Differential Power and Indian Child Welfare: Part Five

Carol A. Hand

This is the final installment of the exam paper on differential power and Indian child welfare. I have shared the essay in installments, with minor edits and illustrations added, in hopes that it might be of interest and stimulate thoughtful dialogue. I’m so grateful to say that it has and I wish to thank everyone who contributed such thoughtful and incisive comments. I have learned a lot from what you shared about your experiences, insights, and expertise.

By way of background for others viewing this last installment of the series, here’s a brief summary of prior installments:

Part One defined theory and discussed some of the relevant general theories that continue to guide research, policies, and practice paradigms that limit the exercise of sovereignty by tribal governments over the welfare of their citizens, lands, and resources.

Part Two covered theories about the ways in which power over others is imposed and maintained.

Part Three explored different theories related specifically to the colonial experience of Indigenous Peoples in what is now the United States.

Part Four examined child welfare from cross-national and cross-cultural perspectives.

The decision to post this particular paper was a risk I was willing to take. Yes, in many ways it is history. I have often been advised by those in privileged positions to “Just get over it.” But the “it” – the consequences of oppression and genocide in both a physical and cultural sense – are with us still.

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Photo: Public High School Mascot ( Link here for more information)

By “us,” I don’t just mean Indigenous Peoples in North America or the world. I mean all of us. How could the blood on the hands of all of our ancestors not affect who we are today? Just look at how we treat each other and the earth we all share. It is also true that many of us are motivated by other legacies our ancestors have left – as visionaries, inventors, artists, builders, scholars and peacemakers. It is the latter legacies that I know many of us follow and nourish as artists, advocates, healers, and ordinary people living our daily lives.

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DISCUSSION

The theoretical frameworks for explaining the concept of differential power discussed in this paper go beyond Zald’s definition of power as “the ability of a person or group, for whatever reason, to affect another person’s or group’s ability to achieve its goals (personal or collective)” (1981, p. 238). According to Foucault and Gramsci, power is more than economic or political control: it includes the ability to impose values and build enduring mechanisms to perpetuate particular beliefs about the nature and meaning of life and human behavior. A number of crucial dimensions emerge from the preceding review of diverse literatures. First, while it is clear that some nations and cultures dominate others, it is also clear that domination does not signify the superiority of dominant cultures when compared to the cultures of subaltern groups. Although characterizations of cultural superiority/inferiority have emotional appeal and are often used to justify domination, they are outdated and irrelevant within the more respectful frameworks of cultural relativism and cultural pluralism.

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Photo: Diversity Tree ( Source )

Second, while the relationship of individuals and groups with their environmental context is transactional, power differentials between groups operate to constrain or expand individual and group choices and actions. Power operates through both overt and covert ways, through centralized structures and through diffused norms and disciplinary paradigms. Power is no longer seen as

“… an exclusive property of ‘repressive apparatuses,’ it has invaded our sense of the smallest and most intimate of human relations as well as the largest; it belongs to the weak as well as to the strong; and it is constituted precisely within the relations between official and unofficial agents of social control and cultural production… [F]orce … is only a tiny part of power, so that much of the problematic of power today is a problematic of knowledge making, universe construction, and the social production of feeling and of ‘reality’” (Dirks, Eley, & Ortner, 1994, p. 5).

As Korbin (1987, p. 26) points out: “When cultures come into contact, the situation is ripe for conflict on a range of issues, including child care patterns.” Korbin (1987, p. 28) adds that in the absence of an understanding of the cultural context and emic meaning of child care practices, “ethnocentrism may dictate that the dominant culture will tolerate the behavior or attempt to eradicate it either through punishment or education.”

Third, Euro-American cultural hegemony over Native Americans has increased over time, and continues to the present time through both the imposition of Eurocentric institutions within tribal communities, and through the acceptance of Eurocentric institutions and the values which they embody by some tribal members. Tribal political structures and tribal identity have changed in response to Euro-American policies and institutions, as factions with differing views of tribal identity have emerged within particular political tribal entities. Tribal accommodations and the acceptance of dominant institutions, while exacerbating internal factions, have enabled tribal communities to survive with at least a small measure of self-determination; perhaps, tribal communities would not have been able to survive otherwise.

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Photo: Seafair Indian Days Pow Wow – 2010 ( Source )

Finally, the conditions affecting the present generation of Native American families and children still bear the impact of past policies of disempowerment and marginalization. Native American families, both on and off reservations, face a daunting set of challenges: poverty and unemployment, poorer health and inadequate housing, and continuing racial/ethnic discrimination. Added to this set of stressors is the erosion of clear cultural definitions of “appropriate” or “good” parenting, and culturally preferred methods for intervening in cases of “poor” parenting. For centuries, Native Americans were forcibly subjected to family and child welfare policy paradigms developed by the Euro-American elite. Through Indian and child welfare policies, federal and state governments have clearly played the dominant role in defining normative family and child rearing practices. Deliberate policies to force First Nations people to internalize Euro-American norms and values predate the United States constitution and continue to operate in overt and covert ways today. This legacy continues to influence Tribal child welfare in a number of significant ways.

The dynamic interplay of “traditional” and “contemporary” values touches the lives of Native American people both on and off the reservation and continues to affect community and family structures, practices, and attitudes. The erosion of informal networks and the changing realities of parenting children in a transnational environment create new stresses. Added to the challenge inherent in balancing very diverse world views, Native American families must also respond to the changing context of instantaneous worldwide communication and information that affects their children’s current values and future well-being.

Uncritically transposing values and practices from the dominant child welfare paradigm on Native American communities is of questionable efficacy within this complex context. Yet, as Kuhn (1970) argues, paradigm change is not a simple undertaking, largely because most members of a particular discipline or culture cannot envision alternatives (Kuhn, 1970; Fleras & Elliott, 1992). As Bourdieu (1994, p. 161) asserts, the “established cosmological and political order is perceived not as arbitrary, i.e., as one possible order among others, but as a self-evident and natural order which goes without saying and therefore goes unquestioned…” Kuhn likens paradigm shifts to revolutions.

“Political revolutions are inaugurated by a growing sense, often restricted to a segment of the political community, that existing institutions have ceased to adequately meet the problems posed by an environment that they have in part created… In both political and scientific development the sense of malfunction that can lead to crisis is prerequisite to revolution… Political revolutions aim to change political institutions in ways that those institutions themselves prohibit. Their success therefore necessitates a partial relinquishment of one set of institutions in favor of another, and in the interim, society is not fully governed by institutions at all” (Kuhn, 1970, pp. 92-93).

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Photo: National Grass Dancer Pow Wow – 2005 ( Source )

However, institutional change need not be a through a violent overthrow of existing systems (Foucault, 1988). Scholarship, often used to perpetuate the status quo, can also make significant contributions to social change efforts. The role of intellectuals in resistance is to question what has become self-evident, “to disturb people’s mental habits, the way they do and think things, to dissipate what is familiar and accepted, to reexamine rules and institutions …” (Kritzman, 1988, p. xvi). The cross-national studies conducted by Fleras and Elliott (1992) and Armitage (1995) are pivotal in this regard: they point to the existence of alternative paradigms. Unlike United States child welfare policies which have remained embedded within the dominant Euro-American paradigm, recent developments in New Zealand demonstrate the potential for cultural pluralism as a result of both Maori community initiatives and national legislation. Fleras, Elliot (1992), and Armitage (1995) argue that it is possible for politically pluralistic nations to acknowledge cultural diversity and to empower racial and ethnic communities to develop their own culturally-appropriate institutions.

CONCLUSION

The situation in North America represents more than cultural conflict between Native peoples and Europeans: the policies imposed went far beyond imposing Eurocentric standards of appropriate child care. The impact, if not the intent, of U.S. Indian policies has been, to varying degrees for different Tribes, cultural genocide, economic exploitation, social marginalization, and political repression. The legacy of harm done to Native cultures, families, and children is indisputable.

A new era of Native resistance and national pluralism emerged in the 1970s. “Self-determination” and “self-governance” are the labels given to current federal legislation governing federal/tribal relations. A number of scholars caution, however, that the thin veneer of pluralistic rhetoric embodied in such labels, while a hopeful sign, is at best tenuous. Eurocentric institutions have been imposed on Native American peoples and are now firmly entrenched within reservation communities. Federal and state policies, and federal court decisions, still determine the limits of tribal self-determination and power. The era of self-determination and the enactment of the Indian Child Welfare Act have not signaled the emergence of new family and child welfare practice approaches within the United States which have been evident in New Zealand. During the past twenty years, tribal child welfare systems have been established within the context of continuing Euro-American political domination, and within social work and child welfare practice paradigms that reflect the values of Euro-American professionals and scholars.

Hence, more questions than answers emerge from the preceding discussion of the impact of differential power and cultural hegemony on tribal cultures and tribal child welfare systems and practices. Eagleton (1983, pp. 214-125) points out that:

“Culture, in the lives of nations struggling for their independence from imperialism, has a meaning quite remote from the review pages of the Sunday newspapers. Imperialism is not only the exploitation of cheap labour-power, raw materials and easy markets but the uprooting of languages and customs — not just the imposition of foreign armies, but of alien ways of experiences. It manifests itself not only in company balance-sheets and in airbases, but can be tracked to the most intimate roots of speech and signification. In such situations, which are not all a thousand miles from our own doorstep, culture is so vitally bound up with one’s common identity that there is no need to argue for its relation to political struggle. It is arguing against it which would seem incomprehensible.”

ada deer

Photo: Ada Deer – Menominee Tribe – Activist and Social Work Educator ( Source )

Yet, according to Cornell’s (1988) research, the self-identity of Native peoples, the foundation of distinct tribal cultures, has been impacted by force and cultural hegemony. The result has been the development of factions within tribal communities with very different views of dominant institutions and the values they embody, and hence, very different definitions of tribal identity. Identity is the core of tribal cultures. If Cornell’s (1988) theory of incorporation is correct, competing views of identity within tribal communities may result in different parenting and child rearing approaches and different definitions of appropriate family and child welfare interventions. Hence, a number of crucial questions emerge. To what degree does consensus on acceptable child rearing and child treatment exist within a given tribal community? To what degree is there consensus on appropriate interventions in cases of child maltreatment? What are the perspectives of tribal child welfare and health care staff, and of tribal judges and leaders? In cases of disagreement, are there identifiable groups that share particular perspectives? Do differing and competing definitions of tribal identity result in different child rearing practices? Does the Indian Child Welfare Act allow sufficient flexibility to support community-defined systems and interventions? Given the paucity of answers provided to these questions by existing research literature, Paper 3 proposes research methods for exploring the answers to these questions within an Ojibwe context.

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Photo: Ojibwe Mother and Child ( Source )

Works Cited:

Armitage, A. (1995). Comparing the policy of aboriginal assimilation: Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press.

Bourdieu, P. (1994). Structures, habitus, power: Basis for a theory of symbolic power. In N.D. Dirks, G. Eley, & S.B. Ortner (eds.), Culture/power/history: A reader in contemporary social theory (pp. 155-199). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Cornell, S. (1988). The return of the Native: American Indian political resurgence. New York: Oxford University Press.

Dirks, N.D., Eley, G., & Ortner, S.B. (Eds.)(1994). Culture/power/history: A reader in contemporary social theory. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Eagleton, Terry (1983). Literary theory: an introduction. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Fleras, A. & Elliot, J. (1992). The ‘nations within': aboriginal-state relations in Canada, the United States, and New Zealand. Toronto, Canada: Oxford University Press.

Foucault, M. (1988). On power. In L.D. Kritzman (ed.), Michel Foucault: Politics, philosophy, culture: Interviews and other writings 1977-1984 (A. Sheridan & Others, Trans.), pp. 96-109. New York: Routledge. (Original work published 1984)

Gramsci, A. (1994). The sovereignty of law. In R. Bellamy (ed.), Antonio Gramsci: Pre-prison writings (V. Cox, Trans.), p. 87-90. New York: Cambridge University Press. (Original work published 1919)

Hand, C. (1999). Indian child welfare within the context of United States child welfare policies, practices, and paradigms: Rescuing children of homogenizing America? Docor of Philosophy Preliminary Exam Paper 1 – General problem or substantive area: General child welfare. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Hand, C. (1999). Indian child welfare within the context of United States child welfare policies, practices and paradigms: Rescuing children or homogenizing America? Doctor of Philosophy Preliminary Exam Paper 2 – Relevant theoretical literature – Differential power and Indian child welfare. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Hand, C. (1999). Indian child welfare within the context of United States child welfare policies, practices and paradigms: Rescuing children or homogenizing America? Doctor of Philosophy Preliminary Exam Paper 3 – Exploring Ojibwe “incorporation” through past and present Indian child welfare practice. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Korbin, J.E. (1987). Child abuse and neglect: The cultural context. In R.E. Hefler & R.S. Kempe (Eds.), The Battered Child, 4th edition, pp. 23-41. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Kritzman, L.D. (1988)(Ed.). Michel Foucault: Politics, philosophy, culture: Interviews and other writings 1977-1984. (A. Sheridan & Others, Trans.) New York: Routledge.

Kuhn, Thomas (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Zald, M.N. (1981). Political economy: a framework for comparative analysis. In J. Pfeffer (Ed.), Power in organizations, pp. 221-261. Marshfield, MA: Pitman.

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Differential Power and Indian Child Welfare: Part Four

Carol A. Hand

Following is the fourth installment of one of the exam papers written to complete a university degree (Hand, 1999). I am sharing the essay in installments, with minor edits and illustrations added, in hopes that it might be of interest and stimulate thoughtful dialogue. (Part One defined theory and discussed some of the relevant general theories that continue to guide research, policies, and practice paradigms that limit the exercise of sovereignty by tribal governments over the welfare of their citizens, lands, and resources. Part Two covered theories about the ways in which power over others is imposed and maintained. Part Three explored different theories related specifically to the colonial experience of Indigenous Peoples in what is now the United States.)

I wish to thank all of the readers and commenters who have been following this series. I have learned a lot from the thoughtful dialogue. Perhaps you’ll be grateful to know that there is only one final installment to come, the discussion and conclusion. Honestly, I don’t remember what it says – so I look forward to reading it and hope you all do as well.

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Cultural survival is precisely the issue which reportedly led Native American people to press for the enactment of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 (Unger, 1978). The opening section of the Act explicitly notes Congressional recognition that “there is no resource more vital to the continued existence and integrity of Indian tribes than their children and the United States has a direct interest, as trustee, in protecting Indian children who are members of or are eligible for membership in an Indian tribe” (Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 USCS, sec. 1901).

Carlisle_pupils

Photo: Carlisle Indian Boarding School (1879-1918) (Source)

As discussed at length in Preliminary Examination Paper 1 (Hand, 1999), the paradigms, institutions, professional standards, and practices that govern the implementation of ICWA have emerged from Euro-American society with only cosmetic modifications. Under ICWA, the standards of family caregiving against which abuse and neglect are measured, the methods for exploring and documenting cases of reported maltreatment, and the types of interventions used are, in most cases, indistinguishable from those used by state and county agencies (Wares, Dobec, Rosenthal, & Wedel, 1992; Plantz et al, 1989).

As presently implemented, ICWA may be contributing to the continuing erosion of some tribal cultures given the context of: (1) authority for implementation which is delegated to tribal governments that embody dominant institutional structures, values, and operations; (2) the Euro-American child welfare paradigms on which ICWA is based (values, intervention methodologies, and definitions of what constitutes child neglect and abuse); and (3) tribal communities where centuries of federal interventions have left a legacy of disrupted families and factionalized communities. One is led to ask if this situation is unique to Native Americans, or if, in fact, other oppressed peoples are similarly struggling to assure the safety of children within antithetical cultural paradigms.

