Tamara E. Kiernan

New England College Henniker, New Hampshire
Author Note
Tamara E. Kiernan, Department of Mental Health Counseling, New England College
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Tamara Kiernan
212 Temple Avenue Old Orchard Beach, Maine 04064
Email:[email protected]
Table of Contents
Abstract 3
Chapter One 6
1.0 Introduction 6
1.1 Background 6
1.2 Research Problem 7
1.3 Research Aims and Objectives 8
1.4 Significant of the Study 9
Chapter Two 10
2.0 Literature Review 10
2.1 Mohegan Cultural History: An Overview 10
2.2 Mental Health Professionals in Cultural Competency: A Literature Review 11
2.3 Issues with the Counselor`s Culture 16
2.4 The Client`s Culture 17
2.5 The Ethical Dilemma of a Multicultural Counselor 18
2.6 The Multicultural Cross-Cultural Approach in Counseling and in Assisting Professions 23
2.7 Movement toward Multicultural Counseling Competencies 26
2.8 Criticisms on the Multicultural Counseling Competencies Model 28
2.9 Health Counseling & Native American Cultural Practices 29
2.10 Mental Health Care Cultural Competencies 29
1.11 Barriers in Counseling Treatment 31
2.12 Cultural Beliefs & Health Service 32
2.13 Effectiveness of Human Service Agencies 33
2.14 Measuring the Effectiveness of Mental Health Care Systems 34
Chapter Three 36
3.0 Methodology 36
3.1 Introduction 36
3.2 Data Collection and Questionnaire Design 37
3.3 Reliability and Validity 39
Chapter Four 40
4.0 Findings 40
4.1 Introduction 40
4.2 Findings of the General Information 40
Chapter Five 58
5.0 Discussion and Conclusion 58
5.1 Discussion 58
5.2 Conclusion 59
References 61
Appendix 72
The research on multiculturalism has concentrated on the Native American Indians as a single uniform population. This view has been unsuccessful as a result of differences that exist by affiliation and in geographical context. The rural approach of embracing cultural heritage may be different from the lifestyles of the Native American Indians living in urban areas. This disparity may also show in the care and consideration of elders within rural Native American Indian people.
Though this research paper is not a thorough analysis of all tribal spiritual systems, the aim of this study is to raise awareness and understanding in counseling competencies. As a result, it explores the individual traits entrenched in the Mohegan culture. These cultural traits may be transferable to conventional counseling for inclusion in a multicultural and tribal environment. Cultural traditions have a deep influence over socially acceptable behavior, as these practices have been transferred from over generations. Tribal social compositions affect vast field that includes critical behaviors. A marked aspect of the Mohegan people is the significance of extended family in decision making and social behaviors. The extended family has a strong influence over its members. Moreover, tribal societies are multifaceted challenge that provides traditional counselors with a prospect to study different strategies and its possible advantages for prospective future Native American clients.
The counselors and other community caregivers consider the Native American populations from a stereotypical, uniform population instead of recognizing that within the modern framework of rural, urban, suburban and reservation environments holds diverse people from various communities and tribal affiliations, each having their distinctive sets of difficulties and requirements. This does only put predicaments in the delivery of required services, but it gives a message that is unsuccessful to endorse diversity in research studies founded on both affiliation and geographic realities. It is time to research on the aspects related to how the Native American Indians facing cultural issues in public organizations and rural frameworks for counseling agencies.
Chapter One
1.0 Introduction
1.1 Background
The earliest clan of the Delaware Tribe included the Wolf Clan, now known as the Mohegan Nation. They had originally settled in the upper Hudson River Valley near Lake Champlain, New York after emigrating from the Delaware area. They then relocated to Connecticut around the 1500`s. Later, this group was known as the Mohegan Tribe (The Mohegan Tribe, 2009a). Originally, the Mohegan Tribe was part of the Pequot Nation, but this was changed in the early seventeenth century. In the 1600`s, pressure from rapidly expanding European settlements created competition for land and resources, while disease was decimating Indian populations at an alarming rate (The Mohegan Tribe, 2009b). In addition, during this period, there was intertribal conflict between the neighboring Sachems, (Pequot) Sachem Sassacus and (Mohegan) Sachem Uncas, who were quarrelling on how to handle the European encroachment on tribal territories.
The Mohegan Tribe utilized many natural resources to provide food for their families. Natural resources, such as lakes, rivers, forests, and oceans provided their food and raw material (Waldman, 2006). As noted from Rasmussen (2000), there was nothing absolutely that was wasted from utilizing natural resources. When the Mohegan tribe members would hunt animals, every part of the animal was utilized. This would include the meat, bones, hides and teeth of the animal. The Mohegan women would plant crops and the men would hunt wild animals. The traditional housing for the Mohegan Tribe members in the seventeenth century was a wigwam made from the hides procured during hunting. Tribe members of today live independently on land belonging to the Mohegan Nation in more contemporary American housing units (The Mohegan Tribe, 2009b).
It is worth noting that, the European settlers brought diseases and took lands from many Native American tribes. One of these tribes was the Mohegan Tribe. Many tribe members were captured, tortured, murdered, or sold as slaves. As a result, many Mohegan members fled to the Caribbean Island to avoid persecution. Two of the Northeastern tribes had ways of dealing with European settlers. The Mohegan Tribe chose peacefully to collaborate with the English settlers, while the Pequot Tribe chose to fight the white settlers (The Mohegan Tribe, 2009b). Many white settlers stole their land and the rest was taken from this indigenous tribe of the Northeast. Individuals in society do not understand how or why people become oppressed.
1.2 Research Problem
There are some Native Americans who practice traditional ways of the tribe and others don`t practice. Some of the issues within the Mohegan tribe relates to classism within the tribe. There are issues of acculturation within the tribe. This could possibly be due to status and gender roles. Members of the tribe that had a sense of belonging and security are able to form an interdependent system (Derald and David, 2011). Status and rewards are obtained by adhering to tribal structure. The family structure varies from matriarchal structure, as each tribe is distinct.
Over sixty percent of American Indians are of mixed heritage, where some of them have black, white, and Hispanic background (Derald and David, 2011). Some American Indian values are sharing and giving of material goods among others. In general, most Native Americans earn enough money and may stop working to spend time with the family and attend ceremonial activities. Wealth is not a priority amongst the native population, thus meaning that there is enough money to provide for the family. Celebration and traditions are a high priority within the Native American culture. American Indians are less punitive to their children than other parents from other ethnic groups. Due to years of being oppressed, it is not uncommon for Native Americans to have issues of suicide, health, domestic violence, addiction and self-esteem issues (Derald and David, 2011).
1.3 Research Aims and Objectives
This research paper will discuss issues of oppression within the Mohegan tribe and cultural differences in working with the Mohegan tribe. This research paper will help mental health professionals to get an understanding of practices, traditions, and an understanding of the mental health system from the eyes of Mohegan tribe members. This research study is a narrative inquiry. This study will be restricted to members of the Mohegan Tribe exclusively. Other tribes may be mentioned to give a brief history of tribes in surrounding areas or the nations surrounding tribes of the Northeast. As a narrative study, this research will focus on traditions, cultural differences, and practices in relation to the live experience within their tribe. Their experiences of the health and mental health system will also be discussed. Due to differences in acculturation approaches that might be appropriate for a particular individual might not be appropriate for all Indians. An example of this is a therapeutic process and goals appropriate for Native Americans living in a rural reservation may be different from other Native Americans living in an urban area. An American Indian with traditional orientation may have different expectations of the dominant culture.
1.4 Significant of the Study
It is important to explore ethnic differences and values. Moreover, this research is important due to approaches in working with Mohegan Tribe members is different from traditional approaches in the mental health field. It is important to be aware of biases and how this will hinder the counseling relationship and in the development of treatment goals. It is very important for a clinician to determine the cultural identity of the client, as well as their association within a tribe.
Many Native Americans are distrustful of agencies. This is due to their history of oppression (Derald and David, 2011). It is important for a clinician to actively listen and identify nonverbal cues. Patience is very important and a client centered approach is important initially. It is always important to assess the problem from the active perspective of the individual, family, or extended family. Native Americans often have extended family members. It is important for this study to learn how the members feel about me coming into their space. I will be aware that I am a guest and need to respectful, and learn the ways of the Mohegan tribe. Part of this study will be observing Mohegan traditions at a Pow Wow at Fort Shantok on August 18-19, 2012 in Uncasville, Connecticut. Another phase of the research will involve confidential interviews at the home of 4 members of the Mohegan tribe.
Chapter Two
2.0 Literature Review
2.1 Mohegan Cultural History: An Overview
The Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut, USA had a critical time in the 16[th] century AD under the rules of the Europeans. During this period, the Europeans started to expand all over the region that resulted in the creation of various conflicts and competition for land. At the same time, many diseases were extended as a result of virus by these Europeans who lived in the lands of the tribes. The Mohegan tribes were killed at a great speed and the majority of these tribal members were left with either parent alive or dead. An enmity soon occurred between the tribe of the Pequot Sachem Sassacus and that of the Uncas. The Uncas dubbed themselves as the Mohegan, which meant “Wolf People”. The tribes that appeared soon had diverse viewpoints as to how to deal with the European conflicts.
Later, the Uncas was identified as the Sachem of the Mohegan Tribe. This tribe supported the English colonists. The Pequots who were ruled by the Sassacus decided to engage in war with the tribe whilst the other tribes switched to various sides. The Uncas developed cordial relationship with the Europeans, and as such had much knowledge about the location of the European invaders. The Uncas` friendly relationship with the European invaders became a thorny issue with the other tribes of the regions. The other tribes were of the view that, the Uncas had sold their Indian nationality to the Europeans by supporting them. The Uncas even assisted the Europeans defeating the Pequots.
The Uncas later inhabited a village known as the Shantok. It was in that place that many tribes supported themselves from the Narragansett attack as began by the Europeans. It was, on the other hand, the Unca`s relationship with the Europeans that resulted in safety during the war that prompted in the years that ensued.
