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Abstracts from Volume 29, Number 1
(March, 2002)

Perspectives on Wellness: Journeys on the Red Road
Hilary N. Weaver
Wellness is a topic currently receiving considerable attention in Native American communities and among service providers who work with indigenous people. Through many professional programs and grassroots efforts strides have been made in shifting from a deficit focus to one of resilience and strength. However, substantially less has been written from a strengths or wellness perspective. Much of the positive work that has been conducted for years has never been reported in the literature and goes unnoticed by all but those directly involved. The literature on Native Americans includes primarily discussions of social and health problems including poverty, violence and alcoholism. This volume reports the efforts of professionals and Native American communities to restore balance and wellness in indigenous nations, thus, giving readers an opportunity to learn about Native issues from a perspective not often reflected in the literature, that of resilience. Even issues commonly thought of as only approachable from a deficit perspective such as suicide and gambling can have wellness dimensions, as explored by the authors of the articles contained here. We invite the reader to consider the topics in this volume from a fresh angle.

Native Wellness for the New Millennium: the Impact of Gaming
Maria Napoli
The challenges confronting Native people have been studied over the years. Their plight in dealing with alcoholism, colonization, poverty and health and mental health problems still exists outnumbering all other minority groups in the United States. For decades, Native people have relied upon the federal government to provide services, which were often not sensitive to Native values. During the last decade, gaming has given Native people have an avenue to enter higher education, develop tribal enterprises, tribal courts and health and mental health programs that meet the needs of their communities. Most importantly, Native people have reclaimed their independence. Since gaming is new to tribal life there are drawbacks and limitations. Nevertheless, the benefits seem to outweigh the limitations. This article will focus on how Native gaming has contributed to restoring balance and wellness in Native communities.

O'odham Himdag as a Source of Strength and Wellness Among the Tohono O'odham of Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora, Mexico
Teri Knutson Woods, Karen Blaine, and Lauri Francisco
The Tohono O'odham are fostering strength and wellness in their community by translating increased economic self-sufficiency and resources derived from gaming into social, health, and educational services which maintain their tribal traditions, thereby providing an effective path toward the maintenance of cultural identity, or O'odham Himdag. Cultural identity serves as a source of client strength and as a protective factor contributing to client wellness. O'odham Himdag describes a way of life, encompassing Tohono O'odham culture. This article is a theoretical exploration of O'odham Himdag as a path toward cultural identity among the Tohono O'odham of Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora, Mexico. It addresses the importance of tribes developing their own services within tribal values and describes O'odham Himdag as a path to health and wellness, with practice examples drawn from the literature and interviews with mental health, health, and lay practitioners belonging to and serving the Tohono O'odham.

Using Reasons for Living to Connect to American Indian Healing Traditions
Thomas L. Crofoot Graham

Responding to high rates of suicide for American Indian youth, helping professionals often struggle to connect healing traditions from American Indian cultures to tools from European psychology. The differences between American Indian healing and European therapy can be vast. Finding connections or building bridges between these two perspectives may be more difficult than it appears (Duran&Duran, 1995). One method to bring together these worldviews is to use the Reasons for Living Questionnaire (RFL, Linehan, Goldstein, Nielsen,&Chiles, 1983); the Reasons for Living Inventory for Adolescents (RFL-A, Osman, Downs, Kopper, Barios, Besett, Linehan, Baker, & Osman, 1998), or other psychological assessments developed using the RFL as a foundation.

Reasons for Living (RFL) assessments have emerged as powerful strength based tools for assessing suicide risk (Range & Knott, 1997). RFL and RFL-A factors link to a relational worldview common to most American Indian people. A relational worldview considers a balance between forces often identified as spirit, context, mind, and body (Cross, 1998).

Using RFL or RFL-A in suicide assessments allows practitioners to assess where youth may be out of balance in one or more of the four traditional areas: spirit, context, mind, and body. This may assist specific referrals to culturally appropriate healing. RFL and RFL-A assessments could be augmented to improve their correspondence to the relational worldview.

Envisioning a Healthy Future: A Re-becoming of Native American Men
Paul Rock Krech
Native American men have historically been important to their communities, each having a specific function in the perpetuation of cultural norms and practices. Oral tradition and communal experiential activity were pathways of maintaining a connection with others and in regenerating culture. In contrast, the modern dominant culture values and emphasizes individuation as an indicator of psychosocial growth. This influence seems to have hindered Indigenous people/men in maintaining a sense of connection with the community. Survival for Indigenous men during the establishment of encroaching nations has often occurred through relinquishment of a part of 'self' psychically. Aboriginal men report experiencing hopelessness living in a self-imposed isolation, without a sense of tradition or direction. Healing may focus on use of normative and narrative efforts that rebuild the 'self' as a part of others and the community, which fosters a sense of interconnectedness. Ceremony is an adjunct to developing linkages between heritage, roles, and a community connection.

