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Strengthening Aging and Gerontology Education for Social Work SAGE-SW

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Ethnic Identity & Acculturation Importance to Elders University of Oklahoma School of Social Work Master s Advanced Curriculum Project Dr. Lisa Byers (Cherokee) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Strengthening Aging and Gerontology Education for Social Work SAGE-SW


1

Ethnic Identity Acculturation Importance to
Elders
University of Oklahoma School of Social Work
Masters Advanced Curriculum Project Dr. Lisa
Byers (Cherokee) Supported by
2
Social Work Objectives
  • Importance of ethnic identity to elders
  • Review research
  • Provide definitions of ethnic identity that is
    relevant to elders and other ages of Native
    Americans
  • Build knowledge of the importance of ethnic
    identity
  • Significance to Psychological Functioning
  • Shapes behavior, thoughts, emotions
  • Orientation toward wellness, illness, and service
    use
  • Build knowledge of macro level influences for
    elders related to Native American identity

3
Review of Definitions
  • Ethnic Group
  • Subgroups that claim common ancestry share one
    or more of the following culture, phenotype,
    religion, language, kinship, or place of origin
  • Native American and Individual Tribes are
    examples of ethnic groups
  • Ethnic Identity
  • Ones sense of self as a member of an ethnic
    group
  • Indicates a dynamic understanding of self
    ethnic background
  • Can change across generations, in a new culture,
    in different contexts, with age development

4
Aspects of Ethnic Identity
  • Three Aspects
  • Ethnic Self Identification
  • Sense of Belonging to an Ethnic Group Feelings
    About Membership (Strength Valence)
  • Ethnic Identity Development the extent to which
    an individuals feelings understanding about
    their group have been consciously examined
    issues surrounding ethnicity have been resolved ?
    Achieved Ethnic Identity
  • Refer to Urban American Indian Ethnic Identity

5
Ethnic Identity Social Identity Theory2
  • Definition of Ethnic Identity Ethnic Component
    of Social Identity
  • Component of self concept comes from knowledge of
    membership in an ethnic group the value
    attached to that membership
  • How Is Ethnic Identity Expressed?
  • negative to positive Self identification
  • Attitudes towards ones own group and the
    dominant society
  • What is important to note is that individuals
    vary from negative to positive views of their
    ethnic identity
  • Possible to encounter different ethnic identities
    among social work clients. These identities can
    range from traditional to bi-cultural to fully
    assimilated.

6
Importance to Native Elders
  • Todays elders were the recipients of active
    assimilation efforts by the federal government
    through the Urban Indian Relocation Program,
    initiated in 1952
  • Todays elders were the direct recipients or
    first generation descendants of federal
    government efforts to assimilate tribal people
    through boarding schools, which lasted from
    1879-1918
  • There will be varying levels of ethnic identity
    tied to historic events within age related
    cohorts that will influence an elders
    participation in the family and tribal group

7
State of the Knowledge in the 20th
Century Ethnic Identity Across Groups1

Who Was Included?
  • Half-white ethnics
  • Greek/Italian/French Canadians
  • Jews
  • Blacks (U.S.)
  • Hispanics (U.S.)
  • Asians (U.S.) some in Great Britain/Canada
  • Was Identity Defined?
  • 2/3 of 70 studies provided no definition
  • Was There a Conceptual Framework?
  • A quarter of the studies provided no framework
  • Social Identity Theory (Social Psychology)
  • Acculturation and Culture Conflict (Anthropology
    Sociology)
  • Identity Formation (Developmental and Counseling
    Psychology)
  • Who Was Excluded?
  • Native Americans

8
Not traditional, not assimilated Elderly
American Indians and the notion of
cohortDeborah D. Jackson and Elizabeth E.
Chapleski
  • Addresses the lack of research on the elder
    population as a distinct segment of the Native
    American community
  • Framework relies on the construct of cohort to
    explore the implications of assimilation on elder
    ethnic identity
  • Importance to Social Work and Gerontology
  • Distinguishes the differences between age groups
    and the way in which they navigate through the
    various stages of the life course.
  • Highlights the sub-groups and sub-cultures
    present within a society and the preference of a
    cohort to interact with others from the same
    cohort.
  • Helps to understand the differences in beliefs,
    practices, and values among individuals within a
    cohort and those in the subsequent cohort.