The Mohegan tribe is rich with mores that inspired by the excitement in the tribal territories. The culture, symbols and the civilization are what connected the tribe to their history and their predecessors. The repression of the tribal people created the loss of the civilization. Nevertheless, it became impossible for many tribal members to keep alive their traditions despite the great endeavors. One of the most popular tribal festivals celebrated by the Mohegan Tribe is that of the Wigwam, also known as the Green Corn Festival. It is observed by the Mohegans long time prior to the coming of the European settlers. The yearly Wigwam festival is considered as one of the most popular festivals in the history of the tribe. It is the Corn Thanksgiving in which the Mohegan tribe showed thanks to the blessing that they were granted. At present, their business undertakings keep them lively and energetic.
2.2 Mental Health Professionals in Cultural Competency
The multicultural competencies are rooted in the incompetency of certified moral rules as to keep high levels of business activities in the field of counseling. Delgado-Romero (2003) explained how these concerns of multicultural competencies integrate with both mandatory behaviors and operational objectives for culture focused counseling .The mainstream studies on multicultural competencies has concentrated has highlighted awareness, knowledge and skill. This developmental sequence of multicultural competencies starts with “awareness” of culturally educated presumptions, then on “knowledge” concerning culturally pertinent data, and lastly on “skill” for culturally suitable programs. These competencies are founded on the studies carried out by Sue et al. (1982) Sue, Arredondo, & McDavis (1992) Arredondo et al. (1996) Pope-Davis and Coleman (1997) and Sue et al. (1998). Dunn et al (2006), put forward a good analysis of how various competencies are assessed in the future studies.
Those multicultural training programs that are deficient of a balance of awareness, knowledge, and skill have failed for the given reasons. Some programs exaggerate “awareness” aims, hence making participants clearly susceptible to their own drawbacks or the inequalities around them. The learners who overindulge on awareness are disappointed for the reason that they do not know what to do with their new awareness without knowledge and skill. Some programs give unnecessary emphasis to the sole significance of factual knowledge and data through speeches, readings, and information. Without awareness, the learners cannot see the application of that data or how it could be utilized with skill. Some programs overstress skill aims without caring for the underlying principles of awareness and knowledge. These participants do not know if they are on the right course. All the three features of awareness, knowledge, and skill are needed for a rational perception of competence. The multicultural competences improve moral principle or “ethical reasoning” as an option to blind “rule following” (Ford, 2006).
Pedersen (2000) terms it as an outline for persons or groups to raise their competences using a 4-step training program. The first step in creating multicultural competence needs assessment of awareness, knowledge, and skill. Evaluating the level of awareness necessitates the capability to precisely assess a situation from one`s own and also from the other`s cultural standpoint. To become cognizant with the presumptions being made about the other culture is considered as a good example of awareness. If awareness assists the learner in asking right questions, then knowledge is helpful in getting the correct answer to those questions. Improved knowledge and data would spell out the options, and as a result, it would remove the vagueness of a situation.
Learning the language of another culture is also a good instance of how improved knowledge is significant. Evaluating the level of skill is the third stage that needs assessment. This entails the assessment of what the learner can already do. If there is a lack of awareness knowledge, the learners will have a hard time to become skillful. On the other hand, if awareness is deficient, then wrong presumptions are expected, and if knowledge is deficient, then proper comprehension is endangered.
The second stage of creating multicultural competence is to find out particular aims and objectives of the awareness, knowledge, and skill levels. An awareness objective alters the person`s behaviors, views, and individual outlooks regarding a topic. The main need might be to assist a group identify its own orthodox views and standpoints. In recognizing objectives for improved knowledge, the focus should be on enhancing the amount of precise data available. The learners can then test their new presumptions against the validity of these facts and information in order to improve knowledge that will enhance learners` awareness. In recognizing the objectives for improving the skill, motivation is on the capabilities showing what the learner can now do with the earlier acquired awareness and knowledge. If awareness has been ignored, the learners might build their plans on wrong presumptions. If knowledge has been ignored, the learners may understand the culture wrongly.
The methods to improve awareness might comprise of different experiential exercises. Teaching awareness generally depends more on experimental exercises that directly oppose the person`s presumptions. The methods to get improved knowledge usually rely on books, lectures, or classroom methods. Guided self-study is a useful approach with members of all the cultures taking part. The methods to improve skills generally depend on modeling and displays of specific behaviors or activities (Pedersen, 2005). Supervision becomes particularly significant in educational skills in other culture. The potential to perform new skills and behaviors would cause improved multicultural competencies. The last step of the training sequence is to assess whether the individuals have fulfilled the declared aims concerning awareness, knowledge, and skill competencies. This might comprise of “formative” assessment concerning the declared objectives in the interim, and it may comprise of “summative” assessment, which establishes where those declared aims were found suitable in the long run.
Pope-Davis and Dings (1995) offer the best discussion of the studies supporting these multicultural competencies. There are four different steps that had been developed to evaluate the competencies of multicultural awareness, knowledge, and skill. The Cross-Cultural Counseling Inventory – Revised known as CCCI-R, by LaFromboise, Coleman, and Hernandez (1991), facilitates a manager to evaluate the counselor on 20 Likert scale items. This method assesses knowledge that exceeds the awareness. The Multicultural Awareness-Knowledge-Skill Survey (D`Andrea, Daniels, & Heck, 1991) comprises of three 20-item scales to assess awareness, knowledge, and skills that are helpful for assessing students in multicultural courses structured around the awareness, knowledge and skill outline. The Multicultural Counseling Awareness Scale-B, as explained by Ponterotto, Reiger, Barrett, and Sparks (1994), comprises of two subscales. The Multicultural Counseling Inventory (MCI), as proposed by Sodowsky, Taffe, Gutkin, and Wise (1994), holds 4 factors namely skills, awareness, knowledge, and the counseling relationship. The benefit of the MCI is that, it incorporates the relationship factor, and items that explain behaviors rather than views. The multicultural competencies are conditional on having a culture-focused theory as their basis.
The decisive multicultural theory is founded on a contextual knowledge of psychology. In accordance to Segall, Dasen, Berry, and Poortinga (1990),”There might come a time when we will no longer speak of cross-cultural psychology as such. The basic premise of this field — that to understand human behavior, we must study its social, cultural and context, as it might become so widely accepted that all psychology will be inherently cultural”
A culture-focused view that was developed as a result of the awareness-knowledge-skill outline was a list of proposals regarding “multicultural theory” (MCT) (Sue, Ivey, & Pedersen, 1996). Following are the six propositions that show the major points of culture-centered views:
1. Each Western or non-Western theory symbolizes a diverse viewpoint.
2. The multifaceted totality of interrelationships in the client-counselor skills and the dynamic shifting framework must be the motivation of counseling, irrespective of inconvenience that may create.
3. The counselors` or clients` racial/cultural identities would impact as how problems are delineated and dictated for suitable counseling objectives or processes.
4. The final goal of a culture-focused approach is to increase the range of helping responses accessible to the counselors.
5. The traditional roles of counselors are only some of the many options accessible from various cultural frameworks.
6. MCT gives stress to the significance of developing awareness in a contextual orientation.
In view of the fact these MCT propositions are examined in practice, they would raise new issues regarding ethical rules that are more important to multicultural frameworks.
2.3 Issues with the Counselor`s Culture
A key assumption regarding culturally efficient counseling and psychotherapy is that people have the capability to recognize their own basic tendencies, the ways in which they have an understanding of other cultures, and the limitations of their culture comprehension. It is vital to understand the individual cultural tradition and the worldview prior to undertaking the understanding of another culture (Lauver, 1986). This perception of another culture comprises of an awareness of one`s own thoughts of life and capacities, a comprehension of various structures of logic, and a good perception of their impacts on one`s communication and helping approach (Ibrahim, 1985). Otherwise, a deficiency of such understanding may create hurdles in the effective programs (McKenzie, 1986).
An important aspect of the self-awareness is the recognition that the “counselor culture” has as its nucleus a set of white cultural values and standards through which customers are evaluated (Katz, 1985 Lauver, 1986). This acculturation is at the same time general, professional, and individual (Lauver, 1986). Fundamental presumptions regarding a cultural group, personal models or racial discrimination, and long-established counseling models are generally compliance to white culture. Recognition of explicit white cultural values and their effect on counseling would definitely assist in countering the effects of this outline (Katz, 1985).
Compliance to a particular counseling theory or procedure may also narrow the achievements of counseling. A lot of cultural groups do not concur with the implicit values as delineated by methods, and as such do not hold the counselor`s expectations for the behavior or consequence of the counseling session. To remove these disparities, successful counselors must undertake an investigation of their clients` cultural background and hold flexible definitions of the “appropriate” or “correct” behaviors (LaFromboise, 1985).
Hitherto, another counseling predicament is language. It can be considered as a major obstacle to successful multicultural counseling and evaluation (Romero, 1985). Language problems give rise to various obstacles in the counseling process when clients cannot show the complexity of their views and outlooks or oppose deliberating effectively inspired concerns. Counselors, similarly, may become disappointed by their lack of bilingual skills. As well, language barriers may cause misdiagnosis and improper placement (Romero, 1985).
2.4 The Client`s Culture
As counselors blend a better awareness of their clients` culture into their theory and practice, they must understand that, in the past, cultural disparities have been considered as a disadvantageous (Romero, 1985). Compliance to white cultural values has given rise to a naive obligation of strictly delineated standard for normality on culturally different people. Multicultural counseling, nevertheless, looks for rectifying this inequity by recognizing the cultural multiplicity, supporting the value of the culture and utilizing it to help the customer.
Darou (1987) discussed at length of counseling and observes that counseling was considered as cultural prejudice when it did not possess native standards. These standards are namely collaborating, concreteness, and lack of interference, reverence for elders, and the trend to organize by space rather than time, and observing the land as a living, not a dead, object.
Bernal and Flores-Ortiz (1982) draws attention to the fact that Latin cultures consider the family ties as the key source of support for its members. Any hint that the family is not meeting the required standards and obligations can entail humiliation, added stress, and a greater disinclination to seek professional services. Engaging the family in treatment would most probably guarantee successful counseling results with the ethnic Latinos.
2.5 The Ethical Dilemma of a Multicultural Counselor
The ethical dilemma of multicultural counselors takes place when the counselors are forced to decide between doing the right thing, or ethically or changing the professional ethical rules, on one hand, or following the professional ethical guidelines and as well as ignoring the clients` cultural framework (Pedersen & Marsella, 1982). This predicament has been stressed in a trend towards ethical awareness in culture-focused counseling arising from various demographic alterations supporting minority groups, improved visibility of ethnic minorities and demands by civil rights and human rights activists all over the world, as well as the economic motivations to attract minority customers (Casas, 1984).
