The Mohegan Tribe A Paper to Help Mental Health Professionals in

Cultural Competency
Tamara E. Kiernan
New England College Henniker, New Hampshire
Author Note
Tamara E. Kiernan, Department of Mental Health Counseling, New England
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Tamara
212 Temple Avenue Old Orchard Beach, Maine 04064
Email:[email protected]
Table of Contents
TOC o “1-3” h z u HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659248” Abstract
PAGEREF _Toc341659248 h 3
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659249” Chapter One PAGEREF _Toc341659249 h 6
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659250” 1.0 Introduction PAGEREF _Toc341659250
h 6
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659251” 1.1 Background PAGEREF _Toc341659251 h
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659252” 1.2 Research Problem PAGEREF
_Toc341659252 h 7
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659253” 1.3 Research Aims and Objectives PAGEREF
_Toc341659253 h 8
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659254” 1.4 Significance of the Study PAGEREF
_Toc341659254 h 9
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659255” Chapter Two PAGEREF _Toc341659255 h 10
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659256” 2.0 Literature Review PAGEREF
_Toc341659256 h 10
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659257” 2.1 Mohegan Cultural History: An Overview
PAGEREF _Toc341659257 h 10
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659258” 2.2 Mental Health Professionals in
Cultural Competency: A Literature Review PAGEREF _Toc341659258 h 11
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659259” 2.3 Issues with the Counselor`s Culture
PAGEREF _Toc341659259 h 16
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659260” 2.4 The Client`s Culture PAGEREF
_Toc341659260 h 17
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659261” 2.5 The Ethical Dilemma of a Multicultural
Counselor PAGEREF _Toc341659261 h 18
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659262” 2.6 The Multicultural Cross-Cultural
Approach in Counseling and in Assisting Professions PAGEREF
_Toc341659262 h 23
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659263” 2.7 Movement toward Multicultural
Counseling Competencies PAGEREF _Toc341659263 h 26
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659264” 2.8 Criticisms on the Multicultural
Counseling Competencies Model PAGEREF _Toc341659264 h 28
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659265” 2.9 Health Counseling & Native American
Cultural Practices PAGEREF _Toc341659265 h 29
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659266” 2.10 Mental Health Care Cultural
Competencies PAGEREF _Toc341659266 h 29
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659267” 1.11 Barriers in Counseling Treatment
PAGEREF _Toc341659267 h 31
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659268” 2.12 Cultural Beliefs & Health Service
PAGEREF _Toc341659268 h 32
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659269” 2.13 Effectiveness of Human Service
Agencies PAGEREF _Toc341659269 h 33
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659270” 2.14 Measuring the Effectiveness of Mental
Health Care Systems PAGEREF _Toc341659270 h 34
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659271” Chapter Three PAGEREF _Toc341659271 h
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659272” 3.0 Methodology PAGEREF _Toc341659272 h
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659273” 3.1 Introduction PAGEREF _Toc341659273
h 36
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659274” 3.2 Data Collection and Questionnaire
Design PAGEREF _Toc341659274 h 37
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659275” 3.3 Reliability and Validity PAGEREF
_Toc341659275 h 39
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659276” Chapter Four PAGEREF _Toc341659276 h
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659277” 4.0 Findings PAGEREF _Toc341659277 h
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659278” 4.1 Introduction PAGEREF _Toc341659278
h 40
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659279” 4.2 Findings of the General Information
PAGEREF _Toc341659279 h 40
4.4 Thematic representation of the findings from interview and Wigwam
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659280” Chapter Five PAGEREF _Toc341659280 h
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659281” 5.0 Discussion and Conclusion PAGEREF
_Toc341659281 h 58
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659282” 5.1 Discussion PAGEREF _Toc341659282 h
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659283” 5.2 Conclusion and recommendations
PAGEREF _Toc341659283 h 59
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659284” References PAGEREF _Toc341659284 h 61
HYPERLINK l “_Toc341659286” Appendix PAGEREF _Toc341659286 h 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 throughout generations. Tribal social compositions
affect various fields that include critical behaviors. A marked aspect
of the Mohegan people is the significance of extended family in decision
making and social behavior. The extended family has a strong influence
over its members. Moreover, tribal societies are multifaceted. This
challenge provides traditional counselors with the prospect of studying
varied strategies, as well as their 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 hinder the delivery of
required services, but it creates the impression that it is impossible
to endorse or apply diversity in research studies founded on both
affiliation and geographic realities. It is imperative that research is
carried out on how the Native American Indians faced cultural issues in
public organizations and rural frameworks for counseling agencies.
