Parenting in Two Cultural Worlds in the Presence of One Dominant Worldview: The American Indian Experience

  • Betsy DavisEmail author
  • Renda Dionne
  • Michelle Fortin
Part of the Science Across Cultures: The History of Non-Western Science book series (SACH, volume 7)


According to recent estimates (U.S. Census 2010), 5.2 million American Indians, over 500,000 families, reside in the United States today. The majority of these families reside off-reservation or Indian trust land, live and raise children in mainstream society and, for many, find themselves physically removed from the support of their tribal community. In this chapter, our goal is to spur conversation regarding the mainstream social context American Indian parents and children must deal with today and how this society, simply by reflecting its own unquestioned history, may bring forth for many a disparate level of difficulty. We will discuss the clash in worldviews occurring at the initial cultural intersection that sought to break up communities and subjugate traditional protective parenting practices within families. We will present data-driven models of the impact of a colonized history on current parent and child functioning and demonstrate how society today continues to exacerbate the impact of this moral injury on many families. Within this discussion we will expand the current view of enculturation as a protective factor, highlighting how past and continued colonization for some parents can impact the resiliency gained from one’s ancestral story. Finally, we will present our conceptualization of the balance needed between ancestral story and mainstream influences in order for parents to pass cultural resiliency through to the next generation.


Tribal Community Mainstream Society Residential School Creation Story Moral Injury 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors wish to acknowledge the following for grant support for this chapter:

NIH/NIAID Grant # DA017626

NIDA Grant # DA015817


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oregon Research InstituteEugeneUSA
  2. 2.Indian Child and Family ServicesTemeculaUSA
  3. 3.Watari Youth, Community and Family ServicesVancouverCanada

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