Evidence from Cross-National and Cross-Cultural Literatures.

National and cultural comparisons reveal a number of important insights, illustrating both similarities in the treatment and impacts of colonialism for indigenous peoples, and national and cultural variability in definitions of child treatment, as discussed below.

Mathinna_1842_by_Thomas_Bock

Photo: Mathinna – 1842 – by Thomas Bock ( Indigenous Australians )

Cross-National Colonialism.

Fleras and Elliott (1992) and Armitage (1995) build on the transactional theme of relationships between colonial oppression and native resistance cross-nationally. (Please see Endnotes for a brief overview of these works.) As illustrated in Table 2, there are notable and significant similarities among the colonial policies which were imposed on indigenous peoples in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States. (Again, please refer to the Endnotes for additional information.) Under the unquestioned European “doctrine of discovery,” new lands were viewed as the legitimate property of the discovering nations, and indigenous peoples were viewed, at best, as subjects of colonial rule. As Europeans encountered new lands and peoples, they assumed the superiority of European “civilization” (e.g., agriculture, technology, government, religion, and written language), and, in the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand, indigenous peoples were seen as inferior, “uncivilized” heathens (Diamond, 1997; Fleras and Elliott, 1992; Dippie, 1982; Berkhoffer, 1979). Initial colonial policies imposed by Spain, Britain, and France were intended to wrest land and resources from the control of indigenous peoples, while later policies were focused on civilizing, Christianizing, and assimilating native peoples.

Table 2: Cross-National Comparison of Child Welfare Policies Imposed on Indigenous Peoples
Contact/Early Settlement Era

prelim 2 table 2 a

According to Armitage (1995, p. 5), the imposition of colonial control over indigenous peoples took two forms: extermination and “temperate conduct.” The “extermination” of indigenous peoples across continents followed immediately after European contact, most notably as a result of European-born diseases, with warfare and massacres further decimating indigenous populations and cultures (Diamond, 1997; Fleras and Elliott, 1992; Armitage, 1995).

“However, once a sufficient number of aboriginal people had been killed (i.e., enough to ensure British dominance), a set of policies based on a ‘temperate line of conduct’ frequently became possible. These policies relied upon a dominant military or civil police force for their ultimate enforcement and were aimed at managing aboriginal peoples by controlling their land use, settlements, governments, and daily life. They also called for introducing aboriginal people to missionaries” (Armitage, 1995, p. 5).

“The invaders invoked certain myths to legitimize and justify the colonization, displacement, and exploitation of aboriginal peoples in the name of evolutionary progress and national development…. The situation was viewed with both alarm and ethnocentric complacency, as if the extinction of aboriginal peoples were the inevitable price of “‘progress’” (Fleras & Elliott, 1992, p. 3).

Although there were similarities in the use of differential power by colonial powers in North America, Australia, and New Zealand, significant differences also exist. The treatment of Aboriginal peoples in Australia was clearly the most brutal, and only the Maoris of New Zealand escaped relocation and isolation on reservations. Despite these differences, however, colonial policies have left a similar legacy. As Fleras and Elliott point out (1992, p. 4):

“While the specifics vary from one context to the next, aboriginal peoples share a number of social and economic features that stem directly from their status as encapsulated populations under colonialist rule…. No matter what economic index is cited — income, employment, education — aboriginal peoples, in a statistical sense, tend to occupy the bottom-most rung of the socio-economic ladder.”

Fleras and Elliott (1992, p. 5) add that the “loss of culture and control over life have in some instance led to chronic problems over personal identity, group integrity, and social solidarity,” the very issues Cornell (1988) identified as the central impacts of colonization.

Canada residential school

Photo: Canadian Indian Residential School ( Source )

Among these four nations, general colonial policies were accompanied by specific polices targeted toward children. As Armitage (1995, p. 5) points out:

“Child welfare policy was seen as one of the ‘softer” tools used to obtain compliance and, ultimately, to ensure the universal acceptance of British rule. In Britain, the Poor Law was already using child welfare policy as a means of managing families by separating the children of paupers from their parents.”

The 1837 House of Commons Select Committee on Aborigines in Australia extended Poor Law practices to indigenous children as “the best means of ensuring that aboriginal peoples would be prepared for the responsibilities of Christianity, civilization, and British citizenship” (Armitage, 1995, p. 204). Institutions, called “dormitories” in Australia, “residential schools” in Canada, and “boarding schools” in the United States, became the preferred method for accomplishing this task. Only the Maoris of New Zealand were spared the British and colonial practice of forcefully removing generations of children from their parents to be raised in institutions, or later, in European homes (Armitage, 1995; Adams, 1995). Armitage points out that “Physical and sexual abuse occurred in many of the institutions, and, thus, patterns of violence between and towards children were introduced into the parenting behavior of the next generation of aboriginal peoples.” Lewis Meriam (1928) expressed a similar concern in 1928 with respect to the long-term impacts for Native American children who were raised in boarding schools within the U.S.

Conflict and Domination/ Paternalism and Isolation Era

prelim 2 table 2 b

prelim 2 table 2 c2

In all four nations, “special treatment” for indigenous peoples was replaced by a commitment to integration. As general child welfare services were extended to native communities the practice of removing high rates of aboriginal children from their parents continued, although the agents of child removal shifted from the agents of specialized bureaucracies dedicated to overseeing native populations to workers in general child welfare agencies. Armitage (1995) suggests a number of contributors to the continuation of disproportionate child removal during the integration period: (1) the unfamiliarity of courts and workers with aboriginal communities; (2) the imposition of non-aboriginal values and expectations on aboriginal communities; (3) the decreasing availability of extended family and community as a result of the increasing urbanization of aboriginal peoples; (4) high rates of alcohol and substance abuse among aboriginal peoples; and (5) the high proportion of aboriginal parents who had spent their childhoods in institutions who subsequently experienced difficulties raising their own children.

Assimilation Era

prelim 2 table 3 d

Yet, native resistance coalesced in all four nations during the 1970s in response to integration policies, resulting in the emergence of a period of limited self-determination and varying degrees of native control over family and child welfare. The Maori have developed community initiatives to preserve language and culture through pre-school emersion programs, and have had an impact on federal child welfare practice and legislation. In the United States and Canada, the role of band or tribal governments in child welfare has been recognized and expanded. In Australia, gains have been more modest, but federal recognition and resources have enabled Aboriginal peoples to begin the task of rebuilding families and developing services based on tribal customs. These changes have, across all nations, resulted in lower rates of out-placement for indigenous children, as summarized by Table 2. Yet, Armitage (1995) suggests that one should not be too optimistic about the willingness of federal governments to embrace self-determination for aboriginal peoples. An alternative view is that

“cultural assimilation has been replaced by institutional assimilation. In this view, aboriginal peoples are permitted to undertake administrative actions only on the condition that they develop policies and programs which mirror those of the mainstream cultures within which they are located. The illusion of self-government exists, but the reality is mainstream control, accomplished by the simple expedient of only funding programs that meet criteria defined by mainstream cultures (e.g., Canadian child welfare agreements). Thus, assimilation continues under the guise of self-government” (Armitage, 1995, p. 41).

Integration Era

prelim 2 table 2 e

prelim 2 table 2 f2

Fleras and Elliott (1992, p. 124) suggest that the empowerment of native peoples can follow one of two scenarios: either existing systems can be retained with minor modifications at the level of program design, service delivery or personnel, or through fundamental change and the creation of “parallel structures in criminal justice as well as in health and education” by each community, “in effect giving practical expression to the principle of aboriginal self-government.” Consistent with Cornell (1988), indigenous peoples have differing views on this issue: some view the current federal policies as an indicator of self-determination, while others argue for the creation of policies based on native cultural traditions and the elimination of European influence (Armitage, 1995). Armitage (1995, p. 215) argues that three main tasks are necessary in order for indigenous peoples to recover from the effects of centuries of colonial child welfare policy: “(1) rebuilding roots and identity, (2) modifying mainstream child welfare policies, and (3) establishing alternative aboriginal policies.”

Limited Self-Government Era

prelim 2 table 2 g

prelim 2 table 2 h

Eurocentric paradigms have continued to guide the child welfare policies over which indigenous people have been able to establish some measure of administrative control (Armitage, 1995). That these views have continued to dominate points to the unquestioned nature of paradigms and disciplines. Individual missionaries, teachers, child welfare workers, and legislators, most of whom are of European descent, have continued to make decisions about aboriginal individuals or groups based on their own set of time-specific culture-bound beliefs. While each individual decision may have been well-meaning and intended to be in the “best interest” of native peoples, cultural hegemony has been established and continues to persist as a result (Armitage, 1995). As Cornell (1988, p. 196) points out:

“In all societies, albeit in widely varying degrees, social control rests to some extent on the belief among members that the existing institutions of that society are fundamentally appropriate and just and that the ideas and values they represent are essentially good and, indeed, normal.”

Eurocentric paradigms have been accepted, to varying degrees, by many native peoples. Yet, a body of cross-cultural child welfare literature suggests that there are many alternative paradigms, and underscores the importance of respecting the fit between cultural practices and environments.

Famille_Maori_1998-1361-139

Photo: Maori Family ( Source )

Cross-Cultural Child Welfare.

Jill Korbin (1981, p. 2) notes that “the cross-cultural literature on child rearing presents a remarkable range of variation. This is all the more notable considering the commonality of tasks that must be accomplished in socializing the next generation.” Despite the absence of a universal definition of child abuse and neglect across nations and cultures, there are, according to Korbin (1981, pp. 4-5) three levels at which cross-cultural issues are critical in defining child maltreatment: (1) “practices [which are] viewed as acceptable by one culture but as abusive or neglectful by another”; (2) criteria within each culture “for identifying behaviors that are outside the realm of acceptable child training”; and (3) harmful or abusive societal factors, “such as poverty, inadequate housing, poor health care, inadequate nutrition, and unemployment” which either contribute directly to the incidence of abuse, “or are so damaging to children as the outweigh the proportion of child abuse and neglect which occurs because of parental psychopathology.”

Based on ethnographic research conducted prior to 1978 across a diverse sample of cultures, from Turkey to Africa, South America to China, New Guinea to Japan, several important generalizations emerge (Korbin, 1981). First, the type of physical battery of children which has emerged as a concern in the United States appeared to be relatively rare in other parts of the world prior to 1978. Second, some children in each culture appeared to be more vulnerable to mistreatment than others: “illegitimate children, adopted children, deformed or retarded children, high birth order children, and female children.

Vulnerability depends to a large degree on the cultural context” (Korbin, 1981, p. 6). Third, certain characteristics of cultures affected the incidence of child maltreatment, most notably the availability of family and community support, and the stability of the social and cultural context. Urbanization, with a disruptive impact on informal support networks, as well as contexts of cultural change, appear to increase family stressors and the incidence of child abuse and neglect (LeVine & LeVine, 1981; Johnson, 1981; Ritchie & Ritchie, 1981; and Hauswald, 1987). In addition to the degree of “embeddedness” of families within kin and community networks, and the increased vulnerability of some categories of children, Korbin (1981, pp. 207-208, emphasis in original) points to other factors within a cultural context which either increase or decrease the likelihood of abuse: (1) the “cultural value of children”; and (2) “beliefs about age capabilities and developmental stages of children.” Children are likely to be better treated within those cultures in which they are valued for many reasons (tradition bearers, lineage continuation, economic contributors), and harsh treatment of young children who misbehave is likely to viewed as pointless in cultures which define “the age of reason” as age seven or eight.

A number of accepted practices within other cultural contexts may operate to reduce the likelihood of harsh physical abuse: infanticide, “underinvestment” or benign neglect of selected children, abandonment, harsh physical discipline after “the age of reason” has been attained, and rites of passage that are sometimes painful or dangerous (Johnson, 1981; Poffenberger, 1981; Wagatsuma, 1981). From the view of outsiders, an “etic” perspective (Korbin, 1987, p. 26, italics in original), such treatment may appear to be abusive. Yet, many scholars stress the importance of understanding cultural practices from an “emic” (or insider) perspective, as well as from a transactional framework of cultural practices developed within specific social and physical environments (e.g., Korbin, 1981, 1987; Wu; 1981; Scheper-Hughes, 1992).

Practices which limit population size to manageable levels, ensure that those children who remain are wanted, and ritually celebrate the transition of each child into adult status, result in better treatment of children overall (Korbin, 1981). As Scheper-Hughes argues (1987, p. 13, emphasis in original):

“Once understood in their specific ecological and cultural context we can distinguish normative forms of child maltreatment from the more deviant and idiosyncratic practices of child battering and sexual abuse… The vast difference between allowing certain neonates to die for economic and ecological reasons in an infanticide-tolerant society, and the hostile battering of a rejected and disvalued child in an abortion- and abuse-tolerant society needs to be recognized and clarified. What first appears as a baffling paradox may be seen as the unfortunate outcome of the demographic transition of advanced industrial societies.”

Scheper-Hughes (1992) demonstrates the impact of significant socio-demographic transitions in her discussion of motherhood and child death within northeastern Brazil. Her powerful, sensitive account demonstrates the ways in which parents and communities accommodate to overwhelmingly toxic and violent external pressures. In beginning her account, Scheper-Hughes (1992, p. 8) notes:

“Often I groped blindly to understand and act within a context of radical, sometimes opaque, cultural differences as well as within a context of economic misery and political repression in which my own country [USA] played a contributing and supporting role.”

Engenho_com_capela

Photo: Northeastern Brazil Plantation ( Source )

The lives of the displaced rural peoples among whom Scheper-Hughes (1992) lived were severely constrained by poverty, hunger, and thirst: the outcome of national and international forces which have led to continued over-cultivation of the land with sugar cane for exportation and pollution of the major source of water. Added to the weight of hunger is the repressive role of the “state institutions of violence” which target the poor: beatings, incarceration, and killings are not uncommon. Scheper-Hughes (1992, p. 532) likens the experience of the poor of northeastern Brazil to that of inmates of “total institutions.” The very existence of the poor in northeastern Brazil rests within the hands of those in power: physicians, politicians, and owners of the large sugarcane plantations (the casa grande). Like inmates in a total institution, the most valuable currency the poor can exchange includes “dependency, silence, and passivity … and … loyalty to the doctor-jailer or the patron-boss.” In this environment of violence and hunger, “[c]hild protection … often takes the form of child theft,” taking children from their poor mothers and sending them to adoptive mothers in other parts of Brazil or to the United States.

Within a context of extreme scarcity and repression, hunger, childhood malnutrition, and thirst have been defined as a disease by the poor, nervoso, and medicalized by professionals and by those in power. Unwilling to recognize the failure of the state symbolized by the starvation of the poor, the medical profession and power structure treat peoples’ hunger with “tranquilizers, vitamins, sleeping pills, and elixirs” (Scheper-Hunges, 1992, p. 169). A crucial question emerges from the acceptance of the medical definition and treatment of starvation by the poor themselves: “… how does it happen that chronically hungry people “eat” medicines while going without food?” (Scheper-Hughes, 1992, p. 177). The answer, according to Scheper-Hughes (1992, p. 199), is suggested by Antonio Gramsci. The poor people of northeastern Brazil are not coerced to look to physicians for cures, but rather, have gradually come to share the views of the medical intellectuals.

The appeal of medical solutions to hunger and child morbidity and mortality is understandable given: (1) the fit with a “popular cultural with a long tradition of ‘magical medicines’”; and (2) the need to do something to survive in a way that does not invoke reprisal from the oppressive power structure (Scheper-Hughes, 1987, p. 200). Continuing survival in a repressive political environment, despite poverty, hunger, and high rates of child mortality and morbidity, speaks to the tremendous resilience of the poor people of Brazil (Scheper-Hughes, 1992).