Chapter One
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, there was increased competition for land and other natural
resources thanks to pressure from the expanding European settlements. In
addition, the Indian populations were becoming exterminated by at an
alarming rate by disease (The Mohegan Tribe, 2009b). In addition, there
was intertribal conflict between the neighboring Sachems, (Pequot)
Sachem Sassacus and (Mohegan) Sachem Uncas. The tribes quarreled on how
to handle the European encroachment on tribal territories.
The Mohegan Tribe utilized many natural resources to provide food for
their families such as lakes, rivers, forests, and oceans, which
provided their food and raw material (Waldman, 2006). As noted from
Rasmussen (2000), the utilization of the natural resources involved no
wastage. For example, in instances where the Mohegan tribesmen caught an
animal, every part of that animal would be put to use including the
meat, bones, hides and teeth of the animal. It is worth noting that
there was division of labor with women mainly concentrating on planting
crops while the men mainly hunted animals.
In the 17th century, housing for the Mohegan tribe members a wigwam made
from hides obtained from animals caught via hunting. Of course, this
type of housing has been replaced with the Tribe members of today live
independently on land belonging to the Mohegan Nation in more
contemporary American housing units (The Mohegan Tribe, 2009b).
The coming of European settlers in America had negative effects on the
Mohegan tribe. The settlers are not only credited with taking land away
from the Native American tribes such as the Mohegan tribe, but they also
introduced some ailments that were previously not known. In addition,
they were known to capture, torture, murder, as well as sell the
indigenous people as slaves. This caused a large number of people from
the Mohegan tribe to flee to the Caribbean Island so as to avoid
persecution. Different tribes in the Northeast dealt with the European
settlers in different ways. The Mohegan Tribe chose peaceful
collaboration and coexistence with the English settlers, while the
Pequot Tribe chose to fight the white settlers (The Mohegan Tribe,
2009b). This does not undermine the fact that a large part of their land
was taken from the indigenous tribe of the Northeast by the European
Currently, there are some Native Americans who still hang on to the
traditional ways of the tribe while others have moved on to modern ways.
Some of the issues within the Mohegan tribe relate to classism within
the tribe. There exist issues pertaining to acculturation within the
tribe, which may have resulted from status and gender roles. Members of
the tribe that had a sense of belonging and security have come up with
an interdependent system (Derald & David, 2011). Status and rewards are
obtained by adhering to tribal structure. The family structure varies
from matriarchal structure, as each tribe is distinct.
1.2 Research Problem
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,
which may imply that 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 parents from other ethnic groups. However, there has been a
prevalence of varied mental health issues among Native Americans
including suicide, health, domestic violence, addiction and self-esteem
issues (Derald and David, 2011). These may have resulted from the years
that they have been under oppression from the white settlers.
1.3 Research Aims and Objectives
This research paper is a narrative study that discusses issues
pertaining to oppression within the Mohegan tribe, as well as cultural
differences experienced in working with the Mohegan tribe. It aims at
assisting mental health professionals to have a clearer understanding of
the practices and traditions of the Mohegan Tribe, as well as get a
glimpse of the mental health system from the perspective of Mohegan
tribe members. The study has been exclusively restricted to members of
the Mohegan Tribe exclusively. Narratives pertaining to other tribes
have also been incorporated so as to enhance the understanding of the
history of tribes in surrounding areas or the nations surrounding tribes
of the Northeast.
As a narrative study, this research focuses on traditions, cultural
differences, and practices in relation to the life experience within
their tribe. Their experiences of the health and mental health system
will also be discussed. It is worth noting that approaches that might be
appropriate for a particular individual might not be appropriate or
applicable for all Indians, thanks to differences in acculturation. For
example, a therapeutic process or even goals that may be applicable and
appropriate for Native Americans who live in rural setting is likely to
be entirely different from other Native Americans living in an urban
area. In addition, an American Indian with traditional orientation may
have different expectations of the dominant culture.
Nevertheless, the key aim or objective of this research is to outline
the traditions, cultures, beliefs, as well as the life experiences that
the Mohegan tribe members hold pertaining to mental health. These would
be used as the basis for advancing culturally competent healthcare
especially pertaining to mental health.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The exploration of the ethnic values and differences is extremely
crucial in provision of healthcare services. The importance of this
research is underlined by the fact that the approaches used in working
with Mohegan Tribe members are different from traditional approaches
used in the mental health field. It is imperative that mental health
professionals are aware of biases that exist in this tribe, as well as
how they stand in the way of the counseling relationship and the
attainment of treatment goals. It is extremely crucial that clinicians
and mental health professionals determine the cultural identity of the
client, as well as their association within a tribe so as to come up
with the appropriate strategies of combating the issues from which the
individual may be suffering.