9
Not traditional, not assimilated Table 1.
Conditions that prevailed for each cohort during
various periods of the life cycle
Age 0-9 Age 10-19 Age 20-29 Age 30-39 Age 40-49
Elder Cohort Born 1910-1919 Poverty, prejudice, boarding schools Poverty, prejudice, boarding schools Poverty, prejudice, boarding schools Termination, relocation Termination, relocation
Elder Cohort Born 1920-1929 Poverty, prejudice, boarding schools Poverty, prejudice, boarding schools Termination, relocation Termination, relocation Self-determination
Elder Cohort Born 1930-1939 Poverty, prejudice, boarding schools Termination, relocation Termination, relocation Self-determination Self-determination, MITW
Middle Cohort Born 1940-1949 Termination, relocation Termination, relocation Self-determination Self-determination, MITW, HF rights Self-determination, MITW, HF rights
Middle Cohort Born 1950-1959 Termination, relocation Self-determination Self-determination, MITW S-D, HF rights, MITW S-D, MITW, HF rights, casinos
10
Self Identification
  • Self identification alone (written or verbal) is
    not an indicator of ones ethnic identity

Please check appropriate box to indicate your
ethnicity? American Indian/Alaska Native
My Great-Great Grandmother was Cherokee
11
Ethnic Identity and Social Identity Theory
  • Elders along with all individuals need a sense of
    group identity to maintain a sense of well-being3
  • Group membership creates a sense of belonging
    which leads to a positive self concept
  • Ethnic Groups special case of group membership
  • If ethnic group is held in low status within
    dominant society there is the potential that
    membership within the group could lead to
    negative self-concept

12
Ethnic Identity DevelopmentHow Do We Assess?
  • Urban American Indian Identity Scale (UAIIS)4
  • Originally developed in 1995 by Dr. Karina Walter
  • Scale that asks individuals to indicate how much
    they agree or disagree with items that separately
    assess the four identity statuses. Can be used
    with reservation populations.
  • Internalization
  • Marginalization
  • Externalization
  • Actualization
  • Each of 4 domains contains five identity attitude
    dimensions political (Tribal land and treaty
    rights), ethnic (sense of shared heritage and
    "peoplehood"), racial (phenotype and blood
    quantum issues), cultural (tribal values,
    language), and spiritual (sacred sites, religious
    freedom)

13
Internalization Status
  • Internalization of negative dominant
    (Euro-American) group attitudes
  • Individuals in this stage view Whiteness or
    Euro-American values as superior to a traditional
    tribal worldview
  • The salient cognitive and affective components of
    this stage are denial of American Indian group
    membership to self and/or others, devaluation of
    traditional tribal spiritual practices,
    devaluation of land and religious freedom rights,
    and a hyper vigilance in maintaining this state.
  • Low esteem and high anxiety are the additional
    characteristics of individuals in this stage
  • Behavioral manifestations of internalization
    include identity management (passing for white),
    denying American Indian heritage, avoidance of
    American Indian individuals, groups, and events

14
Marginalization
  • Requires some onset event or experience that
    challenges the individuals ascription to the
    dominant societal values
  • A sense of being different creates dissonance
    with ones ability to continue to identify with
    non-Indian beliefs and practices
  • Contact with other tribal people in a different
    stage of development may be the onset event
  • Referred to as awakening to racial, ethnic,
    cultural, spiritual, and political consciousness
  • One does not immediately drop the old views and
    adopt a new Indian identity. There is struggle
    and ambivalence as one negotiates a new sense of
    self and group identity and how to be in response
    to the larger society
  • The experience of being caught between two worlds
    characterizes this stage with its attending
    feelings of anxiety and depression
  • There is an increase in self esteem with a
    decrease in anxiety toward the end of stage two
    as contact with other American Indians increases