Scheper-Hughes (1992) asserts that the survival of the poor in northeastern Brazil cannot be characterized as resistance, although according to Cornell’s (1988) analysis, the emergence of particular survival strategies has been, at times, the only form of resistance open to Native American peoples. He points out that:

“Pacifism on the part to the oppressed, often interpreted as inherent passivity or contentment, more often reflects severely restricted opportunities for action, and a decision to spend energy in the more productive and likely enterprise of community maintenance and revitalization. Beneath the veneer of passivity, in other words, often lies an extraordinary effort to reorganize and reconceptualize personal and social life experience, so that apparently unalterable conditions can be made tolerable…. To some extent this reaction represents decreasing self-confidence and increasing fear, but is also represents a conscious effort to develop an alternative strategy for survival” (Cornell, 1988, p. 65).

 Navajo Mother

Photo: Navajo Mother and Children (Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University )

Survival within the context of domination results in continuing long-term challenges. Hauswald’s (1987) study of child welfare among the Navajo provides evidence of a number of salient and important consequences of colonialism among Navajo families and communities. First, consistent with Cornell’s (1988) observations, the Navajo people have become factionalized by a “traditional” versus “partially assimilated” split. As Hauswald (1987, p. 145) points out:

“The recent history of the Navajos is one in which language, religion, and childrearing practices have all been disrupted to a greater or lesser degree. The Navajo Reservation continues to be assaulted with economic, educational, and social alternatives, many of them in direct conflict with traditional lifestyles and values. The maintenance of stable childrearing patterns in this rapidly changing and stressful social context is often impossible.”

Boarding schools and other assimilation policies have resulted in parents who have internalized negative self-images and whose childhood has deprived them of their language, religion, and kinship ties and eliminated opportunities for them to experience Navajo family life and childrearing. While Navajo parents who were raised in boarding schools may attempt to return to traditional lifestyles, Hauswald (1987, p. 151) points out that

“… they do not teach the traditions to their children. Feeling the Navajo Way is disadvantageous in the ‘modern’ world, they do not teach or discipline their children; so, although they now have the alternative of using public day schools, they frequently send their own children to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) boarding schools or Mormon Placement foster homes, a common pattern in neglectful and abusive families.”

Hauswald’s (1987) second important finding is the acceptance of dominant institutions and practice paradigms by Navajo health and child welfare professionals. Like their professional Anglo colleagues, the professionally-degreed Navajos who work for Indian Health Service (IHS) tend to hold a negative assessment of tribal judges and the un-degreed social workers who work for the tribe. Likewise, tribal social workers are hesitant to work with Anglo or “modern” Navajo staff in the BIA and IHS, since they are viewed as ignorant of or insensitive to cultural issues. The needs of families are often poorly served within the context of interagency distrust and conflict.

Third, Houswald (1987, p. 162) asserts that, consistent with Margaret Mead’s observations in 1978, “child abuse and neglect cases reflect the fact that under new social conditions, parents are often confused about how to care for their children, while the traditional back-up system for poor parenting has broken down, leaving many children at risk.” The loss of cultural values, norms, strong family networks, and positive self-images are threatened during times of rapid social change. Hauswald (1987, p. 162) points to the difficulties parents experience in times of rapid social change when external supports and culturally “defined values and beliefs about personal roles and social meanings” are disrupted, whether those families are “traditional, bicultural, or acculturated.”

Hauswald’s (1987) final point leads back to the beginning of this paper, to the theory of causality for child maltreatment forwarded by the thoughtful Ojibwa youth. Hauswald (1987, p. 152) argues that:

“Alcohol is often blamed as the root cause of child abuse and neglect, but breakdown in cultural traditions associated with rapid change in family interaction and childrearing actually precede the use of alcohol in many neglectful families. In the cycle of external pressure and change internal to families, alcohol becomes a substitute for cohesive and satisfying relationships that have been lost.”

Alcohol and substance abuse are identified as key causal factors of child neglect and abuse both by professionals and by families within indigenous cultures (Cross, 1987). As Hauswald (1987, p. 162) points out,

“The strong inclination to blame alcohol rather than to see a deviant pattern in interaction between family members is largely due to a belief that the individuals are not to blame if alcohol ‘made them do it.’ If viewed in social/historical context, families can be perceived as troubled and as being in need of help, while individuals can still be freed from direct blame and guilt.”

This is not to say that problems associated with alcohol and substance abuse should be minimized or ignored, since addictions add to the many challenges Native American individuals and families face. However, eliminating substance abuse does not eliminate family violence, nor does it change the larger socio-historical/econo-political legacy which continues to present additional challenges and pressures for Native American families.

End Notes

1. Fleras and Elliott (1992) compare the general colonial policies imposed on indigenous peoples in the United States, Canada, and New Zealand. Armitage (1995) compares both the general policies and the child welfare policies of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

2. Table 2 is adapted from Armitage, 1995; Cornell, 1988; Fleras and Elliott, 1992; Bremner, 1970; O’Brien, 1989; Snipp, 1989, Adams, 1995; Dippie, 1982; Adair, 1985; Bercuson, 1985; Jeans & Miller, 1985; Lewthwaite, 1985; Waite, 1985; and U.S. Census Bureau, 1990. Period names and dates for Australia, Canada, and New Zealand primarily reflect those used by Armitage (1995, pp. 200-201, 206-207), although modifications have been made to incorporate the perspectives of the other scholars.

3. Table 2 was so challenging to reproduce in WordPress. The table was retyped as a PowerPoint slide show, and slides were turned into photos of diminished clarity/readability. Please email me if you would like a copy of the slide show. Following are overviews of the four nations discussed that were part of the original table.

prelim 2 table 2 overview A

prelim 2 table 2 Canada

prelim 2 table 2 nz

prelim 2 table 2 us

Works Cited:

Adair, E.R. (1985). Red River Rebellion. In The World Book Encyclopedia (Vol. 16), pp. 177-178. Chicago: World Book, Inc.

Adams, D.W. (1995). Education for extinction: American Indians and the boarding school experience, 1875-1928. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.

Armitage, A. (1995). Comparing the policy of aboriginal assimilation: Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press.

Bercuson, D.J. (1985). History of Canada. In The World Book Encyclopedia (Vol. 3), pp. 114-123. Chicago: World Book, Inc.

Berkhofer, R.E., Jr. (1979). The White man’s Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the present. New York: Vintage Books.

Bremner, R.H. (Ed.). (1970). Children and youth in America: A documentary history (Vol. I: 1600-1865). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Cornell, S. (1988). The return of the Native: American Indian political resurgence. New York: Oxford University Press.

Cross, T.L. (1987). Cross-cultural skills in Indian child welfare: A guide for the Non-Indian. Portland, OR: Norwest Indian Child Welfare Institute (now the National Indian Child Welfare Association).

Diamond, J. (1997). Guns, germs, and steel: The fates of human societies. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Dippie, B.W. (1982). The vanishing American: White attitudes and U.S. Indian policy. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.

Fleras, A. & Elliot, J. (1992). The ‘nations within': aboriginal-state relations in Canada, the United States, and New Zealand. Toronto, Canada: Oxford University Press.

Hand, C. (1999). Indian child welfare within the context of United States child welfare policies, practices, and paradigms: Rescuing children of homogenizing America? Preliminary Exam Paper 1 – General Problem or Substantive Area: General Child Welfare. Submitted to Doctoral Committee members at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on February 4, 1999.

Hauswald, L. (1987). External pressure/internal change: Child neglect on the Navajo reservation. In N. Scheper-Hughes (Ed.), Child survival: Anthropological perspectives on the treatment and maltreatment of children, pp. 145-164. Dordrecht, Holland: D. Reidel Publishing Company.

Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978, PL 95-608, 25 U.S.C. Secs. 1901-63.

Jeans, D.N & Miller, J.D.B. (1985). Australia. In The World Book Encyclopedia (Vol. 1), pp. 866-898. Chicago: World Book, Inc.

Johnson, O.R. (1981). The socioeconomic context of child abuse and neglect in native South America. In J.E. Korbin (Ed.), Child abuse and neglect: Cross-cultural perspectives, pp. 56-70. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Korbin, J.E. (1981)(Ed.). Child abuse and neglect: Cross-cultural perspectives. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Korbin, J.E. (1987). Child abuse and neglect: The cultural context. In R.E. Hefler & R.S. Kempe (Eds.), The Battered Child, 4th edition, pp. 23-41. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

LeVine (S. & LeVine, R. (1981). Child abuse and neglect in Sub-Saharan Africa. In J.E. Korbin (Ed.), Child abuse and neglect: Cross-cultural perspectives, pp. 35-55. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Lewthwaite, G.R. (1985). New Zealand. In The World Book Encyclopedia (Vol. 14), pp. 278-284. Chicago: World Book, Inc.

Lindsey, D. (1994). The Welfare of children. New York: Oxford University Press.

Meriam, L. (1928). The Problem of Indian Administration: Report of a survey made at the request of Honorable Hubert Work, Secretary of the Interior by the Institute for Government Research (the Brookings Institute). Baltimore, Md: The John Hopkins Press.

O’Brien, Sharon (1989). American Indian Tribal governments. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.

Plantz, M.C., Hubbell, R., Barrett, B.J., & Dobrec, A. (1989). Indian child welfare: A status report. Children Today, 18 (1), 24-29.

Poffenberger, T. (1981). Child rearing and social structure in rural India: Toward a cross-cultural definition of child abuse and neglect. In J.E. Korbin (Ed.), Child abuse and neglect: Cross-cultural perspectives, pp. 71-95. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Ritchie, J. & Ritchie, J. (1981). Child rearing and child abuse: the Polynesian context. In J.E. Korbin (Ed.), Child abuse and neglect: Cross-cultural perspectives, pp. 186-204. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Scheper-Hughes, N. (1992). Death without weeping: the violence of everyday life in Brazil. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Scheper-Hughes, N. (1987)(Ed.). Child survival: Anthropological perspectives in the treatment and maltreatment of children. Dordrecth, Holland: C. Reidel Publishing Company.

Snipp, C.M. (1989). American Indians: The first of this land. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

U.S. Census Bureau (1990). Selected demographic information on race, family structure, and income. Available: http;//www.ccensus.gov.

Unger, S. (Ed.)(1978). The destruction of American Indian families. New York: Association on American Indian Affairs.

Wagatsuma, H. (1981). Child abandonment and infanticide: A Japanese case. In J.E. Korbin (Ed.), Child abuse and neglect: Cross-cultural perspectives, pp. 120-138. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Waite, P.B. (1985). Riel, Louis. In The World Book Encyclopedia (Vol. 16), p. 313. Chicago: World Book, Inc.

Wares, D.M., Dobrec, A., Rosenthal, J.A., & Wedel, K.R. (1992). Job satisfaction, practice skills, and supervisory skills of administrators of Indian child welfare programs. Child Welfare, 71 (5), 405-418.

 

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

“There is a Season…”

Carol A. Hand

Recently, I have been thinking about the changing seasons of life and how “there I a time to every purpose…”

I thought about the evolving ways I have attempted to address inequality and it led me to post a series of installments of an essay that I realize is not necessarily popular in the blogging world. The following bio that was shared in Stories from my Teachers describes some of the context and content for some of these changes in my life.

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Link to Free E-Book

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Am I Catfish Clan or Eagle Clan?

This is a question I may never be able to answer definitively. My mother was Ojibwe, born and raised on the Lac du Flambeau reservation in the north of what is now Wisconsin, and my father was descended from English immigrants, the second generation to be born in the U.S. Because my mother was raised by her aunt and spent pivotal childhood years in a Catholic boarding school, she was denied access to her father who could have answered this question for her. She never mentioned this topic until her later years, when she took me to an Ojibwe elder who had documents pertaining to my ancestry.

Over the years since that conversation, I have pondered the meaning of clan membership and done a little research in my spare time. The question is significant, not because I believe that our life path is set by our birth in a certain time, place, culture or clan, but because the question itself is a reminder to periodically reflect on the directions our life takes and what our actions say about who we really are.

I have realized that the distinction between the Catfish Clan, the scholars, and the Eagle Clan, leaders whose fathers were not Ojibwe, has been a central tension during my life. By nature, I am a scholar who prefers to stand on the margins “to watch, listen and consider” so my deeds will be prudent, a tenet of the Ojibwe Midewewin Code or path of life. My life’s path provided me with opportunities to develop those propensities through education and employment. Yet growing up between cultures and becoming increasingly aware of past and continuing colonial oppression, made me feel that standing on the sidelines without action was profoundly unethical. Even as a little child, I felt a sense of responsibility for those who were oppressed. During my career I took on leadership and advocacy roles that were extremely uncomfortable for an introverted scholar without the support of a clan structure to guide the way. My light skin tone, education, and ability to communicate across cultures were gifts that I felt obligated to use on behalf of others whose lives were not a privileged as mine.

Because leadership positions are almost always nested within colonial structures of individualistic competition and socially-constructed status distinctions, they have proven dangerous for me on many levels. Even though power is an illusion, it is seductive. It’s easy to lose the clarity of one’s perspective, values, and purpose, to believe that one is special and somehow superior, to forget what is really important in life. It also invites understandable reprisal from people who feel belittled, and the response is sometimes virulently destructive on professional and personal levels.

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Although I have offered to support others develop community initiatives, I don’t feel it’s right for me to take the lead. I’m relatively new in the community where I now live. Although the socio-economic class and ancestry divisions are apparent in the community, I know it’s important for me to take the time to understand how I can best use my time and skills effectively. So for now, I am busy in my garden, sharing rhubarb with neighbors, and sharing posts that I hope will be of interest to others and stimulate dialogue.

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This is a season where I am able to honor my (maybe) catfish clan inclinations.

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I am also grateful to be a member of such a diverse and gifted blogging community. Chi miigwetch to all.

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Differential Power and Indian Child Welfare: Part Three

Carol A. Hand

Following is the third installment of one of the exam papers written to complete a university degree (Hand, 1999). I am sharing the essay in installments, with minor edits and illustrations added, in hopes that it might be of interest and stimulate thoughtful dialogue. ( Part One defined theory and discussed some of the relevant general theories that continue to guide research, policies, and practice paradigms that limit the exercise of sovereignty by tribal governments over the welfare of their citizens, lands, and resources. Part Two covered theories about the ways in which power over others is imposed and maintained.)

This morning as I worked on editing and reformatting the third installment, I remembered sitting with my unabridged dictionary ready at hand to look up the words that weren’t in my every day vocabulary as I attempted to make sense of the dense theoretical texts I was reading. The margins of my reference texts and resource articles are filled with penciled definitions – a legacy of growing up in a household with very few books. Although I’m not the first generation in my family to go to college (my mother received her RN degree from Loyola University), I was the first one to go on for graduate studies. This is why I have been motivated by a commitment to liberatory praxis (theory-informed liberatory action) and chose to teach at universities that served a high percentage of first generation college students.

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The Impact of Domination for Native Americans. Two perspectives explicitly relegate a central position to differential power: captive nations/internal colonies (Snipp 1986a, 1986b, 1988, 1990; Snipp & Summers, 1990) and incorporation (Cornell, 1988). Cast in an economic framework, both theoretical perspectives recount the evolving strategies of domination used by colonial metropoles and the U.S. government to exert an increasing amount of control over indigenous peoples within the United States. While both perspectives explicitly note the significant differences among tribal cultures and the unique challenges each tribe faced at the hands of colonizers, certain similarities can be identified. Table 1 highlights key political and economic events, and the impact of these events for Native American peoples. (Table 1 is included at the end of Part Two.) The captive nations/internal colonies theoretical approach focuses on processes and impacts of economic domination and exploitation (Snipp 1986b). The process of political and economic incorporation of Native peoples into the dominate U.S. structure is viewed as transactional, although the balance of power is unequal (Cornell, 1988). Native resistance, a pivotal part of this transaction, has enabled Tribal peoples to survive as distinct political entities.