On the same note, it is noteworthy that a large number of Native
Americans have deep distrust for agencies thanks to their history of
oppression (Derald and David, 2011). In essence, it is imperative that
the clinician or healthcare professional actively listens to the patient
and stands in the lookout for nonverbal cues that the patient may give.
In addition, it is imperative that the health practitioner is patient
and employs a client centered approach especially in the initial stages.
Moreover, the health practitioner is best placed at assessing the
patient’s problem through the active perspective of the individual or
patient, as well as the family or even the extended family. As noted
earlier, Native Americans families often include the extended family
members, who would come in handy in the course of providing personalized
healthcare to the patients.
It was imperative that I learn how the members felt about my coming into
their space. In the course of the visit, I had to keep in mind my
position as a guest, in which case being respectful was imperative so
that I could learn the ways of the Mohegan tribe. Part of this study
involved observing Mohegan traditions at a Pow Wow at Fort Shantok on
August 18-19, 2012 in Uncasville, Connecticut. Another phase of the
research involved confidential interviews at the home of 4 members of
the Mohegan tribe.
Chapter Two
Literature Review
2.1 Mohegan Cultural History: An Overview
The Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut, USA had a critical time in the 16th
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 even assisted the Europeans defeating the
Pequots. This friendly relationship between the Uncas and 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 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 incredible 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 used to be observed by
the Mohegans a long time prior to the coming of the European settlers.
The yearly Wigwam festival was 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 gratitude for the blessing that they were
granted. At present, their business undertakings keep them lively and
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 have 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 an incredible 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 varied 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 acknowledging the importance of
the underlying principles of awareness and knowledge. In essence, the
participants are unaware of whether they are in the right course or not.
It is necessary that the three features, which are awareness, skill and
knowledge, are incorporated so as to allow 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) refers to it as an outline through which individuals or
groups would enhance their competencies through a 4-step training
First, they would need to assess or evaluate their skills, knowledge and
awareness. It is imperative that the assessment of one’s awareness is
done from the individual’s as well as the other person’s cultural
perspective. This is best exemplified through recognizing the
presumptions being made pertaining to the other culture. 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 lay out the available options thereby eliminating the
vagueness that would likely be in a situation. The significance of
knowledge is also underlined by learning languages from other cultures,
which would enhance communication and comprehension of any issues
pertaining to that culture especially from the individual’s own
perspectives. Skill evaluation involves the assessment of the current
capabilities of an individual. The deficiency of awareness knowledge may
make it hard for an individual to become skillful, while the deficiency
of awareness creates room for the making of wrong presumptions. In
addition, the deficiency of knowledge endangers proper comprehension.
Second, it is imperative that an individual comes up with specific 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
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:
Each Western or non-Western theory symbolizes a diverse viewpoint.
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.
The counselors’ or clients’ racial/cultural identities would impact
as how problems are delineated and dictated for suitable counseling
objectives or processes.
The final goal of a culture-focused approach is to increase the range of
helping responses accessible to the counselors.
The traditional roles of counselors are only some of the many options
accessible from various cultural frameworks.
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,
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
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.
Impartiality is a fundamental aspect of the ethical code. Ethical codes
run the risk of being a representation of the group in command, rather
than what is considered as appropriate course of action (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-malfeasance,
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. Non-malfeasance 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
(Toporek & Williams, 2006)”.
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” (Welfel, 2006). 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
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” (Corey et al. 2007).
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” (Kendler, 1993). 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 et
al, 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 recognizes the occurrence of various outlooks, none of
which are judged as good or bad, correct or incorrect.
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.
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.
It presents various methods to the world since each outlook holds a
dissimilar, applicable approach.
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
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
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
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
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, which 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 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 racial-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.
2.11 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
deep distrust of other people as a result of long period of oppression.