All professional organizations experience the same complexities. Rules of ethics of the leading counseling organizations are proposed by Thomson Higher Education (2007) for evaluation. Nevertheless, the websites for all pertinent professional counseling rules are accessible (Ivey, 2003).
Ridley, Liddle, Hill, and Li (2001) elucidate how the predicament arises from a generalization of difficulty in the present professional guidelines. The universal “moral” issues are mistaken with the situational “ethical” guidelines, the provider`s own ethical view is generally vague, and the decision-making procedure is generally puzzling. They offer an ethical decision-making model founded on stages and procedures, offering precision to the “goodness of fit” amongst all parties in ethical decision making by contextualizing general ethical values. The general ethical outlooks consist of absolutism, where the decision is done in line with absolute principles relativism, where the decision is taken in accordance to the traditional policies consequentialism, where the decision is founded on good or bad effects and intentionalism, where the decision is made in accordance with the good or bad intentions of the performer.
In fact, motivation on external force to enforce ethical directives, Trimble and Fisher (2006b) delves into the internal resources like “trust” and “respect” as an essential condition for a “goodness of fit” between the benefit of providers, customers and the community. The stress is not on moral actions, but on upright persons. Righteousness is not just something people do, but something they are “It is the virtuous person that creates good acts, not good acts that add up to a virtuous person” (Boeree, 1999, p. 5). Trimble and Mohatt (2006) continue to explain discretion, honesty, respectfulness, kindness, reliability, and respect as the ethical rules. Without these inner resources as a basis, the implementation of ethical behavior is expected to be unsuccessful. This becomes a predicament when the external forces suggest an action that differs from virtue-motivated internal resources, which might generally take place in multicultural circumstances. This view makes the task of moral decision making particularly difficulty in a multicultural framework. Both parties may have a belief in the same qualities, but differ on the suitable behavior to explain those merits. In such circumstances, the viewpoints and principles need to be identified independently from the culturally learned behaviors utilized to explain those viewpoints and principles in each specific cultural framework. If two people have the same beliefs and values, there should be a common basis for discussion and negotiation, although their activities are quite different.
Herlihy and Corey (1996) discriminate between compulsory ethics, which implies operation in line with minimum legal standards, and aspirational ethics, which signifies to operate at an advanced standard according to the force behind the factual meaning of the rule. As such, fundamental values are recognized while understanding that various cultures may explain those principles through their own diverse culturally learned behaviors. Jordan and Meara (1990) discriminated between principle ethics, which concentrate on rational, objective, universal, and neutral principle compulsory activities and options as well as and virtue ethics, which concentrate on the counselor`s motivations, objectives, temperament, and moral perception that identify the need to explain principles in a different way in each cultural framework.
Houser et al. (2006) propose a hermeneutic outline to prove the significance of contextual issues in ethical judgment. Ford (2006) similarly considers that, ethical issues in counseling should be more grounded in the framework of philosophical methods to consider ethics as a substitute to abstract, code-based legalistic discussions regarding moral issues.
The risk of any ethical code is that, it might implement the ethical standards of the group in command (Opotow, 1990). A reasonable and impartial rule of ethics requires doing more than show the cultural principles of those who lay down the codes. Kitchner (1984) explained four of the basic ethical principles that offer a basis for the moral code of counselors as autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and fairness. These principles are supposed to be generally respected irrespective of the cultural framework. Autonomy denotes the clients` power of autonomy. Beneficence refers to actions that promote the growth and growth of the customer. Nonmaleficence signifies abstaining from harming customers. Justice or equality implies equal dealing with all people. Whilst all customers and counselors may trust in these four psychological principles, however these general principles are defined in different ways in each cultural outline (Pedersen, 1995).
Toporek and Williams (2006) studied ethical records by professional organizations to study their prospects to instruct counselors towards social justice in their judgments and noted a need for clearer guidance. “For counseling psychology to truly demonstrate a commitment to positive social change, ethical codes and guidelines should reflect the issues inherent in this work. Related professions, organizations and specializations historically centralize social justice should be considered as resources in the pursuit of more relevant guidelines” (p. 32).
Welfel (2006) identified particular limitations and generalizations in professional rules of ethics and features of multicultural ethical judgments not yet tackled by those rules. “Its central theme is ethics requires counselors to break free from cultural encapsulation and develop a set of competencies and commitments for productive work with diverse populations” (p. 223). Supporters of the ethical code claim that the problem is not with the rules however with their explanation. If the problem is not the values however their suitable application actually, then this should be described in the standard of education and training. This pattern suggests a “uniform” perspective of psychology generally and counseling especially.
Corey, Corey, and Callanan (2007) state all of the modern therapeutic models need to identify the cultural frameworks in which attitudes are learned and shown. Each therapy — and each ethical code — would show the principles of its cultural framework. This statement appears to imply that each Western-based rule of ethics is founded on a tendency for individualism rather than collectivism as is popular all over the world. Individualism relates to societies in which everybody is expected to take care of themselves, whilst collectivism relates to societies in which people are incorporated into interconnected groups and such relationships safeguard the members of the group in lieu of their allegiance.
A detailed code of ethics necessitates to be respected in both individual and collectivistic cultural frameworks. If that is not feasible, the code of ethics as a minimum requires making its reliance on individualistic principles unambiguous for the advantage of those who do not hold the assumption regarding the significance of the individual against the group. Corey et al. (2007) explain a useful test of multicultural effectiveness in making ethical judgments. “When counselors are overly self-conscious about their ability to work with diverse client populations, they may become too analytical about what they say and do. Counselors who are afraid to face the differences between themselves and their clients, who refuse to accept the reality of those differences, who perceive such differences as problematic, or who are uncomfortable working out these differences are likely to fail” (p. 136).
Kendler (1993) explained the predicament faced by the profession as “Natural science psychology, to be successful, must abandon two seductive myths: (1) Psychology is able to identify ethical principles that should guide humankind and (2) the logical gap between is and ought to can be bridged by empirical evidence” (p.1052). In contrast, psychology can assist in identifying the culturally different empirical outcomes of various policy options and as a result assist counselors make well-educated judgments.
There is an inclination of modern professional ethical rules for the counselors give stress to the responsibility of individual counselors for “obeying the rules” as delineated in the ethical rules rather than educate the counselors to “think morally.” The disparities between the cultural outline in which ethical codes were created and the multicultural frameworks where they are being related generate a critical incongruity. This incongruity has caused various patterns of implicit cultural biases that necessitate the counselor to decide between being moral, on one hand, and obeying the rules, on the other.
2.6 The Multicultural Cross-Cultural Approach in Counseling and in Assisting Professions
Pedersen (1991) is considered as the trendsetter in the counseling profession, who introduced multiculturalism as the fourth strength of counseling and of assistance to professions generally although it would be more suitable to term it as the fourth dimension since all help occurs inside a cultural framework. Professionals in this subject think that multiculturalism should incorporate the disparities founded on religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic aspects, age factor, sex, physical disabilities and even levels of cultural assimilation (Sue, Ivey, & Pedersen, 1996).
Those analysts who support the multicultural model propose that it supplements the psychodynamic, conductivist and humanistic model since these denote mainly to the intra-psychic aspects that impact human growth, and they allow the study of cultural impacts to sociologists and anthropologists. The multicultural activism suggests the occurrence of various approaches. It resembles social constructionism in which the methods and implications of truth are created as a result of social relationships and to constructivism, specifically, how personal realities are created. The presumptions on which it is founded should be recognized and their traits delineated. In accordance with a postmodern philosophy of science, the following five presumptions can be found in multiculturalism:
1. Multiculturalism recognizes the occurrence of various outlooks, none of which are judged as good or bad, correct or incorrect.
2. It entails social constructionism, in which people create their own worlds using social procedures like historical, cultural and social events which contain cultural symbols and descriptions.
3. It is contextualistic as its performances can only be recognized within the framework in which it occurs. This defies the psychology and counseling theories that come about of a particular cultural outline.
4. It presents various methods to the world since each outlook holds a dissimilar, applicable approach.
5. It supports a relational sense for language in place of just a figurative one, since the language has a high relationship with culture and the view of the reality. The relational approach facilitates the truths and realities to be noted past western scientific practices
In accordance to Sue et al (1998), the following characteristics can be noted in multiculturalism
* It stresses cultural pluralism, giving significance to the value of diversity.
* It is a case of social justice, cultural democracy and fair play.
* It assists people to gain various viewpoints, knowledge and skills that are vital for working successfully in a democratic, pluralistic society and for interrelationships, negotiations and discussions with people from various environments.
* It is above race, class, sex and ethnicity, and incorporates a variety of religions, national backgrounds, sexual orientation, skills and disabilities, age, geographic origin, etc.
* It appreciates the role and contributions of the culture and that of others.
* It is a vital component of investigative concepts.
* It appreciates and values other methods, although is not unbiased to values, hence implying a dedication towards shifting social environments.
* It introduces change on an individual, organizational and social stage.
* It involves tension, dissatisfaction and a motivation to deal with matters with openness.
* It implies affirmative individual, community and social achievements since it appreciates inclusion, cooperation and movement towards the realization of objectives.
Given the traditional anthropological approach, the major paradigms of culture, group, ethnic group, sub-culture, minority or eccentricity are identified nevertheless the various methods entail relationships are incorporated, giving stress to the interactive methods amongst diverse cultures.
The sociological approach is deliberated as a result of its contribution to the establishments of cultural, social and individual traits and the models which elucidate social relationships in various groups. Nevertheless, an attempt is made to clear the dichotomy between divergence and socio-psychological models by means of the structural/functional model based on the notion of a system as a set of interlinked components.
As regards, the psychological approach, stress is given not only on the contribution of culture in the generation and development of learners` perceptions by applying the interiorization of cultural channels and also by the activities of teachers and students which are significant for the latter.
The pedagogical model incorporates the characteristics of people and groups that are as a consequence of dynamic choice and not rigid features related to classifications of students. Students` troubles are not only supported by their socio-cultural problems. It is significant to integrate the composition and to support relationships between the teacher and students from different cultures.
