ERIC Number: ED411116
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Cultural Interference and Cultural Cohesion: Schooling and Traditions in Two Communities.
This study examines the personal choices of two American Indian men who grew up on different reservations (Hopi and Navajo) in the Southwest. Specifically, the study explores the agendas, opportunities, and decisions involved in retaining or rejecting each man's traditional culture and language. The study was based on discussions with both men over a period of a year that focused on all aspects of their academic and life experiences. Both men were in their late twenties, were educated through high school on their reservations, and were English literate. Both were attending the same university in a nearby large metropolitan city where they were completing advanced degrees. Three primary factors influenced the men in their life choices: parents' level of cultural literacy and participation in tradition, world views of extended families and cultural groups, and personal interests in traditional and nontraditional ways. This study suggests that the subjects' divided interests between traditional and Euro-American ways were a fundamental part of the cultural cohesion and cultural interference that existed within their societies. This study demonstrates that heritage language loss and the lack of cultural transmission do not necessarily come about through cultural discontinuity between the institutions of minority and majority cultures. Elders and relatives can provide support that enhances their traditions and further enculturates their children. This is especially relevant where children are caught between the need for English literacy and the necessity of maintaining and transmitting the heritage language and culture. These two men were able to achieve in both realms without the wholesale replacement of one set of beliefs by another. They chose the best aspects from both traditions to situate their identities at the intersection of two disparate cultures. (LP)
Descriptors: Acculturation, American Indian Culture, American Indian Education, American Indians, Biculturalism, Culture Conflict, Educational Experience, Elementary Secondary Education, English (Second Language), Family Influence, Higher Education, Hopi (Tribe), Language Maintenance, Life Events, Navajo (Nation), Socialization, World Views
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).