A fewer number of minorities have an explicit fear of being hospitalized
for seeking help. They consider it stigmatizing for them to get
assistance for mental ailments from the same people. 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
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 another barrier in accessing care, be it 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 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 (Anderson et al, 2003). 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
3.1 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
reason for choosing qualitative research is that it enhances the ease of
collecting 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. This
made it possible for the researcher to acquire personal experiences and
insight by utilizing a Narrative Inquiry. Every individual who
participated in the research shared his or her own experiences within
the Mohegan Tribe. In fact, it was possible to gather right from the
moment I entered into the POW WOW. All and any observations were kept in
a confidential journal. In addition, the research involved behavior
observation which allowed for descriptive analysis of the same. 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
This research involved the application of varied techniques of data
collection including interviewing, note taking, journaling, and 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 conducted interviews at each person’s home.
Four participants were interviewed at their homes located within
Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Each individual received
in-depth attention and was treated with respect and courtesy, while I
took the role of 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
3) Would you be willing to share any information about your heritage/
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 were respected throughout the interview and any time of
interaction. In addition, values were acknowledged and respected. This
study aimed at broadening the understanding of mental healthcare
providers pertaining to the values, beliefs, traditions, as well as
customs of the Mohegan tribe through the disclosures of the
participants. All participants in this study were interviewed in their
chosen setting as to avoid harm to the participants. Four structured
interviews were conducted with members of the Mohegan Tribe, with all
information being kept confidential. The confidentiality was enhanced
through changing names of the participants so as to protect their
Preparation for the interview
The interview involved travelling to the participants’ homes
throughout the New England States. Prior to interviewing the
participants, it was ensured that the participants signed all the
necessary paperwork including the informed consent form. The
stipulations of the consent form were read aloud to the participants and
the provisions explained to them. Once the participants agree to
individual interviews, they signed 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
The participants were coded and identified as participant #1, #2 and so
on to protect confidentiality. No real names were involved in this
study. The interview process involved note taking, as well as audio
tapes subject to the permission of the individual participants. In
addition, the participants were requested to provide their phone numbers
in case follow up became necessary. The participants were assured about
the maintenance of confidentiality, in which case any information they
disclosed was not to be discussed with any other parties. The interview
was restricted to questions incorporated in the questionnaire in this
study, with clarification being sought where the information provided
was unclear. Questions posed to the participants revolved around their
experiences, traditions, heritage, and viewpoints / experiences of the
mental health system and medical system. It was imperative that the
participants were encouraged to be honest and speak plainly about their
experiences. Moreover, the participants were informed that the interview
revolved around and was about their lived experience, not anybody
else’s. It was imperative that the view of the participants pertaining
to the world was captured, and their beliefs examined with clarification
being sought in instances where the information provided was unclear,
especially considering that the Mohegan tribe culture is different from
my culture. This was also complemented by remaining respectful to the
participants and other members of the Mohegan tribe, as well as
remaining polite in all conversations.
3.3 Reliability and Validity
Reliability revolves around the stability of findings in research or the
extent to which the findings can be replicated. It has been noted that
the mannerisms of the researcher can influence the opinions of the
participants or respondents in any research. To avoid such as scenario,
casual dressing was adopted throughout the interview processes, which
complemented the warm and inviting approach that was adopted and the
respect and politeness exhibited.
The participants were asked whether their experiences bore any meaning,
and if there was any, they were asked to expound on it. The Native
American POW WOW at Fort Shantok was held on 18th and 19th of August
2012 from 10AM-7PM. I was there for both days. This POW WOW was named
Wigwam Festival, which is a celebration of the harvest. This was an
extremely busy time of the year for the Mohegan Tribe members.
Contact was made contact through the Cultural Center at Mohegan Museum.
My contact person provided information on traditions, practices, and
customs. I met my contact person at the Communication Tent at this POW
WOW. This information included the customs and traditions of the Mohegan
tribe pertaining to proper etiquette. The information was captured
through note-taking, as well as making an audio recording with the
permission of the respondent so as to document the observations. This
information is incorporated in the 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
4.1 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. As noted, the key aim or
objective of this research is to outline the traditions, cultures,
beliefs, as well as the life experiences that the Mohegan tribe members
hold pertaining to mental health. These would be used as the basis for
advancing culturally competent healthcare especially pertaining to
mental health. It is well acknowledged that an individual’s customs
have a bearing on his or her perspective issues pertaining to his life,
as well as the remedies that he would seek. While quite a lot of
information will be provided as obtained from the field, a thematic
summary is presented at the end of the chapter. This summary presents
the aspects, ideas of themes that have been obtained from the field and
which may be related to mental health.
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.
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 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 involved in the dance
included Native American Singers who used instruments such as drums and
flutes. There was a Native American dance competition in which people
from different age groups could participate. 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, as well
as drum groups such as Unity of The Nations, Eagle Flight, Mystic River,
Silver Cloud and Rez Dogs.
