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ERIC Number: ED469736
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Apr
Pages: 20
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Fragmenting and Reconstructing Identity: Struggles of Appalachian Women Attempting To Reconnect to Their Native American Heritage.
Trollinger, Linda Burcham
This qualitative study drew on the stories and reflections of six Appalachian women of Native American descent to explore their experiences of reconnecting with their lost Native identity. This paper visualizes those experiences in light of the relationships between personal realities and structural influences. Historically, Native identities have been fragmented and cultural heritage has been lost through several avenues: (1) systematic cultural genocide, primarily carried out in government boarding schools; (2) denial of identity as a means of survival; (3) emotional impact of negative stereotypes and stigmatization; (4) high incidence of Native Americans marrying out of their ethnic group; (5) removal of Native children from their families to be adopted by non-Native parents; and (6) loss of federal recognition of tribal status. In the past 30 years, there has been a great increase in the number of people identifying as Native American, reclaiming lost heritage and reconstructing Native identities. Interviews with the six research participants revealed common themes among their experiences. These themes included family secrecy about the Native blood in the family, personal discovery of Native identity by "piecing together" bits of family history, feelings of loss and sadness, anger and frustration, alienation from both White and Native communities, and moving from shame to ethnic pride. Reestablishing Native identity was not related to federal recognition, but rather to a commitment to Native ways and beliefs. (Contains 30 references.) (SV)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A