Adaptation in American Indian families: Perceptions of older women




Watson, Julie Reed

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The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how older American Indian women perceive adaptation to a dominant society and its influences on American Indian family life. The subjects were 10 American Indian women from 50 to 78 years of age, from Ardmore, Oklahoma and the Dallas-Fort Worth areas. The study investigated perceptions held by women about dominant society influences on American Indian family life, traditions, and values. The nine themes that resulted from semi-structured interviews were: (a) importance of education; (b) value of job and employment opportunities; (c) teaching, speaking, and listening to Indian language; (d) attending tribal functions to maintain cultural identity; (e) sharing stories, ceremonies, and traditions with children; (f) adjusting to dominant society; (g) need for dominant society to be more knowledgeable about American Indians; (h) responsibility to the family; (i) less commitment to traditional American Indian family lifestyle. Two additional findings were: (a) influence and changes of American Indian youth and (b) losing American Indian identity.



Social sciences, Gerontology, Native American studies, Women's studies