Enduring Legacies Native Case Studies

Discipline

Psychology, Social Work and Sociology

New!Should Tribes Legalize Marijuana?

Author:Amber Seachord and Barbara Leigh Smith

Marijuana legalization has been gaining momentum in the United States in recent years, yet heated controversies continue to surround the issue. The central focus of this case is on the question of whether tribes should legalize marijuana.  The case begins by briefly describing the history of marijuana, what is known about its impact, and the changing policies at the state and federal level. It then discusses the various ways tribes are exploring the “opportunity,” the ways they might become involved in the marijuana business, and the pros and cons of various forms of tribal involvement.  

New!Does Smudging Belong in the Workplace?

Author:Toby Sawyer

This short case describes a conflict among the staff at an urban Indian center about the use of smudging in the workplace. An employee used a smudging ritual to cleanse the office after a hostile client stormed into the center and threatened his ex-wife and the staff. He was subsequently arrested. The center staff is divided about the appropriateness of using smudging in the workplace. The director must make a decision about how to handle the situation.

New!Darkness to Dawn: Columbia River Native Tribes’ Science and Salmon Restoration Success

Author:Brian Footen

From the start of its 1243 mile journey in the Canadian Rockies all the way to the Pacific Ocean, the Columbia River drains the heart, soul and bounty of the Pacific Northwest. In this water is a history of a river and people that goes back 15,000 years. The bountiful water has supplied the world with food and energy. The development of the river for hydro-power and irrigation has played a critical role in modern history. This development, however, has come at great cost to the original inhabitants of the area and the primary resource that they thrived on: the salmon. The Nez Perce, NiMiiPuu, lived in the Columbia River basin for thousands of years. This existence was altered by the arrival of European settlers, and in 1855, the Nez Perce signed a treaty that defined an area over which they had jurisdiction and rights to the resources, including salmon, vital to their culture and survival. Since then salmon populations have declined. Dams and the resulting habitat degradation have had negative impacts on salmon survival. Some populations have been listed as endangered, and policies regarding how these fish are treated have complicated the recovery process. Recent efforts by the Nez Perce tribe, however, have shown that in spite of a mechanized river and political resistance, the river still has enough bounty to bring back a salmon run that was nearly extinct.

New!Your Tribal Land is Not Secure: Traditional Knowledge and Science Face Wildfire in the Valley of the Wild Roses

Author:Linda Moon Stumpff, PhD

Through the discussion of two tribal college students, this case begins an exploration of vulnerability and resilience after repeated and devastating fires as a result of drought and climate change at Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico. The Pueblo holds a rich store of traditional knowledge about the fire-prone ecosystems. This knowledge contributes to restoration efforts after a series of high-severity fires in the Jemez Mountains. Forested lands and wilderness shrines are lost, Santa Clara Creek and watershed suffer from erosion, and much of the Pueblo’s protected lands burned along with Pueblo archeological and cultural sites on public lands. Long ago, the Pueblo created a three zone management system that preserved the upper wild lands as a sacred source of water, protected the middle creek as an ancestral home, and created a homeland supported by sustainable agriculture in the Rio Grande Valley. Deep interviews and discussions with key tribal and western scientists provided sources for a case that explores how western science and Pueblo wisdom converge in interactions to restore around the Pueblo lands model.

New!The Aftermath of Redskins Indian Mascot Decisions: What’s Next?

Author:Gary Arthur

For decades Indian mascot names have been generally regarded as stereotypical and racist. Because of the divisive nature of Native American mascots, school systems from middle school through college level have in the past and are now coming to terms with changing these names. The “Redskins” mascot name is particularly offensive. A number of high schools have dropped the Redskin mascot name, but the decisions, procedures, judgments, and residual effects of change within these school systems and communities differ. What happens after a mascot change and how this impacts communities who for many decades used these names in their school systems is an area that can be as critical as the decision to change itself.

New!What should be displayed? Native arts in museums and on the runways

Author:Melanie King

This case study considers questions of how, what, and where Indigenous arts should be displayed and the responsibility museums and other public institutions have in representing other cultures. This case will also address cultural appropriation seen in popular culture as an extension of the issues created in part by collectors of Native arts in the public and private spheres and the result of divorcing Native objects from their original context. Additionally this case will explore how objections have been met and what this indicates about changing attitudes and values.