The Wigwam Festival was also attended by the Chief of Mohegan Tribe, as
well as many elders. 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 i.e. 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. An individual is elevated into the position of a chief
only when he garners a clear majority of votes. Most of the tribal
chiefs are male. However, it is noteworthy that an individual must be of
the appropriate ancestral lineage so as to become a chief in the Mohegan
Chief Lynn Malerba became Chief of the Mohegan Tribe in August 2010 and
is the only female Chief of this tribe in history thus far. Chief
Malerba was voted in lifetime Chief of the Mohegan Tribe. She 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
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 that I attended in the State of Maine, New
Hampshire, and Connecticut. There were many vendors who sold Native
American regalia.
Each tribe wears its own colors and has its 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
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
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 on
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
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 –
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: 20th 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 1952-1970
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. She worked in that museum
until the time she passed on in November 2005, at her home in Mohegan
Hill at the age of 106 (The Mohegan Tribe, 2009c). Gladys is seen as one
of the most influential women of the Mohegan Tribe, thanks to her
immense contribution to culture, medicine, arts and language of the
Mohegan tribe. These 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 the 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).
Interviews with participants
The next phase of my research study was interviewing Mohegan Tribe
members in their individual homes.
Participant #1
Participant #1 is a 48-year-old male who resides in Massachusetts,
approximately one hour away from the Mohegan reservation. He is an
engineer and is employed at a locksmith company. He reports that his
mother is of Italian descent and his deceased father was a Mohegan
Indian. He could recall visiting family members on the Mohegan
reservation as a child. The participant is also a drummer for the
Mohegan tribe, and has is charged with the clearance of trees away from
structures on the Mohegan Tribe land before the Wigwam Festival takes
place every year.
“I have been doing this for years. Everyone, irrespective of his
social class, 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 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 every man was good irrespective of the color of their
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
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
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 stated that 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
Question 7: “The Wigwam 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 stressed up. 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
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 thanks to the changes that have
occurred in my life since I was 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 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
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. He is an active member of the U.S. Armed Forces and 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. He plans to get married within two years to his
girlfriend who he met 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. The following is an excerpt of what he had to say.
“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 is
that 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, their spirit and legend is still alive.
There are not many elders left. Therefore, it is imperative that the new
generation continues 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 that 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 thankful to my fiancé 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
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.
Thematic representation of the findings from Wigwam festival and
As much as quite a lot of information was provided during the
interviews and during the Wigwam festivals, it is evident that there are
varied things that the Mohegan tribe holds in high esteem. Of course,
there are variations in the ideas of people as pertaining to the esteem
with which they regard these aspects. Nevertheless, it is evident that
these things have a bearing on the people’s perception of any efforts
that would be made to assist them in case they are suffering from mental
illness. These themes may be categorized into a number of groups.
Importance of family and the community at large
From the information derived or given by the participants, it is evident
that the family, both extended and nuclear, is held with high esteem in
the Mohegan tribe. Participant #1 underlines the importance of the
nuclear and extended family in the lives of Mohegan tribe members when
he states that, they work together as one family. He stresses that
according to the native culture, all people are related to each other
and are children of one God. In fact, the first participant acknowledges
that he takes pride in the Wigwam celebrations as it brings his people
together, not to mention the fact that the festival is family oriented.
These sentiments are repeated by the third participant (Participant #3),
who states that in instances where one of the family members needed
something, they did not have to think twice about offering a helping
hand. He goes ahead to register his appreciation to his fiancée for
lending her support and assisting him in his search for help for his
post-traumatic stress. It is the second participant (participant #2) who
cements the role of the family in mental health care. The participant
states that while she seeks traditional remedies for her stress, she
seeks the advice of the extended family on the remedies that would be
appropriate for her. She seems to echo the statement by the first
participant to the effect that in the tribe, they seek guidance from
within, rather than from the outside.
Preferences of remedies for mental ailments
This is one of the areas in which the views of all participants from the
Mohegan tribe seem to converge. All participants seem to prefer
nontraditional remedies for their stress and mental health issues.
Participant #1 states that he chooses non-conventional remedies for his
stress. He expounds that he prays and meditates in instances where he is
stressed up. He has even gone to the extent of visiting the native Sweat
lodges from where he feels his peace return in instances where a certain
area of his life is troubling him. On the same note, he undertakes
smudging, which is a method of purifying himself. The use of
nontraditional methods in dealing with mental health issues is echoed by
the second participant, who states that she consults the medicine woman
for herbal remedies. She also states that she de-stresses herself
through isolating herself in a quiet area, as well as undertaking
purification using sweat lodges, which are known to assist people to
live centered lives.