Captive Nations/Internal Colonies.

Over the course of Native American and Euro-American interactions, as summarized in Table 1, the economic dependency of Native peoples has deepened as their land base, and the sustenance and autonomy it represented, were expropriated (Snipp, 1990). As Snipp (1990, p. 3) points out, economic dependency has placed Native peoples at a disadvantage “in many arenas of social life.” The legacy of dependency is more than the overt marginalization of Native Americans in political and economic realms: continued marginalization is also reinforced and justified by insidious and covert attitudes which evolve as characterizations of weaker partners in economic exchange situations.

“Relations of domination and subordination can generate perceptions about innate superiority and inferiority, justice and injustice, strength and weakness, and good and evil. Dependency can also provide the foundation of ethnocentric beliefs, racial discrimination, and minority resentment.” (Snipp, 1990, p. 3).

800px-CLEAR-CUTTING_OF_CEDAR_TREES_IN_THE_TAHALA_UNIT_OF_THE_QUINAULT_INDIAN_RESERVATION__THE_INDIANS_MAINTAIN_THAT_THIS____-_NARA_-_545272

Photo: Clear Cutting Quinault Indian Reservation ( Source )

Snipp (1986a) asserts that the transition Native peoples underwent during the course of increasing Euro-American domination can be characterized by dependency theory as an evolution from the status of “captive nations” to one of “internal colonies.” Although dependency theory emerged from studies of the impact of capitalism in Latin America, the term “captive nations” was developed by historian D’Arcy McNickle to underscore the unique legal recognition of Native American tribal sovereignty within the United States. Nation-to-nation treaties, at least symbolically, conveyed legitimacy to tribes as sovereign “nations.” According to Snipp:

“Captive nationhood expresses the limited powers of self-government retained by tribal leaders after their conquest by the United States. Although the status of captive nation insures a measure of political autonomy, it has also made American Indians heavily dependent on federal authorities for diverse types of assistance.” (Snipp, 1986b, p. 458)

Native American dependency, which includes high rates of poverty, unemployment, and welfare dependency among reservation residents (Snipp, 1989), has made some tribes more willing to agree to sell their remaining resources to foster tribal economic development (Snipp, 1986a &b; Cornell & Kalt, 1990).

Renewed corporate interest in reservation lands, which were once viewed as the least desirable for settlement and agriculture, has emerged in recent years as a less expensive source for the extraction of valuable natural resources (oil, natural gas, low-sulphur coal, water, timber, and ‘lease’ land). The recent push to exploit Indian lands has resulted in increasing pressures on tribal governments from outside developers, leading in many cases to the creation of “internal colonies.” “Internal colonies, also called periphery areas, are created when one area dominates another to the extent that it channels the flow of resources from the periphery to the dominant core area” (Snipp, 1986a, p. 150). From Snipp’s perspective (no date, p. 13), Indian lands, “[l]ike colonial outposts everywhere” can be characterized as “internal colonies,” since extractive and agricultural resources “are being developed primarily for the benefit of the outside, non-Indian economy” (Snipp, 1986b, p. 458).

sulphur_bank_mine_superfund_site-jared_blumenfeld_epa_r9

Photo: Superfund Sites in Indian Country ( Source )

Snipp (1986b & 1988) argues that through the process of subjugating tribes and imposing captive nationhood, increasing dependency set the stage for internal colonialism: captive nationhood created “the poverty, dependence, and isolation of most tribes, [and thus] is an indispensable element in the process by which tribes become outposts for outside non-Indian interests” (Snipp, 1986b, p. 472). From the perspective of dependency theory, “internal colonialism is an extension of practices that add economic dominance to the already subordinate political status of the tribes” (Snipp, 1986b, p. 464). Thus, consistent with resource dependence and political economy theories, dependency theory predicts that given the evolving status of tribal peoples and governments, federal and corporate pressures will have greater force. However, not all tribes have been equally impacted by the transition from captive nationhood to internal colonies given differences in the endowment of natural resources that they control and their willingness to allow extractive development (Snipp, 1986b; Cornell & Kalt, 1990). Despite the heavy environmental determinism implied by dependency theory, Snipp and Summers (1990, p. 178) note that through the policy of self-determination enacted in 1975, the United States government has ushered in an era of promise for tribal “economic and social equity.” In order for these new opportunities to bear fruit in terms of successful development, however, Snipp and Summers (1990) assert that federal support is a crucial element.

Incorporation.

In contrast to the environmental determinism of dependency theory, Cornell (1988) emphasizes the transactional nature of relations between Native Americans and colonial powers throughout history. Cornell (1988, p. 5) points out that in the years of early interaction, specific tribes (e.g., Iroquois, Creeks, Cherokees, and Lakota) “were central actors in the political drama. While they seldom were involved directly in decision making, they often set the terms on which decisions were made,” largely by playing the European colonizing nations against each other in order to extract the most advantageous terms.

“In time, however, U.S. power and numbers prevailed, and the Indian influence in Indian affairs rapidly declined. Struggles between sovereign powers were replaced by rigid patterns of dominance and subordination…. From the end of organized Indian resistance in the nineteenth century until the last few decades, Native Americans have been barred systematically from meaningful participation of almost any kind in those decision-making processes most affecting their communities and lives.” (Cornell, 1988, p. 5)

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Photo: Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and Fracking ( Source )

Despite this exclusion, however, Cornell (1988) contends that Native Americans continued to resist domination in whatever avenues were open to them, consistent with the views of resistance underscored by Foucault (1988; Dreyfus & Rabinow, 1983) and Gramsci (1994, 1995). Cornell, like Williams (1994), characterizes hegemony as an “active process,” where values, meanings, and practices are incompletely incorporated, sometimes contradictory, and undergoing constant revisions and adjustments (Williams, 1994).

“In the long drama of Indian-White interaction, each actor has been forced to respond to the actions of the other or to the consequences of those actions, manifest in concrete social conditions and relationships. While mutual, this conditioning process has been uneven. Although in the early years Native Americans on occasion exerted considerable influence over the actions of the invaders and the shape of events, over time they found themselves increasingly constrained, caught in an ever more elaborate mesh of circumstances and relationships beyond their control. In the pattern of their subjugation lies the shape of their resistance. Human beings, as Karl Marx pointed out in a famous passage, make their own history, but under circumstances not of their choosing and with materials handed down from the past. New histories are built on the foundations of the old; only with time do they transcend — or remake — their origins” (Cornell, 1988, p. 7).

Throughout the history of their interactions, Native Americans have become increasingly linked to the “Euro-American political economy” as a result of “the incorporative process” (Cornell, 1988, p. 12). From a pre-contact status as sovereign, autonomous societies, Native Americans were at first voluntarily integrated into the international fur trade as skilled producers. However, with the depletion of fur-bearing animals, changing European markets, and increased immigration, European settlers were more interested in land. “Independence” from the European metropole for American colonists, and massive waves of immigrants, increased the pressure to open up land for settlement, relegating Native Americans to an ever-more marginalized geographic, social, and political status. While diplomacy and armed resistance were an early response to pressure, increasingly Native Americans were forced to find other methods of resistance. When external forces appeared unsurmountable, religious movements arose as Native peoples looked to the supernatural and to their own cultures for meanings and solace (Cornell, 1988).

“Faced with continuing crisis, declining capacities for secular action, and a political arena effectively closed to them, a number of Indian groups chose other strategies directed, first, to the transformation of the world and then, when such efforts failed, to the tasks of survival, to the maintenance of culture and community as a means of lived resistance to the effects, if not directly to the system, of oppression.” (Cornell, 1988, pp. 65-66)Photo:

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Photo: American Indian Movement Wounded Knee Occupation ( Source )

As an ironic twist, however, the very forces of assimilative subjugation strengthened the capacity and will of Native resistance by fostering the development of “Indianization” and “Tribalization.” (See endnotes for definitions.) Cornell points out that Europeans viewed native peoples as virtually indistinguishable, a view not shared by indigenous peoples whose identity was strictly bounded by tribal affiliation. It was only through the imposition of homogenous colonial and federal policies that “Indian identity — as distinct from tribal identity — has become a conscious and important basis of action and thought in its own right” (Cornell, 1988, p. 107). For example, boarding schools, which were effective instruments of detribalizing Native youth, also fostered the development of a supratribal consciousness among youth from many tribal nations. Urban relocation, designed to incorporate Native peoples into urban America, again reinforced the development of supratribal consciousness as impoverished Native enclaves banded together to survive in an alien environment. In the 1950s, federal termination policy provided a compelling issue around which supratribal politics could coalesce (Cornell, 1988).

“Tribalization” began to develop as a result of colonial relations (through the need for collective tribal diplomacy, negotiation, and conflict), but was formalized with the enactment of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (IRA). Heralded as the “Indian New Deal, ” the IRA is a pivotal historical event from Cornell’s perspective. Through its provisions, the IRA: (1) stabilized the land base by ending allotment and, (2) recognized the legitimacy of tribal governments which were based on Euro-American constitutions and principles and subject to Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) approval and oversight (O’Brien, 1989). As Cornell (1988, p. 93) points out, the IRA did not challenge “the fundamental belief that Indians would, and probably should, be assimilated ultimately by the society around them.”

“In the implementation of the IRA, tribes were asked to choose between an alien constitutional form of government and the uncertainties of the pre-IRA period. The institutions provided for through the IRA were Euro-American in origin, applied more or less uniformly to a hugely varied mosaic of cultures and in widely divergent local situations. The form of political organization the tribes were encouraged to adopt, with its representative government, electoral districts, tribal officers, and so forth, was derived from political and legal traditions very different from theirs…. The IRA and the Indian New Deal set out to grant Indians a limited but enlarged degree of control over their affairs and destinies, but did so in the service of ends preselected by the dominant society and through methods given by that society, after its own models.” (Cornell, 1988, p. 94)

Cornell argues that the important change signified by the IRA was a move from federal attempts to assimilate individuals (e.g., through boarding schools and allotment), to a focus on integrating Native Americans into the mainstream society through the imposition or Euro-American socio-political institutions. The impact of the IRA was the “homogenization” of tribal structures and the exacerbation of intratribal factional conflict. The values and practices embodied in the imposed Euro-American institutions clashed with those embodied within tribal institutions, “replacing relatively fluid indigenous systems of social coordination and authority with relatively rigid ones rooted in non-Indian traditions” (Cornell, 1988, p.100). Tribalization, the process of group formation as a form of identity and resistance, was co-opted by the IRA. The tribal structure, once composed of multiple independent lineage or band units with a shared ancestry, language, culture, and sense of identity as a people — a “conceptual community” — has been replaced by the “political community” (Cornell, 1988, p. 103). Embedded within this relatively recent political entity, “the tribe,” are many factions with differing views of what it means to be a member of that particular culture. Figure 2 illustrates Cornell’s (1988) characterization of this transition from a unified conceptual community comprised of multiple political units to a single political unit with multiple self-concepts among members.

prelim 2 cornell graphicFigure 2: Tribalization

Cornell’s (1988) analysis of the present day reality within tribal communities identifies two dimensions on which conflict emerges among members: (1) the degree to which they agree or disagree with the current structure of Indian-White relations; and (2) the degree to which they embrace or reject the institutions of the larger society.

Dissertation figure 3 Cornell

With respect to the first dimension, the structure of Indian-White relations, Cornell (1988) asserts that most tribal members are dissatisfied with non-Indian controls imposed on tribal communities, such as federal funding limitations, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) procedures and staffing, and isolation from federal policy and administrative levels other than the BIA. The point of disagreement among different intra-tribal factions hinges on the degree of change they advocate. Some members merely want to reform aspects of the relationship (e.g., more Indian personnel in the BIA or increased federal funding for specific services), while others are interested in transforming the structure of Indian-White relations (e.g., the creation of a separate cabinet-level department within the federal executive branch for Indian Affairs).

Conflict within the second dimension, the structure of tribal institutions, reflects fundamental differences in worldviews in terms of integrative versus segregative goals. According to Cornell (1988, pp. 152-153),

“Integrative goals, while advocating change of some sort — reformative or transformative — in Indian-White relations, for the most part accept the appropriateness in the Indian setting of Euro-American economic and political institutions and, in general, the appropriateness of dominant culture…. In general, however, those institutions and, to a large extent the culture they carry are accepted as models on which the institutional shape of Indian societies can be based. Such goals are integrative in that they endorse, in effect, the integration of Indians into the dominant institutional patterns and culture, either as individuals or as groups.”

Those tribal members who reject the appropriateness of Euro-American institutions within the tribal setting advocate segregative goals, that is, the creation of new institutions which better reflect tribal culture and traditions.

By combining these dimensions, four combinations emerge which reflect the diversity of views within tribal communities: (1) integrative-reformative; (2) integrative-transformative; (3) segregative-reformative (a null category given that segregation implies fundamental change which rules out reform); and (4) segregative-transformative. Cornell (1988, p. 157) argues that the governmental structures created under the Indian Reorganization Act are integrative, and while those who support these structures may advocate change in Indian-White relations or in “the distribution of wealth and power within those relations” — i.e., integrative-reformative goals — they are unlikely to question “the appropriateness in Indian communities of dominant-group institutions, which, after all, they in effect represent.” Integrative-transformative goals emerged in the 1960s as urban Indians organized to demand separate services, and in the 1970s as tribal governments demanded reduced governmental controls and increased self-determination. Cornell (1988, p. 159) argues that tribal governments,

“have a stake in the institutions of the larger society, which provided their own formative models and in which they are substantially embedded, but they also want to increase their autonomy. They tend naturally, then, toward transformative integrative goals; for the most part their political efforts have favored dominant economic and political institutions, but have sought to place those institutions under Indian control.”

Segregative-transformative goals have become more salient since the 1960s and 1970s, as Indian resistance to the status quo has grown, but are the purview of radical individuals and groups outside of the political governing structure.

Alcatraz-Grafitti-Yata-Hey

Photo: Occupation of Alcatraz – 1969 to 1971 ( Source )

Intra-tribal conflict, then, is based on profound differences in worldviews and goals among members. The most fundamental split is between those who accept dominant institutions, and those reject them. Cornell (1988, p. 162) notes that those who accept dominant institutions and try to work within the system to transform relations and enhance Indian power could be viewed as “realists.” “Radicals,” however, are interested in preserving and/or recreating culturally appropriate institutions, and in segregating the tribal community from the intrusive and antithetical Euro-American institutions and values. This intratibal conflict is not new. In other times, “realists” and “radicals” have been called “progressives” and “traditionals/conservatives”, or “mixed-bloods” and “full-bloods.” What is new is the degree to which dominant organizations have penetrated the very fabric of tribal communities. As dominant cultural institutions and the values they represent take hold in tribal communities, resistance is stifled.