2.7 Movement toward Multicultural Counseling Competencies
Whilst the US population continues to expand, the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS 1999, 2001) reports showed disparities in mental health services for ethnic minorities. Ethnic minorities are less probable to have access to and get mental health services, generally get a poorer quality of services, and are marginalized in mental health research (DHHS, 2001). As well, various racial minorities face a greater number of disabilities in contrast to European Americans (Smart & Smart, 1997). Disability and fatal ailments generally exist with mental ailments for example depression and nervousness (Bairey-Merz et al., 2002 Falvo, 2005 Penninx et al., 2001), requiring the need for clinicians` skill in dealing with mental health issues of minority customers affected by disabilities. Nevertheless, a lot of medical professionals are ill-prepared to help ethnically diverse populations (DHHS, 2001) and to tackle disability-related issues in therapy (Kemp & Mallinckrodt, 1996 Sue & Sue, 2003). In view of the continuous mental health service discrepancies, a need for clinician cultural skills creates a major problem that necessitates to be taken in hand in the counseling profession. As a result of the key contribution that training programs can perform in improving the cultural competency of medical professionals, DHHS (2001) suggested that training programs take in hand the effects of culture on mental health and mental health services with the aim of implementing culturally responsive services for marginal ethnic people.
For the last few decades, the counseling profession has given stress to the multicultural counseling training, which has become an essential feature of counselor education (Ridley, Mendoza, & Kanitz, 1994). Sue et al (1992 1982) position papers suggested a tripartite conceptualization of multicultural counseling skills became a leading force in that period when multicultural counseling got major attention in the field. The tripartite model proposed by (Sue et al., 1982, 1992) has three characters namely awareness, knowledge, and skills. The awareness aspect denotes to counselor awareness of one`s own worldview and cultural prejudices. Multicultural knowledge necessitates counselors to be well-informed regarding different cultural features which might have bearing on the counseling process. The skills aspect deal with the counselor`s capability to create an understanding with culturally different customers and to apply culturally responsive programs. The tripartite model promoted organizational accents to execute multicultural competencies in training programs. Professional organizations for example the American Counseling Association (2005) included multicultural counseling competence into the ethical standards. Moreover, accreditation organizations have certified programs to infuse multicultural issues into their core curriculum with the aim applying quality multicultural training all over the graduate programs.
The tripartite model also inspired studies (see Worthington et al., 2007) together with the advancements of instruments that claim to assess the multicultural counseling skills (e.g., LaFromboise, Coleman, & Hernandez, 1991 Ponterotto, Alexander, & Grieger, 1995 Sodowsky, Taffe, Gutkin, & Wise, 1994).
2.8 Criticisms on the Multicultural Counseling Competencies Model
The two main criticisms of the Sue et al. (1982, 1992) multicultural counseling competency model is a deficiency of experimental support for the model and nearly sole motivation on four racial/ethnic groups in the USA. Constantine, Gloria, and Ladany (2002) assessed the factor structure of multicultural counseling competence steps and did not find support for the hypothesized projected three factor structure. Apart from the Cross-Cultural Counseling Inventory-Revised, other competency steps use self-report. Consequently, they are impacted by the effects of social desirability (Constantine & Ladany, 2000 Sodowsky, Kuo-Jackson, Richardson, & Corey, 1998) and have the tendency to evaluate estimate rather than actual standpoints or skills (Constantine & Ladany, 2000 Ladany, Inman, Constantine, & Hofheinz, 1997). A content analysis of multicultural counseling competency study notices a theory-research discrepancy in the multicultural counseling study, which gives emphasis for more experimental data on the competency model (Worthington et al., 2007). Theoretically, the model was criticized for a need of focus to different socio-cultural aspects apart from race/ethnicity, which resulted in the debate on what cultural factors should comprise in explaining multicultural counseling competencies.
2.9 Health Counseling & Native American Cultural Practices
There are lots of Native American Tribes in the USA. Nevertheless, each tribe may have little in common regarding, language, characteristics or even religious environment. Generally, in all cultural competency literature their much stress given in respect of cultural disparities. A large fraction of people in the society has an ethnocentric viewpoint in which they are only interested their own traditions or culture. This is generally takes place when prejudices and stereotypes exist. It is noted that communication is vital in cultural competency as there is a lot of prospects for misunderstanding. A few fundamental counseling skills are to be friendly, sincere and non judgmental. Issues concerning racism, poverty, and chauvinism of a culture the people want to know. A lot of journal countries or internet critiques have a very small segment regarding Native Americans in cultural competency. The underrepresentation in outpatient treatment of cultural and racial minority groups seems to be the consequence of cultural disparities in addition to monetary, organizational, and analytical features.
2.10 Mental Health Care Cultural Competencies
Following the diagnosis of the client presentations of the problem, the counselor is expected to express what ought to be carried out, why, by whom, the period of the intervention, and its possible outcomes, with the aim to eliminate the difficult or troubling condition. The counselors should be knowledgeable of the culture of their clients. Each culture possesses different ideas about what constitutes problems in living. The solution, logic for it, the person to discuss with, and for how long the consultation should continue are also culture-focused.
Normally, a practical treatment plan is founded on four underlying factors. The first one is the counselor`s knowledge of what is generally carried out in the client`s culture to remove the presenting problem. The second one is a perception of the usual treatment in the counselor`s own culture for a customer with the diagnosed problem. The third one is an understanding of how well customers are acculturated to the host culture. If the customers are fairly well acculturated to the host culture, counselors can feel more relaxed creating a treatment plan like that what they generally create for native customers. If the clients are new arrivals from a developing country, then counselors may want to reflect on how they can integrate into the treatment plan some solutions known to the customers. The fourth factor is keenness of customers to take part in a proposed solution.
Intervention denotes to the process of helping customers to rectify, overcome, negotiate, or adapt to the condition or situation that created them to look for consultation. To be beneficial, counselors must have the following understandings. Firstly, they need to recognize the general culture in which the clients were socialized. These skills give them an initial perception of their clients` character. Nevertheless, it is significant to understand that people tend to internalize their culture and as such not show many of the disparities between themselves and others. Secondly, counselors need to recognize the host culture in which their culturally diverse customers presently live. This perception is vital, since cross-cultural counselors require understanding the nature of complex aspects of cultural clashes affecting culturally different customers. Thirdly, counselors necessitate understanding their clients` character. Definitely, an individual`s behavior is a depiction of the general culture in which he/she was socialized (Triandis, 1994). Nevertheless, it may be also a consequence of the client`s genetic inheritance and racio-ethnic socialization.
Fourthly, cross-cultural counselors must have a detailed perception of their own socialization that made them realize who they are. Without such self-assessment, they may become biased arbitrators. Culturally influenced counselors can become unsuspectingly anti-therapeutic for their customers.
Follow-up denotes counselors` assessing their work with customers. It is particularly significant in cross-cultural counseling. There is so much that counselors do not recognize regarding their clients` local culture, the host culture, and the relationship of the two. Counselors require knowledge if the presenting problem existed prior to the arrival of individuals in the new surroundings or whether it is an outcome of the endeavor to adapt to the new culture.
Follow-up offers constant in-service training for the counselor. Each customer and each presenting problem are the prospects for counselors to know better ways to help culturally diverse people. It is advisable that counselors` audio or video tape each counseling session with their customers and pay attention to them either alone or with an associate at the end of each day. When counselors evaluate themselves, they usually notice many things they can do to enhance their therapeutic experiences with culturally diverse customers. Generally, they are capable to make remedies in the very next session with their customers. If the customers have already ended the relationship, they would be able to relate what they have learned from the reports when they collaborate with prospective customers.
1.11 Barriers in Counseling Treatment
There exist many barriers for people of color who are less expected to go to outpatient treatment health centers since many minorities hold long period of trust deficits due to oppression. A fewer number of minorities have an explicit fear of being hospitalized for seeking help. They consider a stigma for getting help from the individuals for mental ailments. Moreover, they are disinclined to seek help of any kind or diagnosed with an ailment of any kind. Furthermore, in some cultures, mental illness is considered as unacceptable.
Indeed, many Native American Tribes like Mohegan were deprived of their land by the government agencies. As such, it resulted in they had a lack of trust with the government which forcibly took their land and deprived them of everything they possessed.
Cost is considered as another barrier in accessing care whether it might be medical care, or mental health care. In the contemporary society the jobless rate is increasing. People have to choose between food and their health care. Many ethnic minorities are less probable to have access to private health cover. As well, there is also the middle class family which is unable to afford healthcare cover.
2.12 Cultural Beliefs & Health Service
Cultural beliefs concerning the problem definition and help may prevent health care service providers outside of the family or ethnic community. The existence of social is operational at every family unit, family relationships, tribal councils, or religious place can also explain some underutilization though research on African-Americans suggest these social supports more characteristically, support rather than replace for services realized from organizations (Jackson, Neighbors, & Gurin, 1986). For the minority customers who do not have the accessibility of the social service organizations, the practices and process of the organization may dissuade their utilization or lead to client typification based on ethnic group or traditions. Client typification is a method employed by human service organizations to make sure that customers are furnished with the services they require. It can act as a triage operation. Study on minority mental health has started to find out ways in which mental health services for minorities are impacted by prejudices intrinsic in the technology created for diagnosis and treatment (Rogler et al, 1987). There is large evidence that ethnocentric point of view has been the major orientation of the mainstream social services. In its most critical types, ethnocentrism has been quite evident in social service organizations as the provider of segregated services (Stehno, 1982). A case example of this is social service organizations that have been involved in the elimination of Native American children from their households in boarding schools or white foster households. Hence these families were disintegrated, languages were lost, causing in the deaths of millions of people. The cultural sensitivity is developing for the many years. The aim of the ethnic sensitivity or ethnic competence method is to generate or re-generate various programs and organizations that would be more reactive and dedicated to the culture of minority groups. It is founded on the concept that the American society is multicultural and that affirmative advantages can be the consequence of learning different cultural groups and integration of culture into agency procedures, composition, and services (Devore, & Schlesinger, 1987).