Ideas on the importance of cultural competence of the healthcare
The three participants are also in agreement as to the importance of the
therapist having some knowledge about the customs, culture, traditions
and values of the Mohegan tribe. In fact, they seem to underline
dissatisfaction or feeling insecure when attending therapies of
individuals who do not have this knowledge. The first participant
(Participant #1), while not stating out-rightly that about his being
spiteful of therapists who have no knowledge of the Mohegan tribe’s
culture and traditions, he states that he would be open to speaking to a
therapist who has experience in working with the native people in case
he needed such help. Participant #2, while acknowledging that her
therapist was not a native, stated that she was willing to learn. That
is what may have cemented the relationship between Participant #2 and
the therapist. In addition, the therapist was willing to allow the
participant to cleanse her office and perform her rituals before they
started the session. On the same note, the therapist has taken up the
participant’s rituals and carries them out before seeing her clients.
While this may be seen as going overboard, the taking up of the
participant’s rituals may have endeared her to the clients. She
cements this notion by stating that many people would not return to a
therapist who exhibited ignorance on the customs, culture, traditions
and values of the native people.
Colors and their meanings
One thing that bears quite a lot of meaning for the Mohegan tribe
members is color. Every color is known to have some meaning and is
differentiated as for the gender that can wear clothing of such color.
As it was revealed during the festival, every tribe wears its own colors
and incorporates its own regalia. For the Mohegan tribe, women wear red,
which is a representation of life. Male leaders may also wear the color
as a symbol of the power of life force that come with it. It is worth
noting that the color is also thought to connect the people to Mother
Earth or nature. Color blue, on the other hand, is thought to be a
representation of the sky and spirit, and is mostly worn by men. Most
noteworthy, however, is color black, which to the Mohegan tribe is a
representation of death. It is usually painted on war masks as a symbol
of death. In instances where it is mixed with red, the mixture would be
a representation of life and death. Other colors used include green and
brown, although they have not been assigned any meaning.
These four aspects have been singled out as some of the most crucial
aspects or ideas obtained from the interviews with the participants and
research during the Wigwam festival. It is worth noting that as much as
they may form a fundamental aspect of mental health, they are not
exhaustive of the crucial customs that the Mohegan tribe members may
hold. In fact, advancing culturally competent mental healthcare services
to Mohegan tribe members would involve going far and beyond the simple
comprehension of these aspects. More knowledge would be gained through
interactions with the people in the course of advancing services to
them. This, however, does not undermine their importance in the
propagation of culturally competent mental healthcare services. They
form a foundation on which anybody hoping to excel in advancing such
services to the Mohegan tribe members must base his or her interaction
and services to them.
Chapter Five
5.0 Discussion, recommendations 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 have 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).
The Wigwam festival and the interviews with the three participants has
underlined the things or aspects to which the mental healthcare
professional should pay attention. It is evident that the Mohegan tribe
members hold these things in high esteem. Many staff development models
known to address diversity lay their emphasis on the importance of
having knowledge pertaining to culturally specific information such as
communication patterns, symbols, rituals, religious, practices, health
and illness, as well as beliefs and behaviors. In general, many
healthcare institutions operate under the assumption that having some
knowledge pertaining to specific groups and cultures enhances the ease
with which the staff appreciates and respects differences within the
workforce. In addition, it enhances the capacity to interact effectively
with individuals from other cultures or tribes, as would be the case for
the Mohegan tribe. However, it is worth noting that occasional classes
and presentations would not be an adequate replacement or fulfillment
for the need that exists for cultural education. The need for cultural
competency or the challenge of comprehending diversity does not stop
with learning or knowing the do’s and don’ts’ pertaining to a
specific cultural group. The development of diversity awareness and
cultural sensitivity is an extremely complex, as well as ongoing process
that starts with the healthcare provider comprehending his or her own
history, as well as the manner in which it influences his views and
perspectives. Scholars have increasingly underlined the importance of
gender roles, family structure, values and beliefs as they relate to the
providers’ clients and families. In addition, they are examined as
factors that service providers encounter, as well as the manner in which
they impact on the service delivery.
The second step in developing diversity awareness and cultural
sensitivity involves the provider comprehending how different and/ or
similar factors would impact on the perceptions of the client or even
their family. This involves among other things enhancing one’s
knowledge on specific cultural practices and norms.