Honoring Our Children: Acceptance within the Indian Community

Author:Arviso, Vivian

This case study is about the creation of safe school environments that promote tolerance and diversity in Indian communities. Native students who have a sexual orientation or gender expression which their classmates perceive as different are often subjected to bullying and harassment and many do not complete their educational goals. Sadly, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) students are 30% more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual peers. The Story Problem is situated at a high school where a recent suicide has led an Indian student to take action to create a safe and welcoming place in the school for Indian and non-Indian LGBT students by having a support group. Student organizers hope to eliminate bullying and harassment of all students, affirm traditions and identities as Native peoples, and express acceptance to protect the lives of all students.

New!Whose Story Should Be Told

Author:Barbara Leigh Smith

This case tells the story of controversial murals in a prominent federal building in the historic Federal Triangle district in Washington D.C.  American Indian employees who work in the building, which is now headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency, want the murals removed, saying they perpetuate inaccurate and demeaning stereotypes of Native Americans and create a hostile work environment.  The mural dispute raises issues about the connections between government and the arts and difficult questions about leadership, public policy, stereotypes, historical integrity, civil rights, and cultural politics.  These conflicts illustrate important issues of rights vs interests and the relationship between Native concerns and the so-called “national good.”

New!Wet, Dry, or Damp

Author:Mary T. Weiss

Since before statehood Alaskan communities have been plagued with widespread alcohol related crime, violence, health issues, and death. The “local option” approach to addressing access to alcohol in Alaska became law through Title 4 of the Alaska Statues in 1981. “Local option” communities may exercise a local option to modify the State laws regarding alcohol importation, sales, and possession for their own community. Becoming a “local option” community is voluntary but an overwhelming majority of “local option” communities are rural and have a predominately Native population. In 2009, one of the “local option” communities voted to end its “local option” status. This case study provides a framework to examine the cultural, political, commercial, social, and health issues related to alcohol use in rural Alaska.

New!Is diversity a mask or a bridge? The Indian mascot debate

Author:By Gary Arthur

For decades the Indian Mascot issue has fostered controversy across the land. Middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities and professional athletic organizations have wrestled with the issue. Port Townsend High School in Washington State is one of the schools coming to grips with its mascot name “the Redskins.” The community is in conflict about retaining or retiring the mascot name. Newly appointed Superintendent David Engle is no stranger to the conflict, having seen the same issue in the Edmonds School District where his children attended school. The Port Townsend School Board is determined to create “a fair, mature and respectful process for dealing with the sensitive issue.” This three part case explores the process of attempting to move the discussion of this issue from black and white, toward a deeper understanding of all sides. The case can be used as an interrupted case where each part is read and discussed separately or as a single session case.

Should Indian Sports Mascots Be Repealed?

Author:Gary Arthur

Concerns about racism, a lack of sensitivity to diversity, stereotyping, sexism, oppression, and lack of Native American entitlement make up a partial list of issues raised in connection with the use of Native American mascots. Those who support mascot use contend that these mascots praise the traditions and culture of the Native Americans. Language supporting the monitoring or banishment of Native American (NA) mascot use has been introduced in the courts, in school districts, and in at least one national athletic association. Besides the list of concerns voiced by those who oppose the use of NA mascots, the issue of indigenous peoples being entitled to identify for themselves how symbols of their culture are interpreted seems to be pivotal in dealing with this conflict, and may even be the focal point at which groups can begin to reach some type of understanding or agreement.

Back to the Cradle: Love and Other Relationships

Author:Mary Big Bow, MSW

Do you remember the first time you fell in love? Not those silly seven minutes in heaven games in childhood, but the “tingle in your toes, can't stop smiling, can't eat, can't sleep” kind of falling in love? What an utterly pleasant feeling that makes people smile even decades after the fact. Adolescence is a time of firsts; first hand holding, first kiss, first job, first car, indeed a time of crisis and identity formation. Coupled with the fact that adolescents are at the peak OF(in) their physical fitness, they can eat endlessly, or go without eating for days, can stand extreme heat and cold, and most believe they are immortal contributing to risky behavior. An exciting time in any case.

