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Exploration of historical trauma among Yavapai-Apache Nation college graduates

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The Yavapai-Apache Nation represents one American Indian tribe whose experiences of historical trauma and alternative responses to historical trauma is not fully understood. This study sought to explore the presence of historical trauma among individuals who did not directly experience

The Yavapai-Apache Nation represents one American Indian tribe whose experiences of historical trauma and alternative responses to historical trauma is not fully understood. This study sought to explore the presence of historical trauma among individuals who did not directly experience events of historical trauma, and ways those individuals have dealt with the possible impact of historical trauma. The foundation of this research reflected that pathological outcomes may not be universal responses to historical trauma for a sample of Yavapai-Apache Nation college graduates, as evidenced by their academic success, positive life outcomes, and resilience. The study utilized Indigenous methodologies and conversational and semi-structured interviews with Yavapai-Apache Nation co-researchers and four central themes emerged. The first theme of Family indicated the Yavapai-Apache Nation co-researchers with a strong orientation toward the family. Families provided support and this positive perception of family support provided the encouragement needed to cope with various experiences in their lives, including school, raising their own families, career goals and helping to impart teachings to their own children or youth within the community. The second theme, Identity, indicated the co-researchers experienced the effects of historical trauma through the loss of language, culture and identity and that while losses were ongoing, they acknowledged the necessity of identity re-vitalization. The third theme, Survival, indicated that despite hardships, the co-researchers acknowledge survival as a collective effort and achieved by an individual’s efforts within the group. The co-researchers described their personal understanding of education and success. They also discussed how they contribute to the survival of the Yavapai-Apache Nation. The fourth theme, Intersection, indicated the co-researchers’ stories and experiences in which the themes of family, identity and survival intersected with one another. It was necessary to include this final theme to show respect for the co-researchers’ stories and experiences. Also discussed are the study’s strengths, limitations, and the implications for research with the Yavapai-Apache Nation and research with Indigenous Communities.

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Date Created
2018

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Himdag and belonging at Gila River: interpreting the experiences of Akimel O'odham college graduates returning to the Gila River Indian Community

Description

Belonging to a tribe or American Indian Indigenous group in the United States, even if one has already been enrolled or accepted into the community, is a lifelong endeavor. Belonging may be achieved by meeting specific criteria during one life

Belonging to a tribe or American Indian Indigenous group in the United States, even if one has already been enrolled or accepted into the community, is a lifelong endeavor. Belonging may be achieved by meeting specific criteria during one life stage yet one must continue to behave and act in ways that align with community expectations to maintain a sense of belonging throughout all life stages. This descriptive qualitative case study presents the findings of in-depth interviews, with five individual tribal members, two male and three female participants, ranging in age from 25 to 55, who are college graduates and tribal members. The study aimed to understand the different forms and ideas of belonging for tribal members, how the notion of belonging is understood and achieved over the life course, and how phenotypic arguments, blood quantum, the role of schooling and demonstration of tribal knowledge influences the extent to which belonging is earned and how that can change over time. The study sought to answer the following questions: How do tribal members define “belonging”? How and in what ways do tribal members learn how to become members of the community? And, what can tribal communities and tribal members do to foster a sense of belonging for members who have left to obtain professional or academic training and seek to return to serve the nation?

The study focused on participants the Gila River Indian Community, a tribal community in southwest Arizona with approximately 23,000 enrolled members, who completed a higher education degree and sought to return to serve as professionals and/or leaders at their tribal nation. Interviews were conducted off-reservation in the Phoenix metropolitan area within a 30-day window and held during the month of September

2015. Interviews were analyzed using three iterative levels of content analysis. Findings suggest there can be three methods of belonging within Gila River: belonging by cultural practices, belonging by legal definition, and belonging by both cultural and legal definition. However, the three methods of belonging do not automatically equate to being accepted by other tribal members.

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Date Created
2018