Third, the mental health professional must engage in the process of
finding a common ground between his perspectives or perceptions of life
and those of the client. This process allows the healthcare provider to
begin an effective and appropriate intervention.
In essence, it is imperative that training programs on cultural
awareness provide some insight on the manner in which service providers
would go beyond the cultural gap that exists between their distinctive
identity and the uniquely different identities of the client.
The culture of any tribe includes the beliefs, customs, values,
ethnicity, as well as race of a people. It involves the history that
results to a people’s social, economic and political status. Culture
defines the behaviors and roles of the people. Scholars note that these
aspects have an impact on the willingness of an individual or the people
to seek, as well as receive healthcare services. They put a lot of
emphasis on the fact that remedies and treatments, including rituals and
ceremonies would be helpful so that the healthcare professional can
offer services that are culturally appropriate. It is worth noting that
in instances where mental health services are culturally competent both
in delivery and approach, the services offered are shown to be more
effective. This is especially considering that the culture of
individuals (including patients) governs their perspective and ideas
pertaining to what may be termed as normal or abnormal. In addition, it
shapes their comprehension as to what may have caused certain
disturbances in emotion and behavior, the description of the
disturbances, as well as the remedies that would be prescribed for the
disturbances. Scholars note that mental health providers who are
culturally competent respond to the needs of the patients with the
comprehension that they are influenced by their own culture, while using
the culture of the patient in the treatment process.
In examining the Mohegan tribe members, it is evident that a family
systems’ (centered) therapy would be more applicable in advancing
mental health care services than the Rogerian therapy. The Rogerian
therapy revolves around the therapist’s entry or indulgence into the
distinctive and phenomenological world of the client. The therapist
would not point out any contradictions in mirroring the client’s
world, nor would he try to get into the unconscious. Instead, he or she
would be focusing on the immediate conscious experience of the client
(Arthur & King, 2007). Therapy has often been defined as the process by
which an individual is freed and obstacles eliminated so as to allow for
normal growth and development, as well as allow the client to be
self-directed and independent. In therapy, an individual would
eliminate rigidity and adopt an element of fluidity (Arthur & King,
2007). In this case, the therapist must create an environment that
promotes individual growth, in which case he or she must exhibit
empathetic understanding, incorporate unconditional positive regard, and
be congruent (genuine). Empathy would revolve around comprehension of an
individual’s feelings, as well as personal meanings as experienced by
the individual and conveying this message to the individual.
A family systems therapy stems from family systems theory which revolves
around the notion that there is no way an individual can be comprehended
in isolation, rather his behavior has to be interpreted with regard to
the family system in which he or she grew or belongs (Arthur & King,
2007). A family, according to this theory, was seen as systems that are
composed of interrelated objectives or elements, incorporate regular
interactions, show coherent behaviors, and are interdependent on each
other (Arthur & King, 2007). Bowen opined that every member in a family
was governed by rules that had to be respected and had a role that he or
she was supposed to play. It was expected that members of a system would
respond in a certain manner to each other in line with their role as
determined by agreements pertaining to their relationships. Patterns
developed within the system’s boundaries as the behavior of an
individual is shaped by and shapes the behavior of other people in the
family in predictable manner (Arthur & King, 2007). Nevertheless, the
fundamental rationale is that there exists an interdependence or
interrelationship between all components of the family. In essence, the
therapy interprets behavior not only in the individual but also in the
interactions that exist among the varied group members.
It is evident from the interviews with the participants, as well as
interactions with members of the Mohegan tribe in the festival that the
behavior of individuals was more or less influenced by the society
within which they lived. Their behavior, beliefs, norms and preferences
were more or less synchronized with only some slight variations among
them. It is worth noting that their ideas as to the importance of family
(including the extended family or the society at large) are similar. In
fact, they state that they look for advice as pertaining to the
appropriate remedies for mental ailments and stress from their families
and stressed that they look for guidance from within the tribe. On the
same note, the first participant underlined the fact that everyone,
irrespective of the social class, is considered to be related to others.
These statements underline the interconnectedness of the views,
perceptions and behaviors of the people in this society. In essence,
mental health care professionals would be best placed analyzing the
experiences or mental health issues of the patients with regard to the
larger society or the extended family within which they were brought up.
In addition, it has been noted that the Mohegan tribe members place a
lot of emphasis on knowledge of their culture or traditions as a
prerequisite for seeking the services of a healthcare professional.