“Alternative conceptions of political organizations, or community and social life, gradually become less imaginable and more difficult to realize. The opportunity to make a ‘meaningful choice’ in fact is reduced as Indian communities inadvertently come more and more to resemble non-Indian ones.” (Cornell, 1988, pp. 183-184)

The policy of self-determination enacted in 1975 places tribal governments even more firmly at the center of Indian-White relations, relegating those tribal members who advocate radical change to more marginal positions. While most tribal governments “are fiercely nationalistic defenders of the perceived interests of their peoples and remain highly suspicious and critical of the federal government” (Cornell, 1988, p. 207), their dependence on federal recognition and resources forces conformity to dominant institutional structures, practices, and values. Cornell (1988, p. 211) points out that as dominant institutions and values are operationalized on a daily basis, it may become more difficult for tribes to maintain “distinctive communities of culture.” As tribal communities lose distinctive cultures, it may become more difficult to justify federal recognition of a separate governmental structure. Cornell (1988, p. 212) observes that:

“The protection of sovereignty and treaty rights depends to some extent on public, non-Indian support. If Indian nations come to be viewed not as carriers of distinct ways of life, involuntarily put to risk by the larger society, but simply anachronistic legal residues of an unfortunate past, that support may disappear. In a peculiar way, distinctiveness is a form of security.”

Carlisle_pupils

Photo: Carlisle Indian Boarding School (1879-1918) ( Source )

Cultural survival is precisely the issue that led Native American people to press for the enactment of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) of 1978 (Unger, 1978)…

To be continued…

Endnotes:

1. “Indianization” is the term Cornell (1988, p. 72) uses to characterize the formation of group consciousness among indigenous peoples across Tribal boundaries.

2. “Tribalization” refers to the political organizations which have gradually emerged “as focal points of Indian identities.” Cornell, 1988, p. 72)

Works Cited:

Cornell, S. (1988). The return of the Native: American Indian political resurgence. New York: Oxford University Press.

Dreyfus, H.L. & Rabinow, P. (1983). Michel Foucault: Beyond structuralism and hermeneutics (2nd ed.). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Fleras, A. & Elliot, J. (1992). The ‘nations within': aboriginal-state relations in Canada, the United States, and New Zealand. Toronto, Canada: Oxford University Press.

Foucault, M. (1988). On power. In L.D. Kritzman (ed.), Michel Foucault: Politics, philosophy, culture: Interviews and other writings 1977-1984 (A. Sheridan & Others, Trans.), pp. 96-109. New York: Routledge. (Original work published 1984)

Gramsci, A. (1994). The sovereignty of law. In R. Bellamy (ed.), Antonio Gramsci: Pre-prison writings (V. Cox, Trans.), p. 87-90. New York: Cambridge University Press. (Original work published 1919)

Gramsci, A. (1995).Vittorio Macchioro and America. In D. Boothman (ed.), Antonio Gramsci: Further selections form the Prison Notebooks (D. Boothman, Trans.), p. 259. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Hand, C. (1999). Indian child welfare within the context of United States child welfare policies, practices and paradigms: Rescuing children or homogenizing America? Doctor of Philosophy Preliminary Exam Paper 2 – Relevant theoretical literature – Differential power and Indian child welfare. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Snipp, C.M. (1986a). The changing political and economic status of American Indians: from captive nations to internal colonies. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 45(2), 145-157.

Snipp, C.M. (1986b). American Indians and natural resource development: Indigenous peoples’ land, now sought after, has produced new Indian-White problems. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 45(4), 457-474.

Snipp, C.M. (Ed.)(1988). Public policy impacts and American Indian economic development. In C.M. Snipp (ed.), Public Policy Impacts on American Indian Economic Development, pp. 1-22. Albuquerque, NM: Institute for Native American Development, University of New Mexico.

Snipp, C.M. (1989). American Indians: The first of this land. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Snipp, C.M. (1990). Editor’s Introduction: Economic dependency in Indian Country. In C.M. Snipp (ed.), Economic Dependency in Indian Country.

Snipp. C.M. & Summers, G.F. (1990). American Indian development policies. In C.B. Flora and J.A. Christenson (eds.), Rural policies in the 1990s, pp. 166-179. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Williams, R. (1994). Selections from Marxism and Literature. In N.B. Dirks, G. Eley, & S.B. Ortner (eds.), Culture/power/history: A reader in contemporary social theory, pp. 585-608. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Unger, S. (Ed.)(1978). The destruction of American Indian families. New York: Association on American Indian Affairs.

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Differential Power and Indian Child Welfare: Part Two

Carol A. Hand

Following is the second installment of one of the exam papers I wrote to complete a university degree (Hand, 1999). I am sharing the essay in installments, with minor edits and illustrations added, in hopes that it might be of interest and stimulate thoughtful dialogue. (Part One defined theory and discussed some of the relevant general theories that continue to guide research, policies, and practice paradigms that limit the exercise of sovereignty by tribal governments over the welfare of their citizens, lands, and resources.)

It does seem fitting to share this essay in pieces because that’s how it was written. At the time, I lived off the grid and could only afford to run a generator four hours in the morning to power my computer. (Yes, I did have a laptop, but as life happens, it arrived with a faulty battery that couldn’t hold a charge and I didn’t have the time or money to have it fixed.) Every afternoon and evening, I would read and outline for the next day’s work. And because the evening grows dark early in the northwoods’ winter where I lived then, I read by the light of candles and oil lamps.

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How Dominance is Established/Maintained. The processes through which particular groups are able to maintain domination over other groups from one generation to the next are explored by a number of theorists. Theorists differ on the degree of emphasis they place on coercion versus socialization, as the following discussion indicates.

Custer's_Washita_prisoners_at_Fort_Dodge,_1868

Photo: Prisoners of US “Indian Wars” – 1868 (Source)

Force and Ideology.

According to Diamond (1997, p. 277), force and ideology are the processes used to quell resistance by subaltern groups.

“Kleptocrats throughout the ages have resorted to a mixture of four solutions [to the problem of resistance]:

1. Disarm the populace, and arm the elite….
2. Make the masses happy by redistributing much of the tribute received, in popular ways….
3. Use the monopoly of force to promote happiness, by maintaining public order and curbing violence…
4. [C]onstruct an ideology or religion justifying kleptocracy…, central authority, … [the] transfer of wealth, … [and to] maintain peace between unrelated individuals.”

Diamond stresses the importance of religion as a unifying ideology. It links unrelated strangers together in the absence of kinship ties, or in Diamond’s (1997, p. 278) words, “religion helps solve the problem of how unrelated individuals live together without killing each other…” Religion also provides people with “a motive, other than generic self-interest, for sacrificing their lives on behalf of others” in order to defend their nation state or attempt to conquer other nations (Diamond, 1997, p. 278). Despite the importance attributed to force and religion, Antonio Gramsci and Michel Foucault point to the ways in which power maintenance is embedded within the every day operations of ideologies and institutions throughout the macrosystem, reducing the need for pervasive military or police action to assure continuing dominance.

Nationalism and Cultural Hegemony.

Within the United States, even during colonial times, religion was not a unifying force among different settlements of immigrant French and Spanish Catholics and British and Dutch Protestants who were the initial colonizers. Anderson (1991) argues that “nationalism” arose to fill this void: the American-born descendants of European immigrants, “creoles” in Anderson’s language, developed an awareness of nation-ness “well before most of Europe” (p. 50, emphasis in original). These “creole” descendants were viewed as inferior to those who were born in the “metropole” (i.e., mother country), and were barred from positions of power in both the colonies and the metropole. The development of print journalism and newspapers in the “new world” during the eighteenth century enabled resistance to coalesce among the creole class. The blueprint for nationhood and nationalism emerged as the creole class in the American colonies organized and fought for their independence from European control. After their victory, these “nation-builders” turned their attention to indigenous populations and were able to establish and retain dominance. “The sheer size of this immigrant community, no less its overwhelming military, economic, and technological power vis-a-vis the indigenous populations, ensured that it maintained its own cultural coherence and local political ascendancy” (Anderson, 1991, p. 189).

pre discovery us map

Photo: Indigenous Peoples before European “discovery” (Source)

Three institutions of power — “the census, the map, and the museum” — were used to subdue indigenous peoples and shape “the way in which the colonial state imagined its dominion — the nature of the human beings it ruled, the geography of its domain, and the legitimacy of its ancestry” (Anderson, 1991, p. 164). The systematic quantification and classification of populations and the demarcation of the geographic boundaries of empires were powerful tools for administration and control.

Yet, through the excavation of ancient monuments and the creation of museums to house artifacts, the creole rulers were able to establish a link to the past and denigrate native populations at the same time (Anderson, 1991). As the guardians of monuments and artifacts, as the namer of places and landmarks, as curators of natural history museums, the new state could view the new world’s past as its own, while relegating native societies to merely one part of that past (Anderson, 1991; Haraway, 1994). The creoles were also the writers of the history texts which interpreted the creation of a new nation, glorified the triumphant victory over the metropole (England), and romanticized the conquest and domination of indigenous peoples (Berkhofer, 1979).

“Out of the American welter came these imagined realities: nation-states, republican institutions, common citizenships, popular sovereignty, national flags and anthems, etc., and the liquidation of their conceptual opposites: dynastic empires, monarchical institutions, absolutisms, subjecthoods, inherited nobilities, serfdoms, ghettoes, and so forth” (Anderson, 1991, p. 81).

1024px-Territorial-acquisition-uscensus-bureau

Photo: US “territorial acquisitions” (Source)

Nationhood and nationalism are potent unifying tools for those in leadership positions. Gramsci (1999, p. 12) identifies two crucial “superstructural” levels within nations: “civil society” and “the State.” The State refers to the governmental and juridical sectors, while civil society “is the ensemble of organisms commonly called ‘private’.” According to Gramsci (1999, p. 12):

“… the supremacy of a social group manifests itself in two ways, as ‘domination’ and as ‘intellectual and moral leadership’. A social group dominates antagonistic groups, which it tends to ‘liquidate’, or to subjugate perhaps even by armed force; it leads kindred and allied groups.”

Force and coercion are the function of the State sector, while intellectual and moral leadership emerge primarily from civil society. Both levels are controlled by the dominant group, with intellectuals serving as their “deputies” to carry out the functions of political governance and cultural hegemony. The force of the State is embodied in constitutions, laws, and the military, while schools and public media are the major tools for building the type of national consensus necessary for the exercise of hegemony (Gramsci, 1999). National governments need to balance force and consent.

“Indeed, the attempt is always made to ensure that force will appear to be based on the consent of the majority, expressed by the so-called organs of public opinion — newspapers and associations — which, therefore, in certain situations, are artificially multiplied.” (Gramsci, 1999, p. 80, footnote 49)

Every state “tends to create and maintain a certain type of civilisation and of citizen (and hence of collective life and of individual relations), and to eliminate certain customs and attitudes and to disseminate others” (Gramsci, 1999, p. 246). Through the processes of education, socialization, and mass communication, the citizens of nations are programmed to accept the prevailing social order, to spontaneously consent “to the general direction imposed on social life by the dominant fundamental group” (Gramsci, 1999, p. 12). Through education, and the political and economic structures in which education occurs, individuals within a given society gradually accept, often quite unconsciously through everyday activities, the dominant ideologies and institutions from which all of the lower levels of the macrosystem spring (Gramsci, 1995). It is through such processes that the compelling appeal of the ideologies and symbols on which the new United States was built have assumed dominance, or “cultural hegemony,” over competing ideologies, and were woven throughout “the institutions in civil society, such as schools, churches, [and political] parties, etc.” (Bellamy, 1994, p. xxxviii).

menominee children

Photo: Menominee Children Enacting Wedding – 1931 (Source – Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University)

The concept of hegemony draws attention to the interconnectedness of “institutions,” “forms of consciousness,” and “political and cultural practices” (Williams, 1994, p. 587). According to Williams (1994, p. 595), the concept of hegemony goes beyond ideology in that it is “not only the conscious system of ideas and beliefs, but the whole lived social process as practically organized by specific and dominant meanings and values.” Formal institutions are a powerful component of hegemony. As Williams (1994, p. 602) points out all societies rely on the process of socialization, but it is in the “selected range of meanings, values, and practices which, in the very closeness of their associations with learning, constitute the real foundations of the hegemonic. In a family, children are cared for and taught to care for themselves, but within this necessary process fundamental and selective attitudes to self, others, to a social order, and to the material world are both consciously and unconsciously taught.” Education, institutions, and communications systems all reenforce particular views, meanings, values, and activities. Yet, training and social pressure alone are not truly hegemonic.

“The true condition of hegemony is effective self-identification with the hegemonic forms: a specific and internalized ‘socialization’ which is expected to be positive but which, if that is not possible, will rest on a (resigned) recognition of the inevitable and the necessary. An effective culture, in this sense, is always more than the sum of its institutions: not only because these can be seen, in analysis, to derive much of their character from it, but mainly because it is at the level of the whole culture that the crucial interrelations, including confusions and conflicts, are really negotiated” (Williams, 1994, p. 603, emphasis in original).

Like Gramsci and Williams, Foucault also underscores education and “the crucial role of ‘expert’ forms of power/knowledge in sustaining the commonsense order of things” (Scheper-Hughes, 1992, p.171). Both Foucault and Gramsci are concerned with “the capillary nature of diffuse power circuits in modern states” (Scheper-Hughes, 1992, p. 171). Similar to Bronfenbrenner’s assertion that power is located in roles and power settings, Foucault argues that domination is exerted by all of society’s institutions through “disciplines” and a “series of localized strategies” (Kritzman (1988, p. xvi).

“Discipline” and “Normalization.”

Foucault’s concept of “discipline” evolved over the course of his diverse studies. Initially, Foucault described discipline as a noun which meant “groups of statements that borrow their organization from scientific models, which tend toward coherence and demonstrativity, which are accepted, institutionalized, transmitted and sometimes taught as sciences …” (Foucault, 1972). p. 178). In his later works, discipline was described both as a verb (surveiller), and a noun which can be characterized by the outcome of a normalizing “supervision” or “surveillance” (Sheridan, 1979; Atkins et al., 1990 ). It is this latter meaning which is most salient in the discussion the continuation of Euro-American cultural hegemony.

Disciplinary power is applied through “the use of simple instruments; hierarchical observation, normalizing judgement and their combination in a procedure that is specific to it, the examination” (Foucault, 1979, p. 170) in order “to produce a human being who could be treated as a docile body” (Dreyfus & Rabinow, 1983, p. 134). Documentary techniques recorded the observations of those charged with the application of disciplinary techniques, creating a record of each individual’s comparative progress (Foucault, 1979).

“The technology of discipline developed and was perfected in workshops, barracks, prisons, and hospitals; in each of these settings the general aim was a ‘parallel increase in the usefulness and docility of individuals’ and populations. The techniques for disciplining bodies were applied mainly to the working classes and the subproletariat, although not exclusively, as they also operated in universities and schools” (Dreyfus & Rabinow, 1983, p. 135).

ojibwe children in costume

Photo: Ojibwe Students in Costumes (WI) – 1933 (Source – Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University)

The perfection of these techniques was tied to the rise of capitalism as a dominant ideology in Europe.

“Foucault …contends that it was the disciplinary technologies which underlay the growth, spread, and triumph of capitalism as an economic venture. Without the insertion of disciplined, orderly individuals into the machinery of production, the new demands of capitalism would have been stymied. In a parallel manner, capitalism would have been impossible without the fixation, control and rational distribution of populations on a large scale.” (Dreyfus & Rabinow, 1983, p. 135)

Or, as Foucault (1979, p. 164) explains,

“Discipline is no longer simply an art of distributing bodies, of extracting time from them and accumulating it, but of composing forces in order to obtain an efficient machine. The individual body becomes an element that may be placed, moved, articulated on others…. The body is constituted as a part of a multi-segmentary machine.”

The mechanisms of disciplinary power run throughout all of the institutions of society. From the eighteenth century onward, Foucault (1980b) argues that the role of families is increasingly regimented and medicalized to produce healthy, docile adults.