The Hoop of Learning: A Holistic, Multisystemic Model for Facilitating Educational Resilience among Indigenous Students
Margaret A.Waller, Scott K. Okamoto, Audrey A. Hankerson, Ted Hibbeler, Patricia Hibbeler, Patricia McIntyre, Roland McAllen-Walker
Indigenous communities in the United States have a wealth of cultural and social resources that can facilitate educational resilience among Native students. This article reviews the historical context, contemporary trends, and current challenges related to education of Indigenous students. The authors present an innovative middle school-to-high school-to-college bridge program as one example of many positive educational initiatives currently developing across the country.

E.L.D.E.R.S. Gathering for Native American Youth: Continuing Native American Traditions and Curbing Substance Abuse in Native American Youth
Warren Skye
E.L.D.E.R.S. Gathering for Native American youth: continuing Native American traditions and curbing substance abuse in Native American youth describes the efforts of Native American Elders, traditionalists, and non-native volunteers interested in preserving the culture and traditions of the Haudenosaunee (People of the Longhouse), also known as the Iroquois. This event is held every summer at the Ganondagan Historical site located near Victor, in upstate New York. The purpose of this week long gathering is to bring together Native American youth who are interested in learning more about their traditional ways with Native American Elders who practice these traditions. Much of the program's efforts focus on developing the "good mind" of the youth participants so that the youth and Elders are more likely to refrain from substance abuse. Youth participants begin to learn how to incorporate traditional values and beliefs into their lives while also developing leadership skills for use when each returns to their home environment hence, the acronym E.L.D.E.R.S. (Encouraging Leaders Dedicated to Enriching Respect and Spirituality). Many participants make the annual visit from reservations and urban areas in the New York state area while some have come from as far away as California. In addition to describing this program, a literature review that highlights some of the issues facing Native American youth in contemporary society accompanies this report. Insight and suggestions for developing similar programs are presented as well.

Public Voices and Public Policy: Changing the Societal Discourse on "Welfare"
Vicki Lens
Much of the public discourse on welfare reform is subjective and value laden, a composite of socially constructed stories and myths that support the dominant ideology. This article reports on a study that examines the language used by government officials, poverty experts, advocates and others to discuss welfare reform. Statements made about welfare reform were extracted from the Washington Post and the New York Times and analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Dissecting the public language of welfare provides insight into how prevailing ideologies are communicated and reinforced, and how they can be changed.

Race, Welfare Reform, and Nonprofit Organizations
Michael Reisch and David Sommerfeld
This article presents research on the impact of welfare reform on 90 nonprofit organizations in Southeast Michigan. Utilizing a refined survey instrument, in-depth interviews and focus groups with agency executives and staff, and the analysis of agency documents, it assesses how the racial characteristics of agencies' client populations affected the organizational consequences of welfare reform. The study confirmed that welfare reform has affected the ability of nonprofit organizations to meet the increased expectations generated by recent legislation. These effects have been particularly pronounced among agencies serving a high proportion of racial minority clients.

BOOK REVIEWS
The Living Legacy of Marx, Durkheim and Weber. Richard Altschuler (Ed.). Reviewed by Shana Cohen. Social Work Practice with Immigrants and Refugees. Pallssana R. Balgopal (ed.). Reviewed by Frederick L. Ahearn Jr.

One Third of a Nation: Lorena Hickok Reports on the Great Depression. Richard Lowitt and Maurine Beasley (Eds.). Reviewed by John M. Herrick.

A Prelude to the Welfare State: The Origins of Workers' Compensation. Price V. Fishback and Everett Kantor. Reviewed by Christopher R. Larrison.

Reforming Social Security for Ourselves and Our Prosperity. Charles P. Blahous III. Reviewed by Martin B. Tracy.

Social Security and Medicare: Individual vs. Collective Risk and Responsibility. Sheila Burke, Eric Kingson, and Uwe Reinhart (Eds.). Reviewed by Rick Hoefer.

BOOK NOTES
Tripping on the Color Line: Black-White Families in a Racially Divided World. Heather M. Dalmage.

International Social Work: Professional Action in an Independent World. Lynne M. Healy.

The Disability Rights Movement: From Charity to Confrontation. Doris Zames Fleisher and Frieda Zames.

Liberation Sociology. Joe R. Feegin and Hernan Vera.

 

 

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