be shared in this study as well as the possible action that can be done to address their issues and concerns.

Research Method

In this chapter I shall discuss the lived experiences of Native American mothers who are living off the reservations. I will explore their current living conditions, quality of living, and their parenting experiences raising their children. The following questions shall guide my research:

  1. What does it mean for a Native American woman to grow up on the Native American Indian reservation?
  2. What experiences have led Native American women who grew up on the reservations to choose to raise their own children off the reservations?
  3. What challenges do women who grew up on the reservations face when they try to raise their children off the reservations?
  4. What may be the reasons for Native American women who grew up on the reservations to remain off the reservation to raise their children?

Qualitative Research

Roberts-Holmes (2005) explains that qualitative researchers believe people create and share similar understanding of various situations. The use of narratives, case studies, observations and interviews to gather information enables them to elicit personal views of participants and interpret the data they have gathered in an attempt to move towards change or reformations or simply just to bring about better understanding of the phenomenon (Cresswell, 2013). For this study, research methods grounded in interpretive epistemological assumptions were employed to understand the phenomenon of Native American women who chose live off the reservations and how they raise their children. Since the topic of this study is “lived experiences” of Native American women, a very suitable method for this topic is the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). This method is a qualitative methodology that probes and explores participants’ insights to fully understand or at least gain a clearer perspective of what they go through in certain situations (Smith, 1996). It is essential for the social researcher to create knowledge through understanding the world with the eyes of the participants (Bryman, 2008). Thus phenomenology points to “an interest in the nature of human experience and the meaning that people attach to their experiences, with the assumption that the important reality is what people perceive it to be” (Kvale & Brinkmann 2009, p.26). Similarly, Berger and Luckmann (1966) earlier observed that:

“…the sociology of knowledge must first of all concern itself with what people ‘know’ as ‘reality’ in their everyday non-or pre theoretical lives” (Berger & Luckmann 1966, p.27).

Hence, whatever information the researcher can obtain from in-depth semi-structured interviews with participants can be thoroughly analyzed with reflective interpretative analysis (Smith, 1999). This means that interpretive research allows the individual to shape reality using its own interpretations, meanings and understanding (Kvale & Brinkmann 2009). For this research emphasis is placed on the active involvement of people in reality construction of common practices of Native American women in their child-rearing practices outside the reservation. In addition, secondary literature has been valuable in substantiating the findings.

In choosing IPA as a research method, I am ready to immerse myself in the world of my participants to better understand their situation. I am aware that during the interviews, I should take note of non-verbal communication they may convey and read between the lines. To ensure that I understood what they said, I should read and re-read the transcripts of the interviews as well as listen to the audio recordings to capture the full messages they want to impart. Basically, the IPA process involves noting observations of the interview by writing down some descriptive, linguistic and conceptual comments. Descriptive comments describe the content of the participant’s verbalizations. Linguistic comments focuses on the specific language use of the participant and conceptual comments focus on a more interrogative and conceptual level (Smith et al., 2009). Then comes the development of emergent themes that may prevail in the interview. Statements related to certain themes may be organized together for further analysis and then connections may be found across the themes identified (Smith et al., 2009). The literature then may be consulted to see if there are some explanations to such connections.

Data Collection Methods

For this study, the qualitative methods of Qualitative Content Analysis of the literature and in-depth interviews were adjudged to be the most suitable research methods for the research topic.

Qualitative Content Analysis

A comprehensive review of literature is essential in any study. This is because existing theories or practices as well as the experience or knowledge of experts and previous research provide a good foundation as well as an abundance of related constructs to the main topic of study (Krippendorff, 2004). In reviewing the literature, a competent researcher analyzes the content together with the data he wishes to pursue. Content analysis is “a research technique for making replicable and valid inferences from texts (or other meaningful matter) to the contexts of their use” (Krippendorff, 2004, p.18). It aims to provide knowledge, new insights, a representation of facts and a practical guide to action (Elo & Kyngas 2008).

The difference between qualitative content analysis and quantitative research methods is the presentation of the problem or topic to be studied. If quantitative research poses hypotheses, qualitative research poses open questions which guide the research and influence the data to be gathered (White and Marsh, 2006). The qualitative data is analyzed so concepts and patterns may be identified which are important to consider and report.

After having done the literature review, I have found that there is a lack of pertinent, first-hand information about the current topic, hence, this study is currently being conducted. However, previous researches have yielded helpful and relevant information regarding Native American women and their common background being raised on Native American reservations, and such information shall be used to analyze the qualitative data gathered during the interviews.

