Advertisement

Perspective on Shyness as Adaptive from Indigenous Peoples of North America

  • Erin Gurr
  • Razieh (Reyhane) Namdari
  • Jessica Lai
  • Daniel Parker
  • Dennis C. Wendt
  • Jacob A. BurackEmail author
Chapter
  • 75 Downloads

Abstract

With the essential goal of de-pathologizing Indigenous ways of being, we challenge the notion that behaviors indicative of shyness and inhibition that are often noted among the Indigenous peoples of North America reflect psychopathology. Rather, we highlight the role of shyness as adaptive within traditional Indigenous conceptualizations of development and socialization. We cite ways that shyness and behavioral inhibition are portrayed by Indigenous scholars, mental health workers, researchers, and youth as culturally appropriate, socially desirable, and even essential to communal social harmony. We also note that the commonalities regarding the value of shyness and behavioral inhibition both as adaptive for the individual and as essential for communal cohesion and well-being are striking in the face of the vast differences across the many Indigenous communities with regard to culture, language, locale, and even history. The relatively universal emphasis on Indigenous cultures of viewing oneself as a small part of the great universe is essential to the development of the pro-social values that lead to the development of ways of being that are characterized by little egocentrism, but high levels of humility, consideration, and awareness of the social and physical surroundings.

Keywords

Adaptive development Colonization De-pathologizing Culture First Nations Indigenous knowledge Inhibition Inuit Shyness 