“It is no longer just a matter of producing an optimum number of children, but one of the correct management of this age of life. New and highly detailed rules serve to codify relations between adults and children…. [A] whole series of obligations [are] imposed on parents and children alike: obligations of a physical kind (care, contact, hygiene, cleanliness, attentive proximity), suckling of children by their mothers, clean clothing, physical exercise to ensure proper development of the organism: the permanent and exacting corporal relation between adults and their children. The family is no longer to be just a system of relations inscribed in social status, a kinship system, a mechanism for the transmission of property. It is to become a dense, saturated, permanent, continuous physical environment which envelops, maintains and develops the child’s body (Foucault, 1988, pp. 172). (See endnote 2 for an important comment from one of the faculty reviewers.)

Families have increasingly become morally responsible for assuring the health of children, and at least partially responsible for bearing the economic cost of medical care (Foucault, 1988).

Techniques of discipline are also embodied in education, and each successive generation is normalized.

“A relation of surveillance, defined and regulated, is inscribed at the heart of the practice of teaching, not as an additional or adjacent part, but as a mechanism that is inherent to it and which increases its efficiency. Hierarchical, continuous and functional surveillance may not be one of the great technical ‘inventions’ of the eighteenth century, but its insidious extension owed its importance to the mechanisms of power it brought with it” (Foucault, 1979, p. 176).

The economy of this new power technique could not be matched by older technologies. Foucault (1980b, p. 155) notes that:

“There is no need for arms, physical violence, material constraints. Just a gaze. An inspecting gaze, a gaze which each individual under its weight will end by interiorising [sic] to the point that he is his own overseer, each individual thus exercising this surveillance over and against himself. A superb formula: power exercised continuously and for what turns out to be a minimal cost.”

 weaving class 1933

Photo: Weaving Class – Holy Family Mission (WI) – 1933 ( Source – Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University)

By means of surveillance techniques, disciplinary power pervaded all aspects of the macrosystem (Foucault, 1979).

“The workshop, the school, the army were subject to a whole micro-penality of time (lateness, absences, interruptions of tasks), of activity (inattention, negligence, lack of zeal), of behaviour (impoliteness, disobedience), of speech (idle chatter, insolence), of the body (‘incorrect’ attitudes, irregular gestures, lack of cleanliness), of sexuality (impurity, indecency). At the same time, by way of punishment, a whole series of subtle pressures was used, from light punishment to minor deprivations and petty humiliations” (Foucault, 1979, p. 178).

The application of these disciplinary measures was referred to by Foucault as “dressage,” translated from French as “taming” or “breaking in” (Atkins et al., 1987, p. 232), or in English usage, “the art or method of training a horse in obedience and precision of movement” (Webster’s Dictionary, 1989, p. 435). According to Foucault (1988, p. 105): “What developed, then, was a whole technique of human dressage by location, confinement, surveillance, the perpetual supervision of behavior and tasks, in short, a whole technique of ‘management’ of which the prison was merely one manifestation or its transposition into the penal domain.” Discipline effectively “normalized,” or homogenized, individuals. Foucault (1979, p. 193) notes that: “In a system of discipline, the child is more individualized that the adult, the patient more than the healthy man, the madman and the delinquent more than the normal and non-delinquent. In each case, it is towards the first of these pairs that all individualizing mechanisms are turned in our civilization.”

Through the application of these mechanisms of dressage, individuals are ranked vertically according to their performance and abilities in relation to the prevailing needs and ideologies embodied in the capitalist macrosystem (Foucault, 1979). Thus, the power exerted over individuals transcends specific institutions, although the technologies of exerting and maintaining power “find a localization with specific institutions (schools, hospitals, prisons, when they ‘invest’ these institutions…” (Drefus & Rabinow, 1983, p. 185). Thus, power is not located solely within the State apparatus (Foucault, 1980). The points of power are diffuse and operate “on a much more minute and every day level” (p. Foucault, 1980a, p. 59).

“Power is not something that is acquired, seized, or shared, something that one holds on to or allows to slip away; power is exercised from innumerable points, in the interplay of nonegalitarian and mobile relations…. One must suppose rather that the manifold relationships of force that take shape and come into play in the machinery of production, in families, limited groups, and institutions, are the basis for wide-ranging effects of cleavage that run through the social body as a whole…. Major dominations are the hegemonic effects that are sustained by all these confrontations” (Foucault, 1990, p. 94).

What this means, then, is that there is no one person or institution intentionally dominating others, although individuals and institutions can make use of the technologies of discipline for their own aims (Foucault, 1990).

In complex societies, power has become vested in a proliferation of emerging organizations (Foucault, 1979; Bronfenbrenner, 1979; Scott, 1987; Perrow, 1986). These organizations, nested within the exostructure and macrostructure, embody the dominant ideologies that are operative within a given culture at a given time. Characterized by bureaucratic structures, organizations have assumed a tremendous importance in the everyday lives of individuals, families, communities, societies, and the world at large (Scott, 1987; Zey-Ferrel, 1981). Charles Perrow (1986, p. 5) argues that bureaucratic organizations “legitimize the control of the many by the few, despite the formal apparatus of democracy, and this control has generated unregulated and unperceived social power.”

“As bureaucracies satisfy, delight, pollute, and satiate us with their output of goods and services, they also shape our ideas, our very way of conceiving of ourselves, control our life chances, and even define our humanity…. We grow up in organizations; to stand outside them is to see their effect on what we believe, what we value, and, more important, how we think and reason.” (Perrow, 1986, p. 5)

According to Foucault (1979, 1980a, 1980b, 1988, 1990), disciplinary techniques and differential power are interwoven throughout the institutions and organizations of politics, law, production, education, and social welfare. With the tremendous influence organizations have, it becomes crucial to understand who controls them and for what purpose (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978; Zald, 1981). This is one of the central concerns of the resource dependency and political economy theorists.

Political Economy and Resource Dependency.

From the perspective of the political economy and resource dependency models which emerged in the late 1970s, organizations are nested within and constrained by the larger socio-political and economic environment (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978; Pfeffer, 1982). According to Benson (1975, p. 229):

“The interorganizational network may be conceived as a political economy concerned with the distribution of two scarce resources, money and authority. Organizations, as participants in the political economy, pursue an adequate supply of resources. Interactions and sentiments of organizations are dependent upon their respective market positions and power to affect the flow of resources.”

One of the crucial constraints is the existing social structure in which organizations are nested, since those individuals and organizations in powerful positions “tend to occasion the reproduction of the existing social structure” (Benson, 1977b, p. 3). Internal organizational operations are also constrained by “constitutions” (Zald, 1981, p. 225), or by “paradigms,” which in “normal times” are “taken for granted as the framework of purposes, means, strategies and structures within which organizational behavior is directed” (Benson, 1977a, p. 7). While these “norms set the limits for behavior, … it may be rare for participants even to be aware of the norms” (Zald, 1981, p. 227).

Organizations engage in transactions with their environments in order to increase the likelihood of their survival through the dual processes of organizational adaptation and environmental change efforts (Cook, 1977; Scott, 1987; Pfeffer, 1982). Since organizations are dependent upon their environments for resources (raw materials to transform into products, markets in which to sell products for profit, personnel, information access, and legitimacy), power disparities emerge within and among organizations (Pfeffer, 1981; Pfeffer, 1982). Those organizations which better reflect the ideologies of a given society (e.g., in terms of organizational structure, technologies, products, and professions) have a stronger power base and are able to dominate other organizations, exert greater influence on their environments (e.g., on state and federal governments), and are more likely to survive and expand (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978; Benson, 1977a & 1977b). Those organizations with a poorer fit have less power, and hence become more dependent upon other organizations within the interorganizational network.

“Dependence … measures the potency of the external organizations or groups in the given organization’s environment. It is a measure of how much these organizations must be taken into account and, also, how likely it is that they will be perceived as important and considered in the [focal] organization’s decision making” (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978, p. 52).

Pfeffer and Salancik (1978) found that those organizations which are more dependent upon government resources in order to survive, were more vulnerable to governmental demands and pressures.

st. josehp school

Photo: St. Joseph’s Indian School (WI) – 1920? 1935? (Source – Raynor Memorial Libraries, Marquette University)

Austin (1988, p. 70) points out that the trend in both capitalist and socialist societies has been the “concentration of economic and political power,” and the concomitant “development of a system of social control which has as its objective the support and protection of the particular structure of power concentration in that society.”

“These controls take the form of laws and regulations, and the use of both economic power and political authority, to limit, or eliminate the impact of dissenters. Even more important is the development of symbols, and intensive processes of socialization about the significance of those symbols, that serve to establish and maintain among the majority of citizens in both types of societies the legitimacy of the concentration of power.” (Austin, 1988, p. 70)

Like Foucault and Gramsci, Zey-Ferrel (1981) asserts that the invisibility of the power exerted by the ruling elite to define what is valuable, meaningful, and legitimate, actually increases the symbolic force of the political and economic power which is embedded throughout the macrosystem and interorganizational networks.

Within the context of the complex interplay of these multifaceted forces, past and present, Native American peoples have continued to survive. It is within the present-day legacy of this overwhelming socio-historical context that the thoughtful Ojibwa youth, cited at the beginning of this paper, developed his theory to make sense of the causality of child maltreatment. A number of scholars have also attempted to describe the experiences and present situations of Native American peoples within theoretical frameworks.

Table 1 – Key Events and Their Impacts on Tribal Nations within the United State

prelim 2 table 1 a

prelim 2 table 1 b

prelim 2 table 1 c

prelim 2 table 1 d

prelim 2 table 1 e

The Impact of Domination for Native Americans. Two perspectives explicitly relegate a central position to differential power: captive nations/internal colonies (Snipp 1986a, 1986b, 1988, 1990; Snipp & Summers, 1990) and incorporation (Cornell, 1988). Cast in an economic framework, both theoretical perspectives recount the evolving strategies of domination used by colonial metropoles and the U.S. government to exert an increasing amount of control over indigenous peoples within the United States. While both perspectives explicitly note the significant differences among tribal cultures and the unique challenges each tribe faced at the hands of colonizers, certain similarities can be identified. Table 1 highlights key political and economic events, and the impact of these events for Native American peoples. The captive nations/internal colonies theoretical approach focuses on processes and impacts of economic domination and exploitation ( Snipp 1986b). Cornell’s (1988) approach views the process of political and economic incorporation of Native peoples into the dominant U.S. structure as transactional, although the balance of power is unequal. Native resistance, from Cornell’s perspective, has enabled Tribal peoples to survive as distinct political entities.

To be continued…

Endnotes:

1. Table 1 summarizes the work of a number of authors (Fleras & Elliott, 1992; Cornell, 1988, p. 14; O’Brien, 1989, p. 258; Snipp, 1986b, 1988; Diamond, 1997; and Armitage, 1995). While the dates of the periods included in Table 1 correspond to the six periods Cornell identified, Table 1 expands the historical time period and includes different labels for some of the periods to more clearly characterize the socio-political context within each timeframe.

2. Faculty comment: “Of course, prior to this time, in Western culture, children were largely treated as property to be dealt with by their parents as would any other form of property” (emphasis in original).

3. Table 1 is adapted from a number of sources: Armitage (1995); Cornell (1988, p. 14); Diamond (1997); Fleras & Elliot (1992, p. 136); O’Brien (1989, p. 258); and Snipp (1986b, 1989)

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Adams, D.W. (1995). Education for extinction: American Indians and the boarding school experience, 1875-1928. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.

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Armitage, A. (1995). Comparing the policy of aboriginal assimilation: Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press.

Atkins, B.T., Duval, A., Milne, R.C., Lewis, H.M.A., Sinclair, L., & Birks, R. (Eds.) (1990). Harper Collins Robert French Dictionary (2nd ed.). Glasgow, GB: HarperCollins Publishers.

Austin, D. (1988). The political economy of human service programs. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Bellamy, R. (Ed.)(1994). Antonio Gramsci: Pre-prison writings (V. Cox, Trans.) New York: Cambridge University Press.

Benson, J.K. (1975). The interorganizational network as a political economy. Administrative Science Quarterly, 20, 229-249.

Benson, J.K. (1977a). Innovation and crisis in organizational analysis. The Sociological Quarterly, 18, 3-16.

Benson, J.K. (1977b). Organizations: A dialectical view. Administrative Science Quarterly, 22, 1-21.

Berkhofer, R.E., Jr. (1979). The White man’s Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the present. New York: Vintage Books.

Boothman, D. (Ed. & Trans.)(1995). Antonio Gramsci: Further selections from the prison notebooks. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MS: Harvard University Press.

Cook, K.S. (1977). Exchange and power in networks of interorganizational relations. The Sociological Quarterly, 18, 62-82.

Cornell, S. (1988). The return of the Native: American Indian political resurgence. New York: Oxford University Press.

Diamond, J. (1997). Guns, germs, and steel: The fates of human societies. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Dreyfus, H.L. & Rabinow, P. (1983). Michel Foucault: Beyond structuralism and hermeneutics (2nd ed.). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Fleras, A. & Elliot, J. (1992). The ‘nations within': aboriginal-state relations in Canada, the United States, and New Zealand. Toronto, Canada: Oxford University Press.

Foucault, M. (1972). The archaeology of knowledge and the discourse on language (A.M. Sheridan Smith, Trans.). New York: Pantheon Books. (Original work published 1969)

Foucault, M. (1979). Discipline & punish: The birth of the prison. (A. Sheridan, Trans.). New York: Vintage Books. (Original work published 1975)

Foucault, M. (1980a). Body/Power. In C. Gordon (ed.) Power/knowledge: Selected interviews and other writing 11972-1977 by Michel Foucault (C. Gordon, L. Marshall, J. Mepham, & K. Soper, Trans.), pp. 55-62. New York: Pantheon Books. (Original work published 1975)

Foucault, M. (1980b). The politics of health in the eighteenth century). In C. Gordon (ed.) Power/knowledge: Selected interviews and other writing 1972-1977 by Michel Foucault (C. Gordon, L. Marshall, J. Mepham, & K. Soper, Trans.), pp. 166-182. New York: Pantheon Books. (Original work published 1976)

Foucault, M. (1988). On power. In L.D. Kritzman (ed.), Michel Foucault: Politics, philosophy, culture: Interviews and other writings 1977-1984 (A. Sheridan & Others, Trans.), pp. 96-109. New York: Routledge. (Original work published 1984)

Foucault, M. (1990). The history of sexuality: Volume I: An Introduction (R. Hurley, Trans.). New York: Vintage Books/Random House. (Original work published 1976)

Gramsci, A. (1994). The sovereignty of law. In R. Bellamy (ed.), Antonio Gramsci: Pre-prison writings (V. Cox, Trans.), p. 87-90. New York: Cambridge University Press. (Original work published 1919)

Gramsci, A. (1995).Vittorio Macchioro and America. In D. Boothman (ed.), Antonio Gramsci: Further selections form the Prison Notebooks (D. Boothman, Trans.), p. 259. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Gramsci, A. (1999). Selections from the prison notebooks of Antonio Gramsci (Q. Hoare & G.N. Smith, Eds. & Trans.). New York: International Press.

Hand, C. (1999). Indian child welfare within the context of United States child welfare policies, practices and paradigms: Rescuing children or homogenizing America? Doctor of Philosophy Preliminary Exam Paper 2 – Relevant theoretical literature – Differential power and Indian child welfare. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Haraway, D. (1994). Teddy Bear patriarchy: Taxidermy in the Garden of Eden, New York City, 1908-1936. In N.B. Dirks, G. Eley, & S.B. Ortner (eds.), Culture/power/history: A reader in contemporary social theory, pp. 49-95. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Kritzman, L.D. (1988)(Ed.). Michel Foucault: Politics, philosophy, culture: Interviews and other writings 1977-1984. (A. Sheridan & Others, Trans.) New York: Routledge.