In-depth Interviews

Using interviews as a data-gathering method enables participants to discuss their interpretations of a concept as well as provide them with the chance to express their own opinions regarding the concept (Cohen et al., 2000). They are enabled to convey their personal feelings, opinions, experiences and interpretations of given situations (Milena, Dainora & Alin, 2008). Other qualitative methods such as observation or questionnaires may not provide Information as thorough as that taken from in-depth interviews (Blaxter, Hughes & Tight 2006).

Like questionnaires, interviews directly provoke a response by asking specific questions to participants. Robson (2002) draws attention to the three different styles of interview; fully structured; semi-structured and unstructured. In a fully structured interview, the interviewer has predetermined questions and uses them in a pre-set order. The semi-structured interview uses predetermined questions where the order can be modified or adapted as necessary. In an unstructured interview, the interviewer has a general area of interest, yet allows conversation to develop freely. This is the style of interview that I will use for this study.

Sensitive and responsible questioning on the part of interviewers can enhance the responses of the (Frey and Mertens-Oishi, 1995). In interviews, the response rate of participants is higher than in questionnaires because they are more involved in the process (Oppenheim 1992). It is a flexible tool that adapts to the situation and responses of the participants and being able to immediately follow up on their answers is one advantage this method has over others (Robson 2002).

A major disadvantage in any interview situation is the possibility of bias. (Grinnell & Unrau, 2008) The interviewer may unwittingly divulge his own opinion or expectations by the tone of his voice, or in the way questions are asked. Even when recording the interview it is important to remain aware of bias having an effect on how answers are understood and transcribed. However, these methods are a quick way to assess participant’s sincerity. Although participants may not always respond truthfully, honesty will need to be emphasized. Additionally, theoretical orientation may bias questions and interpretation of answers.

Research Design

Participants of the Study

In this study, I will interview Native American mothers who reside outside Native American Indian reservations but are enrolled in the federally recognized Crow Tribe of Montana. The criteria in the selection of the participants are as follows:

  1. They should be Native American women who were raised in Indian reservations.
  2. They are enrolled in the federally recognized Crow Tribe of Montana.
  3. They have decided to leave the reservations and reside off it.
  4. They are raising their child/children off the reservations single-handedly, with a spouse/partner or with member of their family.

Finding women with the specific criteria required may be difficult for me unless I go to places frequented by such women or at best, find a community where there are several identified women as described in the criteria. I will seek help from people from the local university. Posting an announcement about my need for such participants around the university campus would be a good start. The announcement shall call on anyone who knows Native American mothers who reside outside the reservations to refer her to them to be participants in my dissertation study. My contact details shall likewise be included in the notice.

Apart from the university, I can approach agencies known for supporting Native Americans and ask for referrals for participants. Once I finds the first or second prospective participant, it would be easier for me to be referred to others, especially those known by the first two participants. Another option is using social media such as Facebook to recruit participants, as in that platform, news and information spread easily to a wide network in a short period of time. I can post the notice on her Facebook page and set the privacy settings to “public” so anyone can see it or set up a public page to attract prospective participants who may possess the desired criteria for participants of my study. It is important for me to inform my own social network that I need their help in disseminating such information until the actual participants get hold of the notice. I am aiming for six to ten (6-10) participants for this study.

Estimated duration of the interview is an hour or two depending on the openness and willingness of the participant to engage in honest and detailed conversation about her life as a Native American woman who chose to live outside the reservation and raise her children away from it.

As the researcher, I am aware that there are various factors which may contribute to the unreliability of the data to be gathered from the interviews and will try her best to reduce them the best way possible. One is researcher bias on the part of the participants. Participants may make an effort and cooperate just to please the researcher even if what they share may not be true. Hence, honesty and sincerity on the part of the participants should be emphasized and they should be assured that no judgment shall be passed on what they will share. An additional factor may be participant error, which may result from exhaustion due to the thoroughness of the interview process (Robson, 2002). I will make it a point to have reasonable breaks during the interview if I observe any symptoms of tiredness on the part of the participants.

Setting

Interviews shall be conducted in an agreed venue that is neutral territory for the participants. It should be conducive to the participants to share their insights openly without any threat to their safety and security. Possible venues are a coffee shop, a chapel or a park. Schedule of interview sessions shall be at the convenience of the participants.

Procedure

Upon gaining the necessary permits, if any, to conduct interviews with the participants, I shall contact the participants individually to explain what the study is all about – its objectives, significance and negotiate the details of the interview schedule. On the day of the interview, I will conduct the interview guided by prepared questions, however, is open to the direction the discussion may go in case the participants may choose to spend more time on some questions or bring up related topics to the discussion.

The whole interview shall be audio-recorded with the permission of the interviewee. To avoid the participants being self-conscious, therefore affecting their candidness and spontaneity, video recording shall be avoided. The recordings shall be transcribed in verbatim for further analysis after the interview.

Confidentiality of the participants’ identity shall also be ensured to gain the trust and rapport of the participants and to make them feel more confident in sharing their own personal experiences and insights.

