ERIC Number: ED331666
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Oct
The Box and the Circle--Two Systems of Life: A Model for Understanding Native-Non-Native Issues.
Working as a family systems therapist with Native and non-Native families, the author observed two opposing social systems. Non-native families systems typify "The Box System," whereas native family systems portray "The Circle System." A few characteristics of the Circle System are: (1) a focus on life and peacefulness; (2) females and children are respected and honored; (3) learning is based on direct experience; (4) inner experience is communicated through storytelling, allegories, myths, and art; (5) communication between people is honest and direct; and (6) the goal of life is to achieve a Oneness with others. In contrast, the Box System: (1) idealizes war; (2) is white male dominated; (3) is hierarchical; (4) suppresses emotions; (5) rules through authority and domination; (6) creates labels to determine whether something is good or bad, right or wrong; (7) sees money as power; and (8) emphasizes memorization and a logical step-by-step approach to learning. In the history of North America, the non-natives in the Box System imposed oppression and control upon the Circle System. Members of the Circle System show signs of stress under this oppression, similar to those of war veterans. These include high levels of anxiety, sexual dysfunction, a hopeless approach to life, use of addictive substances, and family dysfunction. Healing can take place by switching from the Box to the Circle. There is some evidence that the Box System has softened, and the First Nations' People may lead the return to the Circle. (KS)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Mokakit's Annual Meeting (The First National Educational Research Association) (7th, Ottawa, Canada, October 13, 1990).