O’Brien, S. (1989). American Indian Tribal governments. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press.

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Pfeffer, J. (1981). Who Governs? In O. Grusky and G.A. Miller (Eds.), The sociology of organizations: basic studies (2nd ed.), pp. 228-247. New York: The Free Press.

Pfeffer, J. (1982). The external control of organizational behavior. In J. Pfeffer (Ed.), Organizations and organizational theory, pp. 178-207. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.

Pfeffer, J. & Salancik, G. (1978). The external control of organizations: a resource dependency perspective. New York: Harper and Row.

Scheper-Hughes, N. (1992). Death without weeping: the violence of everyday life in Brazil. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Scott, W.R. (1987). Organizations: rational, natural, and open systems. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Snipp, C.M. (1986a). The changing political and economic status of American Indians: from captive nations to internal colonies. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 45(2), 145-157.

Snipp, C.M. (1986b). American Indians and natural resource development: Indigenous peoples’ land, now sought after, has produced new Indian-White problems. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 45(4), 457-474.

Snipp, C.M. (Ed.)(1988). Public policy impacts and American Indian economic development. In C.M. Snipp (ed.), Public Policy Impacts on American Indian Economic Development, pp. 1-22. Albuquerque, NM: Institute for Native American Development, University of New Mexico.

Snipp, C.M. (1989). American Indians: The first of this land. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Snipp, C.M. (1990). Editor’s Introduction: Economic dependency in Indian Country. In C.M. Snipp (ed.), Economic Dependency in Indian Country.

Snipp. C.M. & Summers, G.F. (1990). American Indian development policies. In C.B. Flora and J.A. Christenson (eds.), Rural policies in the 1990s, pp. 166-179. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Webster’s encyclopedic unabridged dictionary of the English language (1989). New York: Gramercy Books.

Williams, R. (1994). Selections from Marxism and Literature. In N.B. Dirks, G. Eley, & S.B. Ortner (eds.), Culture/power/history: A reader in contemporary social theory, pp. 585-608. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Zald, M.N. (1981). Political economy: a framework for comparative analysis. In J. Pfeffer (Ed.), Power in organizations, pp. 221-261. Marshfield, MA: Pitman.

Zey-Ferrell, M. (1981). Criticisms of the dominant perspective in organizations, The Sociological Quarterly, 22, 181-203.

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

the way of the brokenhearted

Carol A. Hand:

Profound insights from a gifted writer, Ron Irvine, who has graciously agreed to allow me to share them here.

Originally posted on Living with Open Hands:

themoonresized-1The Way of the Brokenhearted… Leads to the Way of the Open Heart. 

“God breaks the heart

again and again and again

until it stays OPEN.”

Hazrat Inayat Kahn (Sufi Master)

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34:18)

Life is full of surprises. Some are positive but many others do not seem so positive. These surprises, whether positive or negative, are the “stuff” of life.

What we do with the good “stuff” is easy: rejoice, laugh, dance, celebrate, or whatever. What we do with the not-so-good “stuff” defines who we are. What we do with them gives our life meaning or despair. BUT WHAT DO WE DO WITH THESE SURPRISES? Our tragedies, broken dreams, failures, losses, etc. can devour us . . . or strengthen us.

“As long as we are mortal creatures who love other mortals, heartbreak will be a staple of our lives. And all heartbreak, personal…

View original 589 more words

Differential Power and Indian Child Welfare: Part One

 

Carol A. Hand

Years ago, I was advised to submit one of my university exam papers for publication even though it was too long to be accepted as a journal article, and too short to be a book (Hand, 1999). I decided to share it here, with minor edits and illustrations added, in hopes that it might be of interest and stimulate thoughtful dialogue.

************

INTRODUCTION: THEORETICAL OVERVIEW

Many theories have been formulated to explain child abuse and neglect within what is now the United States. Recently, an eleven-year-old Ojibwe youth won an award for an essay he wrote to explain his perspective as a foster child. (Please refer to Endnote 1 for more information about the request to include this work in my writing.) In his attempt to make sense of his experiences, this young man’s essay expresses both his vision of the future and his theory of causality for child maltreatment.

WHAT [MY COMMUNITY] WOULD BE LIKE WITH NO ALCOHOL OR DRUGS

[My community] would be a better place if there was not so much beer and bars. People will have better jobs, more better houses and people will have longer marriages, more food and cars. Kids will be happy and will’nt get into fights and do drugs. Kids will have friends that are nice, that don’t do drugs. Kids will have a nice dog to play with, and parents that be home early, and who take their kids to eat somewhere instead of going out and drinking up their money on drugs and beers. Moms and Dads will be up early instead of being hung over and waking up late in the afternoon. Kids will have a curfew at night and their parents will be there not out drinking and getting high somewhere and coming home about 3:00 in the morning. Kids will have a bike of their own, instead of stealing them of using their friends. The moms won’t need to find a babysitter because she will [be] home, not out using drugs or at a bar. Kids would have fun birthdays, and kids will get to have sleepovers because their mom will be home, not at the bar drinking and coming home late to get into fights with their dads. The parents will’nt be divorced because of BEER. AND IF THERE WAS NOT NO BEER, MOMS AND DADS WILL HAVE A HAPPY FAMILY.

This is a powerful essay on many levels. It is a plea from a youngster for parents who will be there to meet his needs. Like many youngsters, he wants a dog, a bike, and parents who don’t fight. Also like many youngsters, he sees the disruptive power of substance abuse and addiction. His theory echoes that held by many youngsters and adults, both in the general population and within minority cultures and communities. It also mirrors the assumptions in much of the child welfare legislation and those held by many health and human service professionals. This thoughtful Ojibwe youth defines the root problem of child maltreatment as an individual choice made by parents, particularly mothers (to drink or use drugs). His solution is to remove the temptation. The pervasive historical, political, and economic contributors to substance abuse, child maltreatment, and family violence remain hidden from sight. This paper explores theories that attempt to explicate the ways in which colonial domination, forced assimilation, and cultural hegemony have, over the course of five centuries, led to the perpetuation and acceptance of individual deficit explanations for child maltreatment by the very Native American communities who have inherited the social, economic, and politico-structural consequences of this oppressive legacy. (Please refer to Endnote 2 for information about terminology related to Indigenous Peoples.)

1024px-Wounded_Knee_1891

Photo: Wounded Knee Massacre – 1891

BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE

The Significance of Theory in Defining Child Treatment

Definition. “Theory” is defined as “a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena … [or as] a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact” (Webster’s Dictionary, 1989, p. 1471, emphasis added). Theories are attempts to understand the world in order to predict behavior. Social work, ideally, is founded on a theoretical knowledge base: “to explain why people behave as they do, to better understand how the environment affects behavior, to guide interventive behavior, and to predict what is likely to be the result of a particular social work intervention (Green & Ephross, 1991, p. 5, as cited in Miley, O’Melia, and DuBois, 1995, p. 27). Yet, as helpful as theories can be, they are culture-bound and historically-variable (Kuhn, 1970).

Paradigms and Practice. While the definition of theory cited above suggests that “well-established propositions” are distinct from a theory, theories are often viewed as more than “conjectural.” Theories emerge from the work of researchers and scholars within specific cultures and times (Dreyfus & Rabinow, 1983). Thomas Kuhn (1970, p. viii) points out in his notable work, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, that scientists within given fields gradually develop a degree of consensus about “the nature of legitimate scientific problems and methods.” Kuhn (1970, p. viii) refers to the “universally recognized scientific achievements that for a time provide model problems and solutions to a community of practitioners” as “paradigms.”
According to Kuhn (1970, p. 5), paradigms “… are firmly embedded in the educational initiation that prepares and licenses the student for professional practice … [and] come to exert a deep hold on the scientific mind” as a result of rigid and rigorous professional education. He (Kuhn, 1970, p. 5) argues that natural science “… is predicated on the assumption that the scientific community knows what the world is like. Much of the success of the enterprise derives from the community’s willingness to defend that assumption, if necessary at considerable cost… [and a given community] often suppresses fundamental novelties because they are necessarily subversive of its basic commitments.” The human sciences constantly try to copy natural sciences in this regard, by ignoring the “background techniques, shared discriminations, and a shared sense of relevance — all those skills picked up through training which form a part of what Kuhn calls the ‘disciplinary matrix’ of a science” (Dreyfus & Rabinow, 1983, p. 163).

Thus, theories are embedded within particular paradigms that: (1) define the problems which are legitimate for research, (2) the methods for approaching further research, and (3) the answers which are acceptable, expected, or “normal” (Kuhn, 1970; Foucault, 1979; Dreyfus & Rabinow, 1983). Theories about children and families based on a particular set of beliefs and values form the texts and knowledge bases that are built into social work education and into the public consciousness, and hence, define expectations, laws, and policies. The causality of child maltreatment, and the particular interventive approaches used, are based on accepted theories which are culture-bound. Standards of normalcy, in this case child (mal)treatment, reflect theories developed by those with the power and prestige to be heard (Foucault, 1979; Kritzman, 1988; Nelson, 1984; Costin et al., 1996). The interventions which follow from theories, likewise, are defined by the beliefs of the powerful. As Michel Foucault (1979) notes: “The judges of normality are present everywhere. We are in the society of the teacher-judge, the doctor-judge, the educator-judge, the ‘social-worker’-judge; it is on them that the universal reign of the normative is based; and each individual, wherever he may find himself, subjects to it his body, his gestures, his behaviour, his aptitudes, his achievements” (p. 304).

Carlisle_pupils

Photo: Carlisle Indian Boarding School (1879-1918)

The judges of normalcy use culture-bound paradigms and theories to understand and label the behavior of others (Foucault, 1979). This power to label others as abnormal, deviant, or deficient remains largely invisible and has rarely been subjected to scientific scrutiny (Gordon, 1980). Even more hidden are the mechanisms which socialize individuals to use the very same theories to judge themselves, their families, and their communities (Dreyfus & Rabinow, 1983; Foucault, 1979). The purpose of this paper is to explore theories that attempt, at least in part, to explain the mechanisms of power which have continued to influence the experiences and circumstances of Native American children, families, and communities. Change, including the legitimization of a more pluralistic paradigm, is made more difficult without understanding the forces which support the continuation of cultural hegemony.

Macro-Theoretical Perspectives.

The following macro-theoretical perspectives attempt to explain the interconnectedness of social systems and the mechanisms of differential power. According to Zald (1981, p. 238), “Power is the ability of a person or group, for whatever reason, to affect another person’s or group’s ability to achieve its goals (personal or collective).” However, understanding the impact of unequal power relations presents a conundrum. As Nancy Scheper-Hughes (1992, p. 533) points out:

In writing against cultures and institutions of fear and domination, the critical thinker falls into a classic double bind. Either one attributes great explanatory power to the fact of oppression (but in so doing one can reduce the subjectivity and agency of subjects to a discourse on victimization) or one can try to locate the everyday forms of resistance in the mundane tactics and practices of the oppressed, the weapons of the weak… Here one runs the risk of romanticizing human suffering or trivializing its effects on the human spirit, consciousness, and will.

Clearly, the ability of Native American peoples to raise successive generations according to their own values has been impacted by their relatively powerless position in relation to the colonial dominance of the “Anglo-centric” values of the United States (Adams, 1995; Cornell, 1988; Fleras & Elliott, 1992). Despite the centuries of oppression and relentless brutality to which Native American peoples have been subjected, however, the survival of tribal communities represents an astounding degree of cultural and individual resilience and adaptability (Snipp, 1989; Cornell, 1988). Yet, as many scholars point out, the survival of Native American peoples has not come without heavy costs for children, families, and communities (Snipp, 1989; Cornell, 1988; Fleras & Elliott, 1992). In an attempt to chart a middle ground, to avoid presenting Native American peoples today as purely hapless victims of a continuing legacy of oppression or as quintessential romantic rebels, the theoretical discussion which follows begins with general macro-theoretical frameworks and moves to more specific perspectives.

_Saber_Exercises,_Troop_'List_Cavalry,_Ft__Custer_Mont_,_1892___An_Indian_troop_of_U_S__soldiers_-_NARA_-_531125

Photo: Saber Exercises, Ft. Custer, Montana – 1892

“The Ecology of Human Development.” The elegance of Uri Bronfenbrenner’s (1979) approach to human development rests in both its multidimensional complexity and its emphasis on the transactional and reciprocal nature of relations between people and their changing environments. As illustrated in figure 1 below, which somewhat oversimplifies Bronfenbrenner’s model, individuals are “nested” concentrically within a series of environmental relationships.

ecology of human development

Figure 1: The Ecology of Human Development

The “microsystem” includes those immediate aspects of the environment “that are most powerful in shaping the course of psychological growth”: “a pattern of activities, roles, and interpersonal relations experienced by the developing person in a given setting with particular physical and material characteristics” (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, p. 22). For infants, the primary microsystem is usually their home setting with primary caregivers, simple activities, and a limited set of roles. Development through childhood and beyond involves an increase in the number and complexity of roles, relations, and activities, as well as the addition of new microsystems, such as daycare, preschool, school, etc., in which a developing person is embedded. As individuals move into additional settings, linkages are created between microsystems, resulting in what Bronfenbrenner (1979, p. 25) refers to as “mesosystems,” or “a system of microsystems.”

While the developing individuals directly participate in both microsystems and mesosystems through their relationships with parents, teachers, and other significant persons, their development is indirectly influenced by systems outside their own experience. Parents, teachers, and other relatives are all embedded in a series of settings (for example, parents’ work, parents’ networks of friends, teachers’ unions, local school boards, etc.) that influence how they relate to the developing individuals. This indirect, external set of influences is labeled the “exosystem” (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, p. 25). All of these systems are embedded within the “macrosystem”, defined as “consistencies, in the form and content of lower-order systems (micro-, meso-, and exo-) that exist, or could exist, at the level of the subculture or the culture as a whole, along with any belief systems or ideology underlying such consistencies” (p. 26). Macrosystems are the blueprint, or the overarching cultural paradigm (Fleras & Elliott, 1992), which determines the content, structure, and goals of the lower level systems in which individuals are embedded. Bronfenbrenner (1979, p. 26) notes that the macrosystems which exert influences on developing individuals “differ for various socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, and other subgroups, reflecting contrasting belief systems and lifestyles, which in turn help to perpetuate the ecological environments specific to each group.” Individuals not only sustain the blueprint, or ‘macrosystem’ in which they are embedded, but are also capable of modifying its content and structure.

Eight_Crow_prisoners_under_guard_at_Crow_agency,_Montana,_1887_-_NARA_-_531126

Photo: Eight Crow prisoners under guard at Crow agency, Montana – 1887

Bronfenbrenner does not speak to the relations among macrosystems, nor does he note power differentials between competing “blueprints” which exist among different social classes or ethnic groups within or among nations. Power, in his conception, is located within a macrosystem and manifested in “roles” or “power settings.” At the level of roles, he hypothesizes that: “The greater the degree of power socially sanctioned for a given role, the greater the tendency for the role occupant to exercise and exploit the power and for those in a subordinate position to respond by increased submission, dependency, and lack of initiative” (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, p. 92).