I shall give a token of appreciation to each participant at the end of the interview. It is for their time and effort in participating in the study. It is best that I do not inform them beforehand of the token so that they remain candid and free from any expectations of rewards that could affect their participation. An example is agreement to participate only for the sake of the reward that comes after and not necessarily provide quality and honest answers that would contribute to the validity and worthiness of the data gathered.

Data Collection Instruments

The only instruments to be used for this study are the research materials used in the literature review and the guide questions for the semi-structured interviews. These questions are as follows:

  1. What does it mean for a Native American woman like you to grow up on the Native American Indian reservation?
  2. What experiences have led you as a Native American woman who grew up on the reservations to choose to raise your own child/children off the reservations?
  3. What challenges do you face as a woman who grew up in the reservations and are now raising your child/ children off the reservations?
  4. What are the reasons for your decision to raise your child/ children off the reservations?
  5. How do you evaluate your life with your children now that you are living off the reservations?
  6. Do you have anything else to share with regards to your situation?

Validity of the Data

The validity of the data gathered would come from the integrity of the participants’ responses and its close parallelism to the research literature. Ensuring qualitative validity is quite different from quantitative studies. In quantitative research, the hypotheses presented at the beginning of the study guides the researcher in determining the construct validity of the data derived from the research process as well as the appropriate methodology to be used (Wainer and Braun,1988). The construct validity is expected to interplay with the data as applied from the test or research process manipulating the identified variables. The data derived may support or reject It also depends on how tightly they integrate their issues and concerns to the research topic (Butt,1992). The participants’ perspectives provide a vivid picture to the researcher because the participants are considered experts on their own life experiences.

Heron (1988) provides a more formal definition of validity that this study shall take on. It is the coherence of knowledge gained from research from the experiential information given by the interviewees along with the practical knowledge of how one acts in specific situations and contexts.

Trustworthiness supports the argument that the research findings are “worth paying attention to” (Lincoln & Guba 1985, p.290). For a research to be trustworthy, it should have credibility, transferability, dependability and conformability. Credibility refers to the authenticity of the participant and the information he or she provides. It should reflect the truth so that the conceptual interpretation of the data provided is reliable. Transferability is the applicability of the findings to other situations, other than the topic of of the study. Dependability refers to the quality of the integrated processes of data collection, analysis and the establishment of new theories. Finally, confirmability shows how well the research findings are supported by the data (Lincoln & Guba: 1985).

Analysis of Data

In analyzing the data derived, the interview transcripts should be examined thoroughly for patterns of behavior or other pertinent information and should be appropriately categorized in thematic codes (Bowen, 2005). “Inductive analysis,” Patton (1980) explains, “means that the patterns, themes, and categories of analysis come from the data; they emerge out of the data rather than being imposed on them prior to data collection and analysis” (Patton 1980, p.l06). Bowen’s analysis of data supports Patton’s interpretation of data analysis and in addition, studies and patterns that emerged during the analysis and makes logical associations with the interview questions. She details the process of deriving her research findings as follows:

“At successive stages, themes moved from a low level of abstraction to become major, overarching themes rooted in the concrete evidence provided by the data. These emerging themes, together with a substantive-formal theory of ‘development-focused collaboration’ became the major findings of my study” (Bowen, 2005, p. 216).

The same method of data analysis shall be employed in this research. For each interview transcript, analysis of the text and identifying themes shall be carried out along with the list of themes that emerged from all the interviews as well as highlighting the lines or quotes from the participants that reflected the themes on a color-coded basis (one theme per color). Organizing the thematic responses in a table with clustered themes under identifying headings, the transcript quotes shall be added. The themes are grouped into clusters of concepts based on shared meanings. Original transcripts are checked and re-checked in search of similarities and differences and to ensure that themes are actually reflected in the data derived. The last stage in the organization of data is grouping the clustered themes of each participant into its corresponding master theme. Again, the process of thorough checking is done with the transcripts to ensure that relevant participant quotes are in the correct themes (Rake & Paley, 2009).

To supplement the data analysis, data gathered shall be compared to the theoretical framework designed in the literature review. The researcher shall confirm if the theories of Historical Trauma, Systems Theory, Acculturation Theory and Strengths Perspective apply to the lives of the participants. It may also be possible that a new theory can be established based on the common information shared by the participants that have not been discussed in any of the theories already mentioned.

Ethical Considerations

Kvale and Brinkmann (2009) argue that ethical decisions must be made throughout the research process. They point out four ethical rules for research on humans: the informed consent, confidentiality, consequences and the researcher’s role (Kvale & Brinkmann 2009). Informed consent shall be sought from the prospective participants themselves. Confidentiality shall be ensured to them, as some of the information they may share may be too sensitive that revealing their identities may be risky. Consequences of the interview process have also been studied. The safety and security of the participants shall be ensured at all times during the interview process. The researcher’s role is to clearly conduct the interviews as best as she can with utmost sincerity, honesty and kindness. Her role as interviewer of the participants is limited only to her functions in this study. This study shall comply with ethical standards and considerations in conducting research with human participants.

