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ERIC Number: ED374947
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
Pages: 59
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Ethnohistories: Learning through the Stories of Life Experiences.
Brunn, Michael
This paper examines the remembrances or life stories of four young adult American Indians and their efforts to evolve an understanding of themselves as individuals and as culture bearers interacting in two different societies. The project objective was to investigate the correlation between American Indian people's ability to use their heritage languages and how they felt about their identities as culture bearers and as members of a cultural group. The relevant literature is reviewed concerning life stories, the development of social and cultural identity, and the centrality of language to self. The paper consists principally of selected transcripts of conversations with four consultants (O'odham, Hopi, and two Navajo) in which their descriptions of childhood, family, community, and culture are left intact. Discussion of the life stories focuses on the integral importance of the heritage language to the conveyance of culture, the close relationship between language and traditions, the necessity of the heritage language for both daily social interaction and for gaining an understanding of ceremonies and rituals, and its use as an indication of respect in communication with elders. Over the year-long course of interviews, the Indian consultants evolved the perception that to have a great sense of identity with their traditional cultures and to maintain and carry those cultures forward, they had to speak their heritage language. Contains over 70 references. (RAH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A