2.13 Effectiveness of Human Service Agencies
Organizational theorists assert that commonly-held beliefs and conventions regarding organizations` environments generally affect their framework and outlooks despite their technologies and resource exchanges (Scott, 1987 Zucker, 1988). When organizations deal with environments typified by powerful belief systems and conventions, survival and efficacy is conditional more on the legality realized from following generally held expectations than on efficient production (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983 Meyer & Rowan, 1977). In other words organizational theorists discriminate between two types of environmental strains that the companies experience. While, organizations experience strains for efficiency and success in the creation of goods or services, such strains are especially cogent when (1) there are significant competition amongst companies and (2) customers and other concerned external groups can willingly evaluate the efficiency or effectiveness of an organization`s production of commodities or services. Many organizations deal with strains to follow expectations about how they should behave. Companies are not compensated so much for the efficacy or effectiveness and production since their efficiency and effectiveness are too hard to evaluate. Organizational theorists claim that compliance with extensively held expectations makes organizations become legitimate in the viewpoint of society, and legality brings external support, comprising of money and other resources that organizations need to carry on (Meyer & Scott, 1983). It is quite significant that human service organizations consider that humans live in a diverse world.
There are a lot of specific approaches to organizational success as well as theories of organizations. In addition, there are large approaches to define and assess the success of human service organizations. Some approaches or blend of approaches might be more suitable than others conditional on key aspects of empirical framework in which organizations function. It is evident that the functioning of human service organizations would rise in the future particularly as services continue to be limited and inadequate.
2.14 Measuring the Effectiveness of Mental Health Care Systems
As well, there have been a growing number of treatment services and methods presented in the mental health care system in the contemporary world. Dependable and reliable steps of primary mental health local delivery system aspects do not exist. There is a need for the assessment of the services taken in hand, quality details, and service incorporation. Since 2000 there has been some incorporation of services in the USA. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go. It is noted that there are large stakeholders in the delivery system of mental health programs. These e stakeholders comprise of clients, administrators, therapists, case managers, or any person engaged in the efficacy of a treatment center. A large number of these stakeholders are financial sponsors, or insurance overseers. There have been a large number of events over the years regarding the treatment of mental health care systems. Moreover, there has been a fundamental tendency in inpatient hospitalization to outpatient treatment regarding the mental health care system. Much of the system is motivated as a result of financial costs. A few years back ago if there has been a mentally ill family member or loved one the only solution was hospitalization of the patient. The managed health care has facilitated various treatment methods in this contemporary world. Now, there is a considerable difference between urban and rural treatments offered in the health care. Generally people are in need to travel with the aim of getting the services which they require. Various stakeholders and urban and rural disparities were noted regarding service details. Those people who have the accessibility to mental health services require fulfilling the standards for the suitable levels of health care.
As a result of major financial cuts there are restricted mental health treatment programs and the ones which are accessible have long waiting lists. Moreover, there are even smaller number of treatment programs for people which either have no insurance coverage or limited cover. A lot of people in this modern world are jobless, uninsured, and have a significant number of medical or mental health issues which needs care. Various people do not fulfill the requirements for benefits.
Chapter Three
3.0 Methodology
3.1 Introduction
This research has employed Qualitative Research tool to gather the data. Qualitative inquiry will assist in employing different philosophical assumptions strategies of inquiry and methods of data collection, analysis, and interpretation (Creswell, 2009). The main theme why this study has chosen is, qualitative research will be able easier to collect data in the field at a natural setting. The participants were observed at a POW WOW In Uncasville, Connecticut. The study observed the traditions and practices of the Mohegan Tribe. In this natural setting, the study also observed the direct interactions of tribe members. As a result, this I was able to acquire personal experiences and insight by utilizing a Narrative Inquiry. Each individual that I spoke with was able to share his or her own experiences within the Mohegan Tribe. I gathered information from the moment I entered into the POW WOW. All and any observations were kept in a confidential journal. I observed behavior, and the behavior of my participants will be descriptively analyzed. Since qualitative research is a largely an investigative process, I documented on the environment and the setting of this POW WOW. By utilizing a Narrative Inquiry, I was able to acquire personal insight and experiences within my research, as well as gather information for the purpose of research through the eyes of the participants being interviewed. In this Qualitative Research study, I focused on what and why I am researching to stay on task. I will stay focused on the questionnaire I have prepared. I will be participating and collaborating with participants throughout my research study. I will be examining, gender, race and class throughout my research and exploring through a theoretical lens. As a researcher, I will maintain proper etiquette and have boundaries.
3.2 Data Collection and Questionnaire Design
In my research, I employed the use of interviewing, note taking, journaling, audio recording as well as decoding. By attending POW WOW`s severally, I was able to obtain resources in general about the Native American culture and gather resources for my study. At several intertribal Pow Wow`s, I was able to meet a variety of Native American people whom introduced me to members of the Mohegan tribe. At two previous Pow Wow`s, I was able to inquire and locate four individuals for my individual interviews. I will be conducting interviews at each person`s individual home. I will be interviewing four participants at their homes within Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Each individual received in depth attention and was treated with respect and courtesy. I was an active listener. My participants were over the ages of 21. I had chosen 2 men and 2 women as my interview participants. The other two participants live in independent housing. Some of the questions which will be asked are as follows: 1) How long have you been a member of the Mohegan tribe? 2) Would you be willing to share any customs or traditions about your tribe? 3) Would you be willing to share any information about your heritage/ culture? 4) Would you be willing to share any folklore within your tribe? 5) Can you share any information about your native dress, food, or art of your tribe? 6) Would you be willing to share any information about your ancestors or special members within your tribe? 7) Would you be willing to help me to gain an understanding of what your Pow Wow means to you? 8) What do you feel are major differences between the elders of your tribe and the younger generation? 9) Is there anything which you would like to add to help me to gain an understanding of your tribe? 10) How do you take care of yourself when you are feeling stressed? 11) How do you view the mental health system? 12) Do either you or your tribe members use an alternative method of dealing with mental health issues?
Personal beliefs are to be respected at all times Values will be acknowledged and respected. The expectation of my study is to broaden mental health providers by personal disclosures of my participants. All participants in this study were interviewed in their chosen setting as to avoid harm to the participants. Four structured interviews will be conducted from members of the Mohegan Tribe. All information will be kept confidential. I will be traveling to individual homes throughout the New England States. In addition, I utilized a brief case to keep papers in for my field study. Prior to interviewing my participants, I made sure all necessary paperwork was signed, which includes the informed consent form. I read the consent form aloud to the participants. After the participants agree to individual interviews, I had them sign and date the consent form. I provided a copy of my IRB application and explained the rationale for my college research paper. This was at the beginning when I met with my participants.
Each participant will be identified as participant #1, #2 and so on to protect confidentiality. No real names were involved in this study. Initials will be utilized only on all questionnaires. Notes will be taken at interviews, as well as audio tapes if permitted by the individual participants. If follow up is needed, I asked participants for phone numbers. Confidentiality will be maintained and participants will be reassured of this. I only asked questions which are on my questionnaire in this study. When clarification was needed, I asked as needed. Participants were asked about their experiences, traditions, heritage, and viewpoints / experiences of the mental health system and medical system. It was important for me to encourage my participants to speak plainly and honestly about their experiences. I informed my participants that it was all about their lived experience, not anybody else`s. It was important for me to capture my participant`s view of the world and examine their beliefs. It was alright for me to ask if I did not understand in order to get clarification, since my culture is different than the Mohegan member`s. The importance of being respectful and asking permission was important. I researched a culture which I knew little about.
3.3 Reliability and Validity
Reliability is associated with whether the findings are stable or not. As a result, I avoid biases and my opinions. My approach was warm and inviting. I dressed appropriately in dress casual. Each participant was asked if there is a meaning behind their experiences and if so what does this mean. The Native American POW WOW at Fort Shantok was on August 18-19 2012 from 10AM-7PM. I was there for both days. The name of this POW WOW was Wigwam Festival. This is a celebration of the harvest. This was a very busy time of the year for the Mohegan Tribe members. I was able to make a contact through the Cultural Center at Mohegan Museum. My contact person was able to provide me with information on traditions, practices, and customs. I met my contact person at the Communication Tent at this POW WOW. I used this information in my research study. I learned customs, and traditions of the tribe for proper etiquette. I took notes, and made audio recordings to document my observations. I will be incorporated what I saw, heard, and felt into my research paper.
Creswell (1998) gave positive reasons for a Qualitative Study. A Qualitative Research is designed to verify theoretical hypotheses about a casual relationship among certain variables thus the questions are usually framed to examine whether a certain condition exists to test the plausibility of a theoretical explanation of why. Qualitative Research pursues what and how questions get to a deeper understanding of an observed phenomenon. It is important to note that a pilot study was conducted to ensure the questionnaires are acceptable and understandable. In addition, the collected data was analyzed through quantitative method, which is the most widely applied when analyzing primary data (Creswell, 1998). Therefore, this study can be considered to be highly valid.
Chapter Four
4.0 Findings
4.1 Introduction
The empirical data collected using the questionnaire is presented in this chapter. To begin with, the percentage of each response is provided, and a summary of the significance of each success factor. The final part provides a rank of the critical success factors in mental health acquired from The Mohegan Tribe, which can assist health professionals in cultural competency.
4.2 Findings of the General Information
The Native American Pow Wow at Fort Shantok in Uncasville, Conducted on August 18-19, 2012 was amazing. Fort Shantok, is the Mohegan sacred burial ground. It has been a traditional resting place for more than 350 years for The Mohegan Tribe. A monument commemorates the life of the Fedelia Fielding. She was a teacher and the last fluent speaker of the Mohegan/Pequot language. There are many influential individuals buried at Shantok burial ground. The Pow Wow was held adjacent to the burial ground. It was a beautiful sunny day and the smell of sweet sage filled the air. There were thousands of people whom were present at The Festival of the Corn or better known as The Wigwam Festival. The Wigwam Festival is an ancient celebration of the traditional Green Corn Festival. This is a Mohegan Thanksgiving ceremony for the corn harvest. In the early 19th century, the festival was held under a “fair tree” of the Mohegan church. During the revitalization of the festival in the year 1860, Mohegan medicine woman and Emma Baker nicknamed it” Wigwam” for the three sided brush harbor built the house for celebration. The word work long tribes derived from wigwamun means “come into the house” or welcome.