As support for this hypothesis, Bronfenbrenner cites two classic studies of power: Stanley Milgram’s investigation of obedience to authority, and the simulated prison experiment conducted at Stanford University by Zimbardo and his colleagues. In an experiment where subjects were asked to administer increasing levels of electrical shock to other individuals, Milgram found a surprising degree of compliance with authority. When commanded by the experimenter to administer painful and harmful levels of shock, most subjects complied despite cries of pain from the victims. Zimbardo and his colleagues simulated a prison experiment by randomly assigning 24 psychologically “stable” male college students to play either the role of prison guard or the role of prisoner. “As the experiment continued, the guards intensified their harassment and aggressive behavior, whereas the prisoners exhibited marked shifts in emotional state. On the second day, they [the prisoners] broke out in violence and rebellion, but once the guards used force to quell the uprising (by employing fire extinguishers as weapons and transforming prisoners’ rights into ‘privileges’), there followed a period of profound passivity, depression, and self-deprecation” (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, p. 89). The divergent reactions were not attributed to differences in individual dispositions, but rather to “patterns of response specific to particular roles and institutions in American society” (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, p. 90).

“Power settings,” according to Bronfenbrenner (1979, p. 255), “can be either formal (such as a board meeting) or informal (such as a cocktail party or a golf game). They can occur at the local or national level, either in the public (as in government) or the private sector (as in big business). The active participants in these settings … [are] the persons who allocate the resources and make the decisions, … ‘the power elite’…” Direct links to power settings differ by social position within the prevailing macrosystem, and have both direct and indirect effects on the developmental trajectories of individuals.

While Bronfenbrenner notes the “agency” of individuals with respect to their environments, their ability to not merely adapt to but to also transform the forces surrounding them, the mechanisms by which patterns are perpetuated or modified remain unspecified. Conceptualized as a “system,” the nested levels are interdependent. Bronfenbrenner notes that a change at one level results in a ripple effect, and although implicit, changes at each higher level have the potential to exert changes of greater magnitude and duration. Similarly unspecified are the reasons why some macrosystems dominate others, the mechanisms by which one macrosystem assumes and maintains dominance over others, and the impact on individuals within subordinate systems. For those communities and individuals in “powerless” roles, and for those who have no direct access to power settings, the context of development is defined by a macrosystem that often embodies a different set of values, roles, and activities than those of their own, less powerful, macrosystem. For Native American tribes, families, and children, this has meant continuing subjugation to normalizing judgments based on standards (e.g., appropriate child treatment) that are often antithetical to those embodied in their own cultural macrosystems (Fleras & Elliott, 1992). A number of theoretical perspectives offer plausible explanations for why some groups attain dominance over others, how dominance is maintained despite resistance, and what impact unequal power relationships have had on Native American peoples.

1024px-Carlisle_Indian_School_Band_Seated_on_Steps_of_a_School_Building,_Carlisle,_Pennsylvania,_1915_-_NARA_-_518927

Photo: Carlisle Indian School Band

Why Dominant/Subordinate Macrosystems Emerge. Many scholars have attempted to explain the Eurocentric domination of indigenous peoples in the Americas (e.g., Dippie, 1982; Cornell, 1988; Berkhofer, 1979; Fleras & Elliott, 1992) and around the world (e.g., Weatherford, 1988; Sahlins, 1994; Armitage, 1995). At the very foundation of domination, many scholars have pointed to the Eurocentric (often Anglo-centric) belief of invaders and colonizers that domination of indigenous peoples was justified on the basis of the technological, social, and moral superiority of European cultures (or paradigms and macrosystems). The strength of this unquestioned belief set in motion a legacy of domination which remains largely unquestioned today, and still results in an Aglo-centric judgment of indigenous macrosystems and peoples as inferior (Fleras & Elliott, 1992; Cornell, 1988). It is crucial to remove the discourse on cultural differences from the realm of unproductive rhetorical comparisons based on simplistic, value-laden dichotomies of civilized/savage, progressive/primitive, christian/heathen (i.e., superior/inferior). “[W]ords such as ‘civilization,’ and phrases such as ‘rise of civilization,’ convey the false impression that civilization is good, tribal hunter-gatherers are miserable, and history for the past 13,000 years has involved progress toward greater human happiness” (Diamond, 1997, p. 18).

Applying Bronfenbrenner’s macrosystem in the broadest possible way to interpret the scholarship of Jared Diamond (1997) does move cultural discourse to a more productive level. Diamond compellingly demonstrates the extent to which environment, in its most basic physical sense, rather than biological differences in peoples, is indeed a crucial factor in human development. Different developmental trajectories traced across human history link continental differences to four crucial factors: (1) the availability of a balanced set (or “suite”) of domesticable plants enabling agriculture; (2) the availability of domesticable large mammals for food, transportation, and heavy labor; (3) the shape and size of continental land masses (east-west versus north-south axes), and; (4) the date of initial human habitation.

Eurasia, unlike other continental land masses (Africa, the Americas, and Australia), was triply blessed with a wide range of domesticable plants, large domesticable mammals, and an east-west orientation enabling the diffusion of domesticates (and other innovations) across the same climates. Eurasia was also one of the sites of earliest human habitation. These environmental factors enabled an earlier development and diffusion of agriculture and sedentary societies. Diamond (1997) notes that “… plant and animal domestication meant much more food and hence much denser human populations. The resulting food surpluses, and (in some areas) the animal-based means of transporting those surpluses, were a prerequisite for the development of settled, politically centralized, socially stratified, economically complex, technologically innovative societies” (p. 92). As a result of close association and long exposure to domesticated animals and the diseases carried by pigs, cattle, goats, and sheep, Eurasians were able to develop resistance and immunities to the major killers of past centuries: smallpox, influenza, plague, measles, and cholera.

The political structures which gradually developed to manage larger, more densely settled populations in Eurasia and elsewhere around the globe, are characterized by a shift from “egalitarianism to kleptocracy” (Diamond, 1997, p. 265). Central governments become essential with increased population size in order to reduce violence among unrelated strangers. The ties of relationship in smaller tribal communities which mediate conflict and violence do not suffice as population size increases to more than a few hundred members. Hence, with a surplus of food, division of labor allows (and necessitates) the creation of a centralized governing structure controlled by individuals who are freed from the necessity of producing their own food. Diamond (1995) observed that centralized governments offer both advantages and disadvantages for those who are governed by them. Among the greatest advantages of centralized government is its ability to provide “expensive services impossible to contract for on an individual basis. At worst, they function unabashedly as kleptocracies, transferring new wealth from commoners to upper classes. These noble and selfish functions are inextricably linked, although some governments emphasize more of one fiction that the other. The difference between a kleptocrat and a wise statesman, between a robber baron and a public benefactor, is merely one of degree: a matter of just how large a percentage of the tribute extracted from producers is retained by the elite, and how much commoners like the public uses to which the redistributed tribute is put” (Diamond, 1997, p. 276).

Diamond (1997) argues that the trend toward forming larger populations and governments spreads outward. Smaller, more egalitarian societies are either absorbed by larger states, or must organize with other peoples to successfully resist domination. Unlike the value-laden Darwinian interpretation of cultural progression from “primitive” to “civilized” societies popularized during the late 1800s by anthropologists such as Lewis Henry Morgan in the United States (Berkhofer, 1979), Diamond’s (1997) perspective provides another interpretation. In order to increase the likelihood of survival as distinct groups, smaller “band” and “tribal’ societies adapted to their changing sociopolitical environment (encroaching “chiefdoms,” “states,” and “empires”) by forming larger, more complex centralized governmental structures (Diamond, 1997, p. 269). While centralized forms of government emerged in larger societies around the globe, it was European colonialism which established the particular political, social, and economic paradigms which were imposed over indigenous peoples in colonized continents worldwide. Among the advantages which made successful European conquest possible were “germs, technology, political organization, and writing” (Diamond, 1997, p. 357).

Of these advantages, the invention of writing is one of the “key hallmarks” of the transition from “savagery to civilization” (Diamond, 1997, p. 215). “[P]eoples who pride themselves on being civilized have always viewed writing as the sharpest distinction raising them above ‘barbarians’ or ‘savages.’ Knowledge brings power. Hence writing brings power to modern societies, by making it possible to transmit knowledge with far greater accuracy and in far greater quantity and detail, from more distant lands and more remote times” (p. 215). Yet, the development of writing occurred late in human history and only under specific circumstances in only two, three, or four sites in the world (Sumer and Mesoamerica, and possibly in China and Egypt). Only one of these sites, Sumer, developed the alphabet which served as a blueprint, or in rare cases spread by idea diffusion, for “[a]ll of the hundreds of historical and now existing alphabets…” (Diamond, 1997, p. 226). The same continental geographic and ecological barriers either aided or impeded the spread of this innovation.
Diamond (1997, p.236) observes that:

Early writing served the needs of those political institutions (such as record keeping and royal propaganda), and the users were full-time bureaucrats nourished by stored food surpluses grown by food-producing peasants. Writing was never developed or even adopted by hunter-gatherer societies, because they lacked both the institutional uses of early writing and the social and agricultural mechanisms for generating the food surpluses required to feed scribes. Thus, food production and thousands of years of societal evolution following its adoption were as essential for the evolution of writing as for the evolution of microbes causing human epidemic diseases.

Hence, the earlier development of writing, diseases, and technologies which enabled Europeans to establish dominance over peoples worldwide were made possible by a collection of environmental factors unique to Eurasia. In the process of conquest, Europeans were able to impose their cultural paradigms, or macrosystems, over other peoples (Diamond, 1997). The next question concerns how European macrosystems have been able to maintain dominance over those of indigenous peoples in the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as elsewhere, despite resistance on the part of those indigenous peoples who were displaced and dispossessed. Although Diamond’s perspective helps move the discourse on cultures from the level of racist beliefs of superior/inferior peoples, and unresolvable polemics as to which cultures are “best,” the consequences and continuation of Eurocentric domination remain powerful forces in the lives of indigenous peoples.

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Photo: Little Girls Praying – Phoenix Indian School

To be continued…

Endnotes:

1. The young man’s grandmother and foster parent asked me to include this essay in my work. Although the youth concurred, I have included it with some ambivalence. My analysis of the essay is not what they would have anticipated, yet I am hopeful that my treatment of this thoughtful perspective is both respectful and illuminating. While the name of the author and the name of the community have been omitted to protect confidentiality, the original text is otherwise unedited.

2. The terms Native American, American Indian, and First Nations peoples are used interchangeably throughout. American Indian/Alaska Native (or simply ‘Indian,” as in the Bureau of Indian Affairs) is still the dominant term used for administrative purposes by the United States Government, as well as by many tribal elders. The term Native American emphasizes the indigenous status of the population which occupied the Americas at the time of European “discovery,” and served as a focus for unifying the descendants of indigenous peoples across tribal boundaries during the 1960s. First Nations peoples, a term widely used in what is now Canada, underscores the importance of sovereignty as an ideology which distinguishes tribal communities from other numeric “minorities” within societies dominated by the numerically larger Euro-American immigrant populations who have imposed political, cultural, and economic hegemony.

Works Cited:

Adams, D.W. (1995). Education for extinction: American Indians and the boarding school experience, 1875-1928. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.

Armitage, A. (1995). Comparing the policy of aboriginal assimilation: Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Vancouver, Canada: UBC Press.

Berkhofer, R.E., Jr. (1979). The White man’s Indian: Images of the American Indian from Columbus to the present. New York: Vintage Books.

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MS: Harvard University Press.

Cornell, S. (1988). The return of the Native: American Indian political resurgence. New York: Oxford University Press.

Costin, L.B., Karger, H.J., & Stowez, D. (1996). The politics of child abuse in America. New York: Oxford University Press.

Diamond, J. (1997). Guns, germs, and steel: The fates of human societies. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Dippie, B.W. (1982). The vanishing American: White attitudes and U.S. Indian policy. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.

Dreyfus, H.L. & Rabinow, P. (1983). Michel Foucault: Beyond structuralism and hermeneutics (2nd ed.). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Fleras, A. & Elliot, J. (1992). The ‘nations within': aboriginal-state relations in Canada, the United States, and New Zealand. Toronto, Canada: Oxford University Press.

Foucault, Michel. (1979). Discipline & punish: The birth of the prison. (A. Sheridan, Trans.). New York: Vintage Books. (Original work published 1975)

Hand, C. (1999). Indian child welfare within the context of United States child welfare policies, practices and paradigms: Rescuing children or homogenizing America? Doctor of Philosophy Preliminary Exam Paper 2 – Relevant theoretical literature – Differential power and Indian child welfare. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kritzman, L.D. (1988)(Ed.). Michel Foucault: Politics, philosophy, culture: Interviews and other writings 1977-1984. (A. Sheridan & Others, Trans.) New York: Routledge.

Kuhn, Thomas (1970). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Miley, KK. , O’Melia, M., & DuBois, B.L. (1995). Generalist social work practice: an empowering approach. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Nelson, B.J. (1984). Making an issue of child abuse: political agenda setting for social problems. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Sahlins, M. (1994). Cosmologies of Capitalism: The Trans-Pacific sector of “The World System.” In N.B. Dirks, G. Eley, & S.B. Ortner (Eds), Culture/Power/History: A reader in contemporary social theory, pp. 412-456. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Scheper-Hughes, N. (1992). Death without weeping: the violence of everyday life in Brazil. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Scott, W.R. (1987). Organizations: rational, natural, and open systems. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Snipp, C.M. (1989). American Indians: The first of this land. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Webster’s encyclopedic unabridged dictionary of the English language (1989). New York: Gramercy Books.

Weatherford, J. (1988). Indian givers: How the Indians of the Americas transformed the world. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.

Williams, R. (1994). Selections from Marxism and Literature. In N.B. Dirks, G. Eley, &

Zald, M.N. (1981). Political economy: a framework for comparative analysis. In J. Pfeffer (Ed.), Power in organizations, pp. 221-261. Marshfield, MA: Pitman.

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Gratitude for a Sense of Place

Carol A. Hand

As I sat in the restaurant in my neighborhood Monday, waiting for a lunch meeting for my Neighborhood Project, I was gazing westward through the window. I reflected on the many places I’ve had the good fortune to live and to visit, even though I’ve never traveled abroad. Yet as I looked at the hilly ridge that rings Duluth to the west, creating a long city nestled against Lake Superior to the east, I felt I was where I should be. It felt like I was “home’” at least for now. Grounded in place, I feel it’s important to become involved, to use what I have learned from so many other places – now – here – at home.

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Photo: A view of the ridge from my yard – March 31, 2015

Already I have had an opportunity to meet people who are engaged in exciting initiatives to foster social justice. But it’s not my place to describe those yet. I’m hoping others will agree to share their ideas in their own ways, in forums of their choosing, when they feel it’s time to do so. For now what I can do is keep focused on the tasks of spring, continuing my efforts to write and reclaim a little piece of land that has been neglected for many decades. It may mean that I will post less and my visits to other blogs may be less frequent.

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Photo: a view of Lake Superior from downtown Duluth – April 2, 2015

As I write these words, I send my blessings to those who have lost their land and homes due to earthquakes, volcanoes, storms, warfare and corporate greed. I will keep you in my thoughts and do my best to honor you as my relations by working for peace and social justice from this place where I now stand.

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Breathe Deeply

Carol A. Hand

Breathe deeply. Take a moment for silence to remember why you’re here
In this place, at this time – it will help still your fear.
You’re here for a reason – don’t forget it’s really your choice
To take responsibility for those who suffer and don’t have a voice.

It’s not because those who suffer don’t matter – don’t have important things to say
It’s more likely they don’t feel they’ll be respected so it’s best to stay away.
Let me try again to build a bridge with those in power despite shyness or fear
So they too will breathe deeply and take a moment to remember why we’re all here.

(This was inspired by the second visit I will be making today for the Neighborhood Project I wrote about in The Street Where I Live.)

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Photo – Aerial Lift Bridge, Duluth, MN (Source)

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.