ERIC Number: ED444771
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997
Threads of Nations: American Indian Graduate and Professional Students.
An ethnographic study explored the university experiences of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) graduate and professional students at a West Coast research university. The study consisted of interviews with each participant, observations of students participating with other AI/AN students in 15 public events, and a meeting with the entire group. The eight participants were a diverse group, coming from different socioeconomic levels and different tribes, yet all had experienced academic isolation resulting from the influences of cultural incongruity, history, ethnicity, and community. One influence that did not emerge as important was racism. The alienation they experienced resulted not from the color of their skins but from their world views. AI/AN graduate and professional students responded to experiences of isolation and cultural incongruity by constructing a surrogate community on campus, which helped them define their ethnicity. The study unexpectedly highlighted a professional program, the school of medicine, that has made strides in understanding AI/AN perspectives. The school has course offerings tailored to the needs of students planning to serve the AI/AN population, a staff member whose purpose is to serve AI/AN needs, a student organization, and some faculty and administrators who are sensitive to differences in cultural perspectives and understand the strengths that AI/AN cultures can bring to the practice of medicine. (Contains 19 references.) (TD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A