This Native American Pow Wow was open to the public. All visitors were transported to the powwow via bus from the Mohegan Sun casino. During the transportation to Wigwam Festival, I was able to look at houses on the Mohegan Reservation. There were many houses, which had tall plants on outside, though they were very close together .The powwow started at 10 AM and lasted until 7 PM. There were a series of scheduled events throughout the day. This was a family event in which many Mohegan tribe members were dressed in colorful regalia. There was storytelling for the children, which was conducted by Sister Bette Jean. There was an entire section of the Pow Wow for children. In addition, there was a park with swings and slides for the children. The grounds of this Wigwam Festival belong to the Mohegan Tribe. The grounds are kept clean, and are well-maintained.
It is also worth noting that, one of the scheduled events included by Native American Pow Wow was the Grand Entry. The Grand Entry is the high noon event where there is intertribal dancing, and music provided by several native groups. Anyone choosing to dance was allowed to do so however, it was recommended that all to be smudged before entering into the circle. This smudging tradition is a cleansing in which sweet sage is burnt and the outside of an individual`s body is cleansed. When a person chose to dance, they had to enter the circle in a clockwise manner. Groups and tools applied involved drums, flutes, and Native American singers. There was a Native American dance competition that offered different age groups. In addition, there were prizes for different competitions. This Pow Wow was hosted by the Mohegan Tribe however, all tribes were invited to attend, as well as the public .This is known as an intertribal Pow Wow.
Servants of wars were honored during the Military Honor. There were many flags in reference to different wars, such as the Vietnam War and World War II. The Mohegan honor guards represent over 50 living tribal veterans who have served in the military from World War II to Afghanistan. Mohegan`s have proudly served this country long before it was known as the United States of America. There were no cameras or audio equipment allowed during certain times of respect throughout this Pow Wow. At this event, there was an MC from the Mohegan Tribe member. Some of the drum groups were: Unity of The Nations, Eagle Flight, Mystic River, Silver Cloud and Rez Dogs.
The Chief of Mohegan Tribe and many elders were present at The Wigwam Festival. Chief Lynn Malerba spoke briefly to welcome all participants of the Wigwam Festival and guests. I was introduced to the chief by one of the elders. Chief Lynn Malerba is a chief due to ancestral ties to the Mohegan tribe. Chief Many Hearts ie: Linda Malerba was dressed in beautiful red regalia with hearts sewn into the collar of her dress. She was warm, funny, and welcomed me to this joyful celebration. Chief Many Hearts gave me her email address if I needed any historical information regarding history of the Mohegan tribe. Chief Many Hearts encouraged me to visit the Mohegan Museum. In order to become a tribal chief a Mohegan must serve a successful tenure as a tribal chair. A nomination for the position of Lifetime Chief must be made by the Medicine Person and the Council of Elders. The tribal Council must second the nomination and the entire tribe must vote on their nomination. If the clear majority of votes is received it is only then that elevation to the position of chief occurs. A majority of tribal chief members are male. The only way one becomes a chief is through ancestral ties. Chief Lynn Malerba became Chief of the Mohegan Tribe in August 2010. Chief Malerba is the only female Chief of this tribe in history thus far. Chief Malerba was voted in lifetime Chief of the Mohegan Tribe. Chief Malerba has an extensive history in healthcare as she is a Registered Nurse, is on the Board of Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, and is the Director of Health and Human Services for the Mohegan Tribe. Chief Malerba informed me that many services within the tribe are subcontracted at this time. In my short time with the Chief Malerba I could tell that she is well educated, kind, and her heart is all about her people of the Mohegan Tribe.
The Mohegan Wigwam event has featured corn as a centerpiece. According to ancient customs, a real Mohegan succotash is served. There was a distinct display of Corn Festival about Mohegan succotash. In addition, there were many food vendors at this Native American Pow Wow. Some of the foods were: buffalo hamburgers, native smoked salmon, wild quail plate, frog leg plates, buffalo sausage with onions and peppers, quahog chowder, fried bread which resembled fried dough, Indian tacos, peach shortcake, and blueberry bread. There were so many nontraditional foods, but all of them smelled and looked appetizing. There was also a food vendor that offered traditional cooking. Some of the booths offered were hamburgers, french fries, and hot dogs. Many of the Native American drinks offered had fruit in the drinks and were not carbonated. Some of the examples of these are sassafras root tea, wild blueberry drink, and cranberry lemonade. The food lines were extremely long however, individuals at the Wigwam Festival were willing to wait for what was reported terrific food by patrons.
Since I was at this festival learning a different culture and traditions, I decided to try some food. The Buffalo meat with potatoes and onions was fantastic and plentiful. The meat was tender and very lean. When observing the food vendors, I notice that many of the food vendors had family members of all ages working together. Despite the fact that it was very crowded, the workers seem to have a good time and worked well together. There was a young girl in line with beautiful regalia in front of me who recommended the blueberry cake. Everyone appeared very helpful in answering questions which I had in reference to learning about customs, traditions and arts of the Mohegan tribe. It`s also worth noting that, I met an archaeologist and a researcher at this event, who were helpful in answering questions about the Wigwam Festival and the history of Fort Shantok.
There were so many vendors at this Pow Wow. The amount of work and skill in each craft was beyond comprehension. There were many necklaces, earrings, bracelets which were made from beads. There were many bright articles of clothing which were made from ribbons, animal hides, which were hand sewn by the people of different tribes. Each vendor had something different to offer. This was the largest Pow Wow by far of the previous Pow Wow`s of which I attended in the State of Maine, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. There were many vendors who sold Native American regalia. Each tribe wears their own colors and has their own pattern in the regalia which they wear. In the Mohegan Tribe, the color red is worn by women, representing the color of life. Sometimes red is worn by mail leaders because red represents the power of life force within it. The Mohegan Tribe believes” that women are the bleeders”. The tribe believes through blood, the tribe renews its life. Red is the color of the earth i.e. Mother Earth. The Eastern sun represents the birth of his sun and it is associated with color red. The color blue represents the sky and spirit.
On other hand, men of the Mohegan Tribe typically wear blue. Blue and white can be associated with the North and cold. At times, women of the Mohegan tribe wear blue to represent spirit. Yellow represents the golden color associated with the Mohegan`s most important crop corn and tobacco. Traditionally, women worked in the fields to grow corn and other vegetables. Yellow is the color of the Southwest. Black color is used in Mohegan art culture to symbolize life and death. Black was usually painted on war masks to symbolize death. In Mohegan art, the color red and black symbolize life and death. Before the arrival of Europeans, the Native Americans were usually cremated or buried in either a fetal or sitting position. The colors green and brown are used in Mohegan design however, there are no traditional meanings for these colors.
Many Mohegan tribe members talked about a very influential culture keeper. There was a monument at Fort Shantok. I decided in my research to explore Fidelia A, fielding a Mohegan tribal keeper. Her brother was Chief Harold Albert Tantaquidgeon from (1952-1970). Fidelia (Flying Bird) who`s a tribal culture keeper was the last fluent speaker of the Mohegan-Pequot dialect of the Algonquin language, though she passed away in 1908. She was taught the Mohegan spiritual customs by her grandmother, Martha Uncas. This great matriarch lived from 1761 – 1859. Martha taught only her two chosen protégés granddaughter Fidelia Fielding and grandniece Emma Baker. Fidelia did not teach her protégé medicine woman Gladys Tantaquidgeon the native language, as she feared that, Gladys would suffer reprisal if she learned Mohegan/Pequot. Gladys Tantaquidgeon was a well-known Mohegan medicine woman. All major positions within the Mohegan tribe are hereditary positions.
The dialect is not translated into English. The language of the Mohegan Tribe reflects a complete different worldview. The worldview focuses on animals, plants and rhythms of the natural and spirit worlds. The colors which were previously discussed give the meaning behind the Mohegan language.
Table 1: Famous Mohegan Tribe Members
Famous Mohegan Tribe Members
Mohegan Sachems: Uncas
Tenure 1653 – 1683
Owaneco, son of Uncas
1683 – 1715
Cesar Uncas, grandson of Uncas
1715 – 1723
Major Benjamin Uncas, descendant of Uncas
1723 – 1726
Benjamin Uncas II, son of Maj. Benjamin Uncas
1726 – 1749
Benjamin Uncas III, son of Benjamin Uncas II
1726 – 1769
Note: Benjamin Uncas III was never lawfully elected. John Uncas was the rightful Mohegan Sachem, but was denied his position by the colony.
Table 2: 20[th] Century Leaders of The Mohegan Tribe
Emma Baker, Chair and Medicine Woman
Dates Approximately: 1897 – 1902/1859 – 1916
Henry Matthews, Chief Wegum
1902 – 1903
Lemuel Fielding, Chief Occum
1903 – 1928
Everett Fielding
1929 – 1935
Julian Harris, Chief Peegee Uncas
1935 – 1937
Burill Fielding, Chief Matahga
1937 – 1952
Harold Tantaquidgeon, Chief Tantaquidgeon
Courtland Fowler, Chief Little Hatchet
1970- 1989
Ralph W. Sturges, Chief G`tinemong
1989- 2007
Dr. Gladys Tantaquidgeon, Medicine Woman
1916- November 1, 2005
Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel, Medicine Woman
2005 to date
Chief Lynn Malerba
2010 Lifetime Chief Appointment / Served on Tribal Council before her official appointment.
Gladys was a very influential woman to the Mohegan Tribe. Gladys was born on Mohegan Hill on June 15, 1899. Both of her parents were from Mohegan Indians. She was the third of seven children. Gladys was the cofounder of Tantaquidgeon Indian Museum on Mohegan property that was founded in 1931, which is located in Uncasville, Connecticut. Gladys was also a Doctor of Anthropology, where she studied with Anthropologist Frank Speck. Gladys researched herbal medicine among several East Coast tribes. Gladys wrote many articles and books on medicine practice. She received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Connecticut and one from Yale in 1994. She studied at the University of Pennsylvania in 1919. Gladys worked for the Federal Indian Arts & Crafts Board. In 1947, Gladys returned to Mohegan Hill to work as a curator at the museum cofounded by herself, her brother and father. Gladys worked at that museum until the time she passed away in November 2005 (The Mohegan Tribe, 2009c). Gladys passed away at her home on Mohegan Hill at the age of 106. Gladys is seen as one of the most influential women of the Mohegan Tribe due to her contributions to the culture, medicine, arts and language. Gladys contributions include but are not limited to attendance at an Ivy League college as a nonwhite woman in the 1920s, cofounding a museum in 1931, fighting for Civil Rights in the 1930s, social work for the Bureau of Indian affairs in the late 1930s, work at Indian Arts and Crafts Board in the late 1930s and 40s, providing community education in the 1960s to the 1990s and preserving Mohegan spirituality throughout her lifetime Gladys was an amazing storyteller and worked on Native Herbal Remedies (The Mohegan Tribe, 2009c). There is a monument of Gladys at the Mohegan burial ground. This is where Gladys was laid to rest. Gladys passed on our knowledge of being a Mohegan medicine woman to her granddaughter Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel. Melissa has been the current medicine woman of the Mohegan Tribe, since her grandmother Gladys passed away in 2005 (The Mohegan Tribe, 2009c).