Adults close to these youths' lives are often perplexed, frustrated, and angry by some of the behaviors exhibited during this transition into adulthood. Parents and caregivers can and do have a positive impact in helping their teen regulate emotions, enter healthy relationships, learn work ethics, experience trust, and develop respect.

A Place to Live, A Place to Heal

Author:Ane Berrett

This case examines out of home placement for Native American Children. It tells the story of a Native American girl and her extended family who are caught in family dynamics resulting from intergenerational trauma. In their attempts to resolve this situation they access the “systems of care” approach and the Indian Child Welfare Act to provide stable after care placement. “Systems of care,” sometimes referred to as “wrap around services,” is a philosophy promoted by the US Department of Health to provide individualized, community based and integrative service. The Indian Child Welfare Act is a federal law that Congress passed in response to the alarmingly high number of Indian children being removed from their homes by both public and private agencies. This case explores how these mental health systems and the Indian Child Welfare Act are challenged and applied in the best interest of a young Native American girl.

Culturally Appropriate, Rigorous Evaluation of Tribal Services: Mount Sanford Tribal Consortium Healthy Relationships Project Evaluation

Author:Terry Cross

This study describes an evaluation of the Mount Sanford Tribal Consortium (MSTC) Healthy Relationships Project undertaken by the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA). MSTC approached NICWA to provide evaluation services for the Healthy Relationships Project when their initial evaluator proved a poor fit and the need for a culturally competent evaluator became evident. When NICWA stepped in to provide MSTC evaluation services, they proposed a new, culturally-appropriate methodology for the process evaluation (providing evidence of completion) and outcome evaluation (examining evidence of worth). The outcome evaluation relied on a mixed method design which included group discussions, surveys, individual interviews, and individual case studies. The process evaluation relied on mixed quantitative and qualitative methods, including: systematic document review, staff and management interviews, on-site observations and participant reaction, and satisfaction surveys and participant and staff interviews. The process evaluation outcomes for the project are described in detail.

Dilemmas and Solutions in Tribal Child Welfare: A Case for Customary Adoption

Author:Terry Cross, Sarah Kastelic, and Kathleen Fox

: This two part case study opens with a fictional example of what life is like for grandparents who are struggling to balance the love of their daughter and the long term safety and wellbeing of their grandchild. Part one examines the challenges that family members might face when they step forward to help and the very real and emotional decisions that have to be made regarding permanency for the long term well being of the child. Part two examines the cultural underpinnings of legal and cultural concepts that underlie permanency. Tribal culture has traditionally placed children whose parents are unable to care for them with relatives and extended family members without severing the bonds of kinship and love between parent and child. However, in modern times, in order for adoptive homes to be recognized by state and federal funding and child welfare authorities, termination of parental rights (TPR) has been required. Most tribes reject termination of parental rights culturally, and many have had solely negative histories with foster care and adoption such that they shun the concept. Some have taken the initiative to create their own versions of adoption based in their traditions.

Systems of Care in Tribal Communities

Author:Amanda Cross-Hemmer

This case explores the complexity of serving Native American children with severe emotional disturbances (SED). Part I examines the prevalence of mental health problems in Native American children and adolescents and the availability of appropriate mental health services in American Indian communities. The movement toward a system of care model for treatment of SED, where fractured services are weaved together to more effectively serve children with serious mental health needs in resource-challenged environments, is also described. Part I tells the story of the development and implementation of the Circles of Care program, which allowed tribes and tribal organizations to create plans for culturally appropriate systems of care. In Part II, the case concludes with two fictional examples of what life is like for a family with a child experiencing a SED.

Whose Rights Count? Confronting Violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act

Author:Terry Cross and Sarah Kastelic

This case explores the historical and ongoing need to keep American Indian/Alaska Native children protected in their families and communities whenever possible. Part I is a real life child custody scenario that involved the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. It illustrates the need for and provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA). Part II provides a policy context for the scenario, summarizing the impetus for ICWA and key provisions, including: eligibility (when ICWA applies), tribal notification, tribal jurisdiction, and placement preferences. The case closes with steps to take if ICWA is not being properly followed in an eligible child custody case.