15
Externalization
  • Marked by the shedding of dominant group
    attitudes with attempts to immerse the self in
    tribal culture resulting in an increased desire
    to attend cultural events, and community
    gatherings, become politically active, and seek
    out relationships with other tribal people
  • Stereotypes are replaced by an idealization of
    what it means to be a Native American
  • There is a desire for knowledge of traditional
    beliefs, spirituality, and practices. A
    Pan-Indian identity may be assumed in contrast to
    a specific tribal affiliation if the individual
    or their tribe/s is more acculturated
  • The consolidation of self and group identity is
    progressing
  • Orientation toward the dominant group is anger
    and rage, which is a primary affect in this stage
  • Cognitive characteristics are hyper vigilance and
    suspiciousness of dominant society and its
    members
  • Lowered self esteem and increased anxiety
    accompany this stage as well due to
    confrontations with individuals and organizations
    that espouse the dominant societal values and
    views. Internal confrontations abound as the
    individual addresses any remaining negative
    internalizations of Native Americans
  • The end of this stage is indicative of knowledge
    and respect for within group diversity

16
Actualization
  • Self acceptance, lowered anger, decreased
    anxiety, and higher self esteem create an inner
    balance that is based on an integrated Indian
    self identity and positive group identity
  • Cultural connections of a spiritual, political,
    and cultural nature grow with social action as
    the primary means of confronting negative
    dominant group attitudes and practices
  • There is a focus on tribal specific customs and
    practices. A tribal identity may often replace
    the prior primary Pan-Indian identification
  • The ability to negotiate two worlds is
    characteristic of this stage without any
    compromise of the internal AI beliefs
  • Interactions with White Americans are determined
    on an individual level versus reacting to them as
    purely dominant group members

17
Distinguishing Ethnic Identity from Acculturation
Enculturation
  • Acculturation refers to the process by which
    individuals learn about and identify with the
    dominant society.
  • Enculturation refers to the process which
    individuals learn about and identify with their
    traditional ethnic culture.
  • Acculturation and enculturation both affect
    ethnic identity, but they are not the same as
    ethnic identity.

18
Issues in Practice and Research
  • Do not typically assess an elders ethnic
    identity, but ask for ethnic self identification
  • Appears to be a broad/general understanding of
    ethnic identity, but defined differently in
    research
  • Ethnic identity, acculturation, and enculturation
    are critical concepts for practitioners and
    researchers to understand
  • Significance of ethnic identity to psychological
    functioning
  • Shapes behavior, thoughts, emotions
  • Orientation toward wellness, illness, coping
    behavior, and service use

19
Social Work Implications
  • Be aware of ethnic identity and its complexity
    within elders, their families, and communities
  • Assess ethnic identity if possible
  • Different strengths of the identity statuses
    exist across individuals that self identify as
    Native American
  • Ethnic identity development is fluid and changes
    across time within a person
  • Ethnic identity has been studied as a protective
    factor for mental health
  • Marginal status has been associated with a higher
    risk for depression

20
Social Work Interventions
  • For those that are marginal and not identified
    with a tribal culture, American society, or any
    ethnic group
  • Interventions to move them from a marginal status
    to identification with a group is a potential
    intervention dependent on the clients
    identification of this as a goal
  • Create macro level interventions that will
    enhance tribal identification
  • Interventions will be accessible for those that
    want to increase their connection
  • Interventions that communicate the history within
    the federal government of assimilation that
    impacted acculturation, enculturation, and ethnic
    identity to resolve potential issues related to
    anger or guilt for losing a sense of the self as
    a tribal member

21
References
  • Jackson, D.D. Chapleski, E.E. (2000). Not
    traditional, not assimilated Elderly American
    Indians and the notion of cohort. Journal of
    Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 15, 229-259.
  • Lewin, K. (1948). Resolving social conflicts. New
    York Harper.
  • Phinney, J. S. (1998). Ethnic identity in
    adolescents and adults Review of research. In P.
    Balls Organista, K. M. Chun, G. Marin (Eds.),
    Reading in Ethnic Psychology (pp. 73-99). New
    York, NY Routledge.
  • Tajfel, H. (1978). The social psychology of
    minorities. New York, NY Minority Rights Group.
  • Walters, K. L. (1995). Urban American Indian
    identity and psychological wellness. Unpublished
    doctoral dissertation.
  • Walter, K. L. (1999). Urban American Indian
    identity attitudes and acculturation styles.
    Journal of Human Behavior and the Social
    Environment , 2 (1/2), 163-78.
  • Zimmerman, M.A., Washienko, K.M., Walter B,
    Dyer S. (1996). The development of a measure of
    enculturation for Native American youth.
    American Journal of Community Psychology, 24,
    295-310.
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