The next phase of my research study was interviewing Mohegan Tribe members in their individual homes. Participant #1 is a 48-year-old male who resides in Massachusetts, approximately one hour away from the Mohegan reservation. Participant #1 is an engineer and is employed at a locksmith company. Participant# 1 reports that his mother is of Italian descent and his deceased father was a Mohegan Indian. Participant #1 remembered visiting family members on the Mohegan reservation as a child. Participant #1 is a drummer for the Mohegan tribe. Participant # 1 also has a job of clearing trees away from structures on the Mohegan Tribe land before the Wigwam Festival takes place every year. “I have been doing this for years and everyone no matter how small has a job within the tribe. We work together as one large family. In the native culture, we are all related and are children of God. You will hear many people speak about being related as we are all bound by the earth. My wife is of Italian descent however, she acknowledges the importance of my heritage. My wife travels sometimes with me to Native American Pow Wow`s and drumming activities. My wife comes from a large Italian family. There are similarities amongst the cultures because Italians value the sense of families just like native people do. My wife and I do not have any children because we travel a lot. My role as a drummer is a very busy job within the tribe. My drumming helps to keep me grounded spiritually. I was lucky to become a member of the Mohegan Tribe”.
Question#1: How long have you been a member of the Mohegan tribe? ” In 2001, I officially became a member of the Mohegan tribe. There were three things I had to do to become a member of the tribe. I had to be able to trace lineal heritage, prove that I had contact with family members throughout the years, and last, I had to go before the Tribal Council. You see in the year 2001, this is when enrollment closed to become available to be a member of the Mohegan Tribe. Many people were trying to become tribe members who were not descendants of the Mohegan Tribe. The only members available today are the active members of the tribe, their children, and grandchildren.”
Question #2: “A custom of my tribe which I use quite frequently is smudging with sweet sage. By smudging, I am purifying myself and any impurities around me. If I am getting a bad feeling, by smudging this helps me to become grounded so I can see my way back. I am a very spiritual person and I do believe in the ways of my people”.
Question # 3: “The first Sachem, Sachem Uncas of the Mohegan tribe believed that all man was good no matter white or dark skin. This was the difference between our tribe and the Pequot tribe that is just miles away. We are the peaceful people of the Mohegan Tribe.”
Participant #1: He was very informative about a history of his tribe and the traditions he continues to practice today.
Question # 4: “There are lots of folklore within our tribe that is told by storytellers and our medicine woman. One story talks about small animals guiding Mohegan Tribe members through forest to help them find food for their families.”
Question #5: “The native dress is called Regalia and is worn by tribe members at special gatherings and celebrations. There are many bright colors and textures on Regalia, which are worn by tribe members. The top of my Regalia is the Mohegan colors embroidered on it. I wear buck skin Regalia.
Participant #: “1 made it clear that each tribe member wears Regalia that had meaning to him or even names given by the tribe. At home, I eat traditional food especially a lot of Italian food, since I am half Italian and my wife is full blooded Italian. I also learned how to make some Native foods such as Succotash. My house as you can see is decorated in Native American motif. When I travel for drumming, I gather Arts from distinct intertribal Pow Wow`s.”
Participant #1: shared about the loss of his father due to heart disease. Participant #1 shared his father was Mohegan and he could relate to his father`s side of the family more than his mother`s side of the family, as he was close to his Mohegan family and extended Mohegan family members which were also his family. Participant #1 lost his father when he was a teenager. His mother moved the family to Boston after the death of his father. Participant #1 always stayed connected to his dad side of the family. His mother verified this as the deciding factor for him to becoming a Mohegan member.
Question 6: “My father was a Mohegan member, but I never had the opportunity to meet either of my grandparents, as they both died when I was a baby. My Aunt died 10 years ago, though I loved her very much, as she was a great lady. She would take me to for summer, while my mom worked”.
Question 7: “The Wig Wam Festival is a day of celebration for the Summer Harvest of corn. I take pride in this celebration and give praise to the earth for providing for our people. This celebration to me brings all people together, as it`s spiritual and family oriented. This celebration allows others to see our culture, the pain and pride we have lived all through for centuries. We were the tribe that embraced white settlers. This celebration means harmony and peace to all”.
Question # 8: “There are not many elders left”. “We have Anthropologists and Archaeologist students who are part of the tribe whom are studying in local colleges. These students work with our elders to learn the culture and traditions of the Mohegan Tribe. To me, the new generation of tribe members embraces the ways of the tribe in the same ways that have been passed on by family members”.
Question #9: “Each tribe is different in so many ways. I encourage people to explore the history of each tribe. The Pequot tribe is different from our tribe despite the fact that we live so close”.
Question # 10: “I pray and meditate when I am feeling stress. I have gone to Native sweat lodges to give me peace when I am deeply troubled in a particular area of my life. By doing so, I have a new perspective and feel at peace and harmony”.
Question #11: “I have tribe members who have therapists due to mental health issues such as depression. Like anything, there are some therapists who understand the ways of the Mohegan members and some who do not understand the importance of exploring, thus we are all different. My answer to this question is, I seek out non traditional approaches and medications through our medicine person or talk within our tribe. Our Chief is great and is very knowledgeable about health and mental health. In our tribe, we seek guidance within.”
Question #12: “I choose to deal with herbal remedies and non traditional methods, such as sweat lodges as needed. I would be open to speaking to a therapist with experience in working with native people if I felt that I needed the help.”
Participant #2: is a 52-year-old female from Norwich Connecticut. Participant #2 is disabled and resides in a small apartment with her spouse. This apartment is subsidized by the Federal Government. Participant #2 has been a Mohegan member all her life. Prior to marrying seven years ago, she lived on the Mohegan reservation. Participant #2 is disabled due to diabetes, arthritis, depression and learning disabilities. Participant #2 is a singer within the Mohegan Tribe. She travels to several intertribal Native American Pow Wow`s within the New England area. Prior to becoming disabled, Participant #2 was employed at the Mohegan Sun casino as a custodian. Participant #2 reported that, she moved off the reservation, as she needed specialized care from a hospital. The reservation has a healthcare however, if you need extensive treatment services, they are not available. Participant #2 expressed that, “she hears many people in society believe Mohegan Tribe members are rich due to Mohegan Sun the casino. This is not true because I received a subsidy from the Mohegan Tribe. I am on Social Security due to being disabled and received little assistance from my tribe. Due to my diabetes being so chronic, I have to go to dialysis three times a week. I have several relatives from the Mohegan Tribe members. They provide emotional support to me because of my medical condition. I also have depression due to my life has changed, since I`m diagnosed with diabetes. I met my husband at a Native American Pow Wow in Rhode Island eight years ago. My husband is a drummer for Eastern Medicine Singers.
Question #1: “I am a Mohegan tribal member all my life and both my parents were members of the Mohegan Tribe. I have many family members who belong to the Mohegan Tribe on both sides of the family. I attend Mohegan Council meetings and actively participate in my tribe activities and events. “
Question #2: Would you be willing to share any customs or traditions about your tribe? “Yes, some of the customs and traditions of my tribe are the women get together and cook on a weekly basis. We have a weekly gathering at a hall on the reservation before tribal meetings. All members are invited to attend. On the average, the same individuals attend. On occasion, we will have new members whom we show. The individuals who show are active members of our community”.
Question # 3: Would you be willing to share some information about your culture or heritage? “I am very proud of the fact that my great, great, grandfather was Samuel Occum
Samuel. Occum was the first Christian minister for the Mohegan Tribe. The original church remains on the Mohegan reservation today. There is a lot of history within this church. Christianity showed the earlier white settlers that the Mohegan Tribe members were civil and spiritual people. This helped to transform the way that white settlers thought about the Mohegan Indians.”
Question #4: “There are so many tales and folklore about our tribe. There is a book on the Mohegan website about folklore and storytelling. It is a terrific book and I recommend that you buy it to get an understanding of the Mohegan folklores. Most of the Mohegan folklore involves animals and Mother Nature. We are the people of the Wolf clan. There are tales that wolves guided us spiritually in this new world”.
Question #5: Can you share information with me about your native dress, food, art of the Mohegan tribe? “Yes, in the summertime, I wear regalia which is light, made of cotton, and has ribbons on the sleeves. I made this dress myself. This is known as a ribbon dress. In the fall and colder months, I wear a heavier Regalia that is made of cow hide and has a beaded turtle symbol on it. My native name is Little Turtle. I got this name because I played with turtles as a child”.
Question # 6: Would you be willing to share information about your ancestors or special members within your tribe? “As I indicated earlier, I am very proud of being a descendent of Samuel Occum. I also have many friends who participate in traveling to local schools to educate youth up to grades 12 about the Mohegan Tribe. My husband belongs to a Native American drumming group and we have many friends throughout New England as a result of attending intertribal Pow Wow`s. I am very proud of my heritage and I feel it is important to educate others about the customs and traditions of the Mohegan Tribe.”
Question #7: “The Corn Festival is a very large event within our tribe. Tribal members work on this event throughout the entire year. This is an event where our entire community comes together to educate the public and other tribes about our tribe. This is also the time for remembering those who served in our Mohegan community, in the military and past leaders of our nation. There are tribal flags, and POW flags for veterans served in the different wars.”