Exercising Tribal Sovereignty Through Sports: Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse

Author:Sarah S Works, J.D.

This case examines the concept of citizenship for individual members of sovereign Native Nations located within the exterior boundaries of the Unites States of America. This case illustrates the complexities associated with the exercise of sovereign powers regarding tribal citizenship, especially in the context of international travel. Specifically, this case presents the controversial decision of the British government in the summer of 2010 to deny travel visas to members of the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team who were trying to travel to from the United States to Manchester, England for the world championship lacrosse tournament.

skwadi’lic, Board Feet, and the Cedar Tree

Author:Kurt W. Russo, PhD

This case examines the way in which cultural frames of reference influence our perspective on what constitutes real and true knowledge of nature. The case provides a description of the aboriginal landscape of the Lummi Indians of Washington State that gave rise to and sustained their unique social imaginary and lifeway. The case then examines how the Lummi Indians have worked to protect the remaining old-forests that are integral to their cultural traditions. The case brings to light two main points: 1) how values and perceptions influence the interpretation of this information by land management agencies and 2) how values and perceptions are shaped—or marginalized—by culturally determined frames of references.

Who But the Smallest: Our Future in the Hands of Children

Author:Mary Big Bow, MSW

This case study reflects the cycle of historical and generational trauma and how it is particularly devastating to oppressed ethnic groups. It also demonstrates the potential role for helping professions such as social workers to implement cultural identity and traditions to interrupt the cycle. The sessions are created to identify, explain, analyze historical and generational trauma, and discuss how knowledge gained can help develop new perspectives and approaches to dealing with the manifestations of historical trauma.

Indian Interrupted: The Story of an Indigenous Man

Author:Ane Berrett

The development of a “self” is an on-going and lifetime process. This case study examines the story of a Native American man, cut off from his land, his culture and his people of origin. It explores the negotiation of his native identity through the lens of Erikson’s developmental stages and the impacts of “Indian identity interrupted.” It explores the bio-psycho-social impacts of trauma as they relate to the fracture of identity and strategies for healing.

Housing in Indian Country

Author:Marchand-Cecil, Cindy

Housing shortages are a critical issue that impact Indian people. Traditional housing loans are difficult, if not impossible, to obtain because Indian reservations because financial institutions, as a rule, cannot secure their loans through deeds to property on federal trust lands. Because of this, most reservations must rely solely upon federal funding for public housing. As a result of this and considerable migration back to tribal communities, most reservations experience an extreme shortage of homes that meet federal housing quality standards. Through this case, students can explore ways that tribes can advocate to revise polices and enhance existing structures that result in developing vibrant, healthy communities for Indian people.

The Will of the People: Citizenship in the Osage Nation

Author:Dennison, Jean, University of Florida

This teaching case tells the story of Tony, one of nine Osage government reform commissioners placed in charge of determining the "will of the people" in reforming the government of the Osage Nation. Because of Congressional law the Osage Nation had been forced into an alien form of government for a hundred years. Recent legislation has reversed this and has recognized the Osage Nation's sovereign right to determine its own citizenship and form of government. As part of this case, students will analyze the highly charged debates over citizenship that took place during Osage community meetings. From these perspectives students will be asked to write referendum questions covering the central issues at stake with Osage citizenship. This case provides an opportunity for students to explore a range of issues including American Indian citizenship and sovereignty, the power and danger inherent in racial identity, and the process of community-based reform.

Indian Identity in the Arts

Author:Kuckkahn, Tina

This case examines questions relating to the issues of Indian identity within the field of Native arts, both in terms of the creation of art and Native arts administration. The case looks at the Indian Arts and Craft Act of 1990 and the impact of the application of the law to Indian artists and Native arts service organizations. The question of "who is an Indian artist?" as defined by the Indian Arts and Crafts Act has legal, cultural and community implications. The question of "what is Indian art?" has many implications for the field of indigenous art and comprises a wide range of viewpoints.