References

  1. Achenbach, T. M. (2014). Using multicultural research to expand the scope of developmental psychopathology. In J. A. Burack & L. A. Schmidt (Eds.), Cultural and contextual perspectives on developmental risk and Well-being (pp. 7–38). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anon (2007). Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit: Education framework for Nunavut curriculum. Retrieved from https://www.gov.nu.ca/sites/default/files/files/Inuit%20Qaujimajatuqangit%20ENG.pdf
  3. Ayunerak, P., Alstrom, D., Moses, C., Charlie, J., & Rasmus, S. (2014). Yup'ik culture and context in Southwest Alaska: Community member perspectives of tradition, social change, and prevention. American Journal of Community Psychology, 54(1–2), 91–99.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10464-014-9652-4CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Bartlett, C., Marshall, M., & Marshall, A. (2012). Two-eyed seeing and other lessons learned within a co-learning journey of bringing together indigenous and mainstream knowledges and ways of knowing. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 2(4), 331–340.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s13412-012-0086-8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brant, C. (1990). Native ethics and rules of behaviour. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 35(6), 534–539.  https://doi.org/10.1177/070674379003500612CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bryant, A., Goins, R., Bell, R., Herrell, R., Manson, S., & Buchwald, D. (2004). Health differences among Lumbee Indians using public and private sources of care. Journal of Rural Health, 20(3), 231–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bryant, A., & LaFromboise, T. (2005). The racial identity and cultural orientation of Lumbee American Indian high school students. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 11(1), 82–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Burack, J., Blidner, A., Flores, H., & Fitch, T. (2007). Constructions and deconstructions of risk, resilience and wellbeing: A model for understanding the development of aboriginal adolescents. Australasian Psychiatry, 15, 18–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Burack, J., Gurr, E., Stubbert, E., & Weva, V. (2019). Personality development among indigenous youth in Canada: Weaving together universal and community-specific perspectives. New Ideas in Psychology, 53, 67–74.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.newideapsych.2018.04.002CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Burack, J. A., Reynolds, A., Landry, O., Klassen, G., Russo, N., & Fryberg, S. (2017). Cultural perspectives and influences on developmental psychopathology: Lessons about risk, disorder, and wellbeing from the study of the Indigenous Peoples of North America. In L. Centifanti & D. Williams (Eds.), The Wiley handbook of developmental psychopathology (pp. 411–430). Cambridge, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chandler, M., & Lalonde, C. (1998). Cultural continuity as a hedge against suicide in Canada's first nations. Transcultural Psychiatry, 35(2), 191–219.  https://doi.org/10.1177/136346159803500202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chandler, M. J., & Lalonde, C. E. (2009). Cultural continuity as a moderator of suicide risk among Canada’s first nations. In L. Kirmayer & G. Valaskakis (Eds.), Healing traditions: The mental health of aboriginal peoples in Canada (pp. 221–248). Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.Google Scholar
  13. Chandler, M. J., Lalonde, C. E., Sokol, B. W., Hallett, D., & Marcia, J. E. (2003). Personal persistence, identity development, and suicide: A study of native and non-native North American adolescents. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 68, 1–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dorais, L. J. (1991). Refugee adaptation and community structure: The Indochinese in Quebec City, Canada. International Migration Review, 25(3), 551–573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dorais, L. J. (1995). Language, culture and identity: Some Inuit examples. Canadian Journal of Native Studies, 15(2), 293–308.Google Scholar
  16. Dorais, L. J. (2010). Language of the Inuit: Syntax, semantics, and society in the Arctic (Vol. 58). Montreal: McGill-Queen's Press-MQUP.Google Scholar
  17. Fienup-Riordan, A., Rearden, A., & Meade, M. (Eds.). (2005). Yup'ik words of wisdom. University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  18. Fryberg, S. A., Covarrubias, R., & Burack, J. A. (2018). The ongoing psychological colonization of north American indigenous people: Using social psychological theories to promote social justice. In P. Hammock (Ed.), Oxford handbook of social psychology and social justice (pp. 113–128). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Fryberg, S. A., Markus, H. R., Oyserman, D., & Stone, J. M. (2008). Of warrior chiefs and Indian princesses: The psychological consequences of American Indian mascots. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 30, 208–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fryberg, S. A., Troop-Gordon, W., D'Arrisso, A., Flores, H., Ponizovskiy, V., Ranney, J. D., … Burack, J. A. (2013). Cultural mismatch and the education of aboriginal youths: The interplay of cultural identities and teacher ratings. Developmental Psychology, 49(1), 72–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gone, J., Hartmann, W., Pomerville, A., Wendt, D., Klem, S., & Burrage, R. (2019). The impact of historical trauma on health outcomes for indigenous populations in the USA and Canada: A systematic review. American Psychologist, 74(1), 20–35.  https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000338CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Gugel, L. (2000). On the great plains. In C. F. Feest (Ed.), The cultures of native America (pp. 187–193). Cologne: Könemann.Google Scholar
  23. Hallett, D., Chandler, M., & Lalonde, C. (2007). Aboriginal language knowledge and youth suicide. Cognitive Development, 22(3), 392–399.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogdev.2007.02.001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Iarocci, G., Root, R., & Burack, J. A. (2009). Social competence and mental health among aboriginal youth: An integrative developmental perspective. In L. Kirmayer & G. Valaskakis (Eds.), Healing traditions: The mental health of aboriginal peoples in Canada (pp. 80–106). Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.Google Scholar
  25. Kammler, H. (2000). Indigenous peoples and languages of North America. In C. F. Feest (Ed.), The cultures of native America (pp. 461–471). Cologne: Könemann.Google Scholar
  26. Kirmayer, L. (2011). Defining and delimiting trauma-related dissociation: A view from cultural psychiatry. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 12(4), 465–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kirmayer, L., Dandeneau, S., Marshall, E., Phillips, M., & Williamson, K. (2011). Rethinking resilience from indigenous perspectives. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 56(2), 84–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kirmayer, L. J. (2007). Psychotherapy and the cultural concept of the person. Transcultural Psychiatry, 44(2), 232–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Krupnik, I., & Chlenov, M. (2013). Yupik transitions: Change and survival at Bering Strait, 1900–1960. Fairbanks, AK: University of Alaska Press.Google Scholar
  30. Langgaard, P. (1986). Modernization and traditional interpersonal relations in a small Greenlandic community: A case study from southern Greenland. Arctic Anthropology, 23(1–2), 299–314.Google Scholar
  31. Prince, R. H. (1993). Psychiatry among the James Bay Cree: A focus on pathological grief reactions. Transcultural Psychiatric Research Review, 30(1), 3–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sider, G. M. (2003). Living Indian histories: Lumbee and Tuscarora people in North Carolina. Chapel Hill, NC: UNC Press Books.Google Scholar
  33. Stevenson, L. (2014). Life beside itself: Imagining care in the Canadian Arctic. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  34. Tagalik, S. (2010). A framework for indigenous school health: Foundations in cultural principles. Prince George: National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health.Google Scholar
  35. Triandis, H. C., Chan, D. K. S., Bhawuk, D. P., Iwao, S., & Sinha, J. B. (1995). Multimethod probes of allocentrism and idiocentrism. International Journal of Psychology, 30(4), 461–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. U.S. Census Bureau, & United States (2002). Department of the Treasury. Bureau of Statistics. (1878). Statistical abstract of the United States.Google Scholar
  37. West, A. E., & Newman, D. L. (2007). Childhood behavioral inhibition and the experience of social anxiety in American Indian adolescents. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 13(3), 197–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wieman, C. (2000). "A simple country doctor": Remembering Dr. Clare Brant. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 45(7), 627–629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Williamson, K. J. (2011). Inherit my heaven: Kalaallit gender relations. Nuuk, Greenland: Government of Greenland.Google Scholar
  40. Williamson, K. J., & Kirmayer, L. J. (2010). Inuit ways of knowing: Cosmocentrism and the role of teasing in child development. In C. M. Worthman, P. M. Plotsky, D. S. Schechter, & C. A. Cummings (Eds.), Formative experiences: The interaction of caregiving, culture, and developmental psychobiology (pp. 299–307). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erin Gurr
    • 1
  • Razieh (Reyhane) Namdari
    • 2
  • Jessica Lai
    • 1
  • Daniel Parker
    • 1
  • Dennis C. Wendt
    • 1
  • Jacob A. Burack
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Educational and Counselling PsychologyMcGill UniversityQCCanada
  2. 2.Montreal Art Therapy & Child Psychology CentreMontrealCanada

Personalised recommendations