ERIC Number: ED124357
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976-May-1
Reference Count: 0
Assimilation Versus Self-Identity: A Modern Native American Perspective.
Sawyer, Thomas E.
Assuming that a romanticized view of American Indians is as disasterous as a bigoted view, this paper considers some alternatives for Native American life directions which go beyond the present narrow choices of either total assimilation within the white value system or isolation on the reservation. Major points presented are: (1) forced assimilation has not worked; (2) indifference is the essence of inhumanity; (3) a viable social philosophy must unite and utilize the experiences and cultures of many different peoples, taking into account the evolving experience of multi-cultural/multi-lingual people; (4) the new organizing principle of our institutions may be symbiotic--the successful and necessary reconciliation of apparently irreconcilable differences; (5) the loss of traditional ways does not necessarily equate with loss of identity (the loss is in and of itself part of the identity), since identity is the conception of or feeling about events lived by a people; (6) the Indian in America needs to feel pride in his people before he can gain self-esteem, and he cannot develop self-esteem if others rob him of the opportunity to do things for himself; (7) coexistence of multiple viable social systems in America should enhance our sense of freedom, as freedom is predicated upon the presence of alternatives. (JC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: An address to the Western Social Science Association Conference (18th, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, May 1, 1976)