Blaxter et al (2006) state how “ethical research involves getting the informed consent of those you are going to interview, question, observe or take materials from.” (p. 158). Guidelines are given by Robson (2002) who maintain that an informed consent form should contain specific information, such as the nature and purpose of the project, information on confidentiality and anonymity, and a note to participants about being free to withdraw from the study. For the purpose of this piece of enquiry, all of the information highlighted by Robson (2002) as important will be included in a preliminary letter, as well as in a consent form that will be completed before the interview. Also included in the letter will be contact details for the researcher, should participants have any questions before the interview takes place.

During the data collection stage, confidentiality of participants must be respected at all times. (Frey and Mertens-Oishi, 1995). They shall also be informed that they are free to withdraw from their participation any time they feel uncomfortable or their safety and security are threatened with the information they share.

Limitations of the Research

This study is limited by the research questions posed as well as the nature of the participants recruited. Information derived from this research may not necessarily be applicable to the whole population of Native American women living off reservations but they may be suggestive of the conditions experienced by such women. The findings should not be applied to other cultural groups. These limitations should be taken into consideration by anyone reading the study.

Use of Research Data Results

Since marginalization of the Native American population has been established in the literature review, a more detailed examination of the lives of Native American families living outside the Indian reservations is worth doing. Gaining first-hand information from Native American mothers with regards to their current life conditions, child-rearing and the challenges they encounter in their daily lives is an essential step in identifying their needs. Such needs may be communicated to the appropriate agencies and individuals such as legislators, politicians, public administrators, social welfare personnel, etc. as they are in a better position to extend much-needed help to such population. Findings of this study may also be relevant in policy development and decision-making for the causes of Native American women and their children.

Summary

This chapter has thoroughly discussed the components of the research methods of this qualitative study. It has provided a background on the research process and compared qualitative and quantitative research methods. It has identified that the research methods to be used are Qualitative Content Analysis and Semi-structured interviews. It has also described the research design which indicated the selection of participants, setting and procedure of the research plan. The only data collection instrument to be used is the guide interview questions which were enumerated in this chapter. Being a qualitative study, validity of the data was also justified. Analysis of gathered data from the interviews was fully discussed as well.

The research methods selected for this study are best suited to the research topic on the lived experiences of Native American women raising their children off the reservations. Ethical considerations in conducting this study have been discussed as well as the limitations of the study and the use of the research data to be derived from the interviews with the Native American mother participants.

Results

First Heading

Present your results here. Refer to the appropriate dissertation checklist for guidance on the content of sections in this chapter.

This is an example of a table in APA style (see Table 1).

Table 1: A Sample Table Showing Correct Formatting

Column A Column B Column C Column D
Row 1
Row 2
Row 3
Row 4

Follow these instructions to allow figure number and caption to update in the List of Figures.

  1. Use the cursor to highlight the figure number and caption.
  2. In the Mark Table of Contents Entry that comes up, you will see the figure information that you highlighted in the Entry box. Put A in the Table Identifier box. Put 1 in the Level box. Do not close the Mark Table of Contents Entry box. Work can be done while it is open.
  3. Continue to follow this protocol for all figures. You will see parenthetical entry field coding beside each figure caption.
  4. Close Mark Table of Contents Entry box.
  5. Place your cursor on the List of Figures page in the TOC.
  6. Open the References tab.
  7. Left-click Insert Tables of Figures.
  8. In the Table of Figures box that comes up, put a check in the “Show page numbers” and “Right align page numbers boxes.” Remove the check from the hyperlink box. Put dot leaders in the Tab leader box. Under General, format is “from template.” Caption label is “Figure.” Put a check in the “Include label and number” box.
  9. Go to Options. Remove check from “style” box. Put a check in the “Table entry fields” box. Put A in the Table identifier box. Click OK. Click OK again on initial Table of Figures box.
  10. The figures will appear on the List of Tables page. You may have to reformat the spacing and font. If the captions themselves change, this whole process must be repeated. If only the page numbers change, do this:
  • Left click to place the cursor anywhere on the figures mentioned on the List of Figures page.
  • Right click “Update field.”
  • Place bullet in circle for option to update page numbers only.
  • Left click OK.
  • The page numbers will update automatically.

Discussion, Conclusions, and Recommendations

First Heading

Insert summary, conclusions, and recommendations here. Refer to the appropriate dissertation checklist for guidance on the content of sections in this chapter.

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