Question #8: “I feel the younger generation of the tribe receives education from the elders to help them gain a stronger understanding of where the tribe has been and where they are going. The younger generation feels more connected because they have a better view of Eastern versus Western philosophies. I also feel that, the younger generation is less stigmatized because of education today in society about native cultures”.
Question #9: Is anything you would like to add to this study to help me gain an understanding of either you or your tribe? “Yes, it takes time to truly understand one`s heritage and culture, and even then, you still may not understand. I think it is great that you want to educate counselors in your field about Native people of the Mohegan Tribe. The best way to try to get an understanding of someone`s culture is to observe and be a part of it”.
Question #10: How do you take yourself when you are feeling stress? “I have a therapist who I work with and feel comfortable with her. She is not Native American however, she was open to learning the meaning behind what I was saying. She was very open with me from the beginning about her lack of knowledge of working with Native Americans. I gained respect for her honesty. It took time, but I had a good counseling relationship with my therapist. My therapist started to learn on her own about the ways of the Mohegan tribe. I also helped to educate her on my beliefs. My therapist allows me to practice my beliefs by cleansing her office with Sage prior to starting our sessions and continues this ritual herself every morning before she starts seeing the clients”.
Question # 11: How do you look at the mental health system? “I do not generalize, and like anything in life, there is good and bad. I really feel that, there is a room for improvement in the area of cultural competency. What I mean by this is I was patient with my therapist who did not have experience in working with Native Americans. However, how many Native Americans people would walk out and not return back to treatment if the therapist did not have knowledge of their native culture? I believe the answer to this is more than none.”
Question #12: Do either you or your tribe have an alternative method of dealing with mental health issues? “Absolutely yes, many individuals within our tribe will use nontraditional methods of dealing with mental health issues. Some of these methods would include going to the medicine woman for herbal remedies, asking family members for suggestions and this includes extended family members. De-stressing by isolation in a quiet area with nature is a common native practice. Sweat lodges are frequently visited by Native people to help them become more centered in their lives.”
Participant # 3: is a 36-year-old male who resides in Providence Rhode Island. Participant #3 is single, but plans to wed soon. His parents reside on a land belonging to the Mohegan Tribe in Uncasville, Connecticut. Participant #3 is an active member of the U.S. Armed Forces. He is currently home to support his family, since his father is going to have a heart surgery soon. Participant #3 is the only child and he worked with his father as a stonemason prior to entering the service in 2000. Participant #3 resides in Rhode Island with his fiancé who have been engaged for two years. Participant # 3 plans to get married within two years. Participant #3 met his girlfriend while training in the Army. His fiancée is a Native American member of the Narragansett tribe. Participant #3 reports that, he is close to his family and supports his family by helping out with his dads medical appointments and is taking on repairs needed around the house. As part of relaxation while on leave from the military, participant #3 attended the Wig Wam Festival and several Native American Pow Wow`s in the area. Participant # 3 was happy to help me in my research study. He chose to answer the questions independently which I had prepared in my research study. Participant #3 appeared very bright and articulate. He was able to tell me that as a result of being away at war, he has posttraumatic stress disorder. He was proud to tell me about many Native Americans who fought for his country. As a lifelong member of the Mohegan Tribe, Participant #3 told me that, family to him was everybody in the Mohegan Tribe. His parents taught him good values and morals. I was never lonely as a child because I had many cousins. I feel like many traditional homes suppertime was when we talked about the activities of the day. There were often many cousins and family members at the house in which we shared many meals. I was taught to take care of my younger cousins like they were my own. My father was a stonemason and taught me early on to work hard, be honest, and to teach others. My mother was the cook in our family and my father provided financially for the family. When other family members needed help, we did not think twice about helping them. My mother would tell me all kinds of stories/folklore when I was a child. The story which I remember is about birds talking to each other. What was interesting about this story a little girl was able to understand what the birds were talking about. The moral to the story was if we listen close enough we can hear.
The Wigwam Festival to me is a celebration of our culture and thanksgiving for the summer crops. I do not dress in Native Regalia because I have outgrown my Regalia. I would like to share that, the Mohegan people are kind, generous and care for others. We have a cultural center, museum, and a church which is loaded with history. All of the Mohegan activities are family related. Despite the fact that many of our ancestors have died, our spirit and legend lives on. There are not many elders left. Therefore, it is important for the new generation to continue carrying the legacy of the Mohegan Tribe. I attend therapy through a local veteran center because of my posttraumatic stress disorder. I received benefits from the armed services, since I am an active member of the United States Army. I have a lot of respect for the mental health system. The reason I feel this way is I received good treatment. I have a good working relation with my therapist and I feel everything is confidential. I was not sure how to feel in the beginning. Due to the trauma, I have experienced it is difficult for me to trust. I go to the gym on a daily basis and eat properly. I have learned many strategies in therapy. I am happy to my finance for supporting me to get the treatment. Some of the ways in which my native heritage has helped me to stay strong is by believing in nature.
Participant #4 Canceled our interview due to a chronic medical condition which hospitalized her. As a result of this medical condition, I was not able to interview participant #4 for my research paper.
Chapter Five
5.0 Discussion and Conclusion
5.1 Discussion
The Native American Indians possess a rich culture. They have an age old traditions that date back thousands of years. As such, the Native American Indian ancestries are quite strong, and many of the harms perpetuated upon their bloodlines continue to bleed for modern-day natives today.
The Native American Indian`s stories imply many connotations for the field of counseling and the mental health counselors. Accordingly, successful counselors should be responsive to the many different traits that encompass Native American Indian`s individual identity, culture, and ethnicity. With more than 500 federally documented tribes and over 250 diverse languages, Native Americans not only originate are linked to different tribal groups with distinctive society, customs, and viewpoints, however they also linked to different environments like rural, urban, or reservation (Garrett & Myers, 1996).
A critical factor is to develop a positive relationship with a Native American client. Moreover, it requires the counselor to recognize the psychological characteristics of the client`s cultural competency. Generally, Native Americans have faced atrocious endeavors to eliminate their tribal culture and language, and forcing them to espouse values and ways of the prevailing culture (Bichsel & Mallinckrodt, 2001) This forced acculturation has taken place as a result of such methods as punishment for speaking the tribal language, forced parting of children from their parents, and the boarding school system itself (Bichsel & Mallinckrodt, 2001). An account of such injustices has naturally generated unique psychological and emotional concerns for various Native Americans, in addition an intergenerational division which still continues at present as a potent influence on cultural distinctiveness, especially for the older generations (Garrett & Pichette, 2000).
5.2 Conclusion
Discrepancies in the research concerning Native American Indians as a population of complex groups and persons must be stopped. Studies of counseling issues concerning Native American Indian by tribal affiliation and geographic living areas must be taken in hand to raise the multicultural knowledge and understanding of counselors. The counseling studies discuss generic values that may or may not hold valid for Native American Indians however might be supporting counselors to believe in a “one size fits all” standpoint.
In spite of the fact it is unfeasible to modify the backgrounds counselors can prevent the problems of stereotyping and false hopes by analyzing their own principles and standards, examining their clients` surroundings, and determining counseling methods to match with the clients` requirements. Counselors cannot accept their clients` background or cultural inheritance, however they can become more responsive to these things and to their own and their clients` inclinations. Clinical responsiveness towards client wishes, characteristics, principles, rules, beliefs, and subjects of coping and susceptibility has been always necessary for successful results (LaFromboise, 1985). Assessment of their own presumptions, recognition of the variety of variables that comprise an individual`s identity, and growth of a client centered, balanced counseling method would help the multicultural counselor in offering the effective help.
In sum, Native Americans have a variety of problems that may influence their behaviors. Nationwide, the federal government has a responsibility of offering health care for Native Americans, which consequently has difficulties in financial support, the legislature, identification of responsibility and trust. At a lower level, helping counselors may be culturally inept, causing various issues. On an individual basis, customs, practices, and acculturation issues may harmfully affect rural Native American communities. Consequently must be carried out objectively, free of primitive approach, to study current, modern state of Native American Indians.
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Research Tool
Basic Information
Name (optional)
Position within the Tribe
Interview Questions:
1. How long have you been a member of the Mohegan tribe?
2. Would you be willing to share any customs or traditions about your tribe?
3. Would you be willing to share some information about your culture/heritage?
4. Would you be willing to share any folklore within your tribe?
5. Can you share information with me about your native dress, food, or art of the Mohegan
6. Would you be willing to share information about your ancestors or special members within your tribe?
7. Would you help me to gain a better understanding of what your Pow Wow means to your tribe?
8. What do you feel are the major differences between the elders and the younger generation of the tribe?
9. Is there anything you would like to add to this study to help me to gain an understanding of either you or your tribe?
10. How do you take care of yourself when you are feeling stress?
11. How do you look at the mental health system?
12. Do either you or your tribe use an alternative method of dealing with mental health issues?
Table 1: Famous Mohegan Tribe Members
Famous Mohegan Tribe Members
Mohegan Sachems: Uncas
Tenure 1653 – 1683
Owaneco, son of Uncas
1683 – 1715
Cesar Uncas, grandson of Uncas
1715 – 1723
Major Benjamin Uncas, descendant of Uncas
1723 – 1726
Benjamin Uncas II, son of Maj. Benjamin Uncas
1726 – 1749
Benjamin Uncas III, son of Benjamin Uncas II
1726 – 1769
Note: Benjamin Uncas III was never lawfully elected. John Uncas was the rightful Mohegan Sachem, but was denied his position by the colony.
Table 2: 20[th] Century Leaders of The Mohegan Tribe
Emma Baker, Chair and Medicine Woman
Dates Approximately: 1897 – 1902/1859 – 1916
Henry Matthews, Chief Wegum
1902 – 1903
Lemuel Fielding, Chief Occum
1903 – 1928
Everett Fielding
1929 – 1935
Julian Harris, Chief Peegee Uncas
1935 – 1937
Burill Fielding, Chief Matahga
1937 – 1952
Harold Tantaquidgeon, Chief Tantaquidgeon
Courtland Fowler, Chief Little Hatchet
1970- 1989
Ralph W. Sturges, Chief G`tinemong
1989- 2007
Dr. Gladys Tantaquidgeon, Medicine Woman
1916- November 1, 2005
Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel, Medicine Woman
2005 to date
Chief Lynn Malerba
2010 Lifetime Chief Appointment / Served on Tribal Council before her official appointment.
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