While they may be open to having foreigners as their therapists, they
are a bit distrustful of individuals who have no knowledge of their way
of life and would rather seek such help from within. The second
participant notes that she sought help from other institutions only when
she was sure that such services were unavailable from within the
community. Even when she sought help from outside the community, she
established a relationship with her therapist a relationship that
allowed her to be carrying out her rituals in the therapist’s office.
While this may be interpreted as merely a way of seeking help from the
known or familiar, it should also be seen as an element of insecurity
that stems from years of oppression and injustices from other societies.
This has bred deep-rooted mistrust in the members of Mohegan tribe,
especially for individuals with whom they do not share similar cultural
norms, values and traditions. Advancing mental healthcare services to
them necessitates that an individual establish a common ground and
enhances an understanding of the history and experiences of the people,
as well as the meanings that they attach to varied things.
On the same note, the environment comes as one of the most crucial or
fundamental elements for the Mohegan tribe members. It is well noted
that the Wigwam Festival was held as a way of offering gratitude to
Mother Nature (or earth) for a bountiful harvest. Even more noteworthy
is the importance and the interpretations that they place on colors,
with specific meanings being assigned to certain colors. As noted, most
of them feel the need to perform rituals and cleanse the areas where
therapies take place before they start them. They also prefer areas
that are quite and with no disturbance. This underlines the importance
of the conditions of the environment under which the therapies take
place, as far as enhancing the quality of mental healthcare services is
concerned. In addition, the environment should be complemented through
the incorporation of the appropriate colors such as red, white or blue
and excluding black, which is seen as symbolizing death. This will
create a conducive environment for the provision of mental healthcare
services to the members of the Mohegan tribe and, therefore, allow for
the enhancement of mental health in the tribe.
5.2 Conclusion and Recommendations
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. Unfortunately, this may be propping the
belief on counselors on 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.
For the Mohegan tribe members, it is evident that they have varied
beliefs, values, customs and norms that have a bearing on their mental
health. These are the aspects that providers of mental healthcare should
pay attention to in order to endear themselves to the Mohegan tribe
members and enhance their service provision. First, it is acknowledged
that the views and perceptions of an individual are influenced by the
family (nuclear and extended), as well as the society within which he or
she grew. In essence, such views and perceptions have to be interpreted
according to or in line with the society within which the individual
grew. On the same note, it would be imperative that the providers of
mental healthcare also allow for the incorporation of family members in
the treatment process, not only as a means of offering emotional support
but also as a way of enhancing their knowledge on the things that could
be affecting the mental health of individuals (Anderson et al, 2003).
Second, it is imperative that mental healthcare providers examine the
environment within which they offer their services to the members of the
Mohegan tribe. It is noted that these people place a lot of emphasis not
only in the cleanliness (and “holiness”) of a place, but also the
conduciveness. Quiet and isolated places would be appropriate. This
should be complemented through the incorporation of the appropriate
colors whose meaning is in line with recovery and life or prosperity.
These would come in handy in enhancing the mental health of the
individuals in Mohegan tribe.
Three, the history of Mohegan tribe is rooted in conflict and oppression
from other societies, something that has bred mistrust among them
against outsiders or individuals who have no knowledge in their customs,
values and traditions. While the professional may not necessarily have
to be from the Mohegan tribe or even a Native American for that matter,
it is imperative that he or she exhibits some knowledge on their culture
or at least show some wilingness to learning them and even
internalizing them or even applying them in their areas of work. This
would create a rapport between patients and the professional, and endear
the professional to the patient, which would create an avenue for trust
and allow for enhanced service provision.
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
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 tribe?
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?
Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Research Subjects
PLEASE NOTE: NEC’s assurance for the protection of human subjects
prohibits the start of any research activity (including recruitment of
subjects) that has not been reviewed and approved by the IRB.
NOTE: Review of IRB proposals normally takes at least two weeks.
Approval or areas for revisions will be returned to the Director of the
Program who submitted the Proposal who will share the information with
the faculty instructor and/or student. Remember, research including
meeting participants, obtaining participant consent, collecting data,
etc. may not be done until you have received IRB approval.
To be completed by student: Today’s July 15, 2012
Tamara Kiernan
Department: Graduate and Professional Studies, Masters in Mental Health
Mailing Address: 212 Temple Avenue Old Orchard Beach, Maine 04064
Email Address: [email protected] Phone Number: (207) 205-7459
Title of Research Project: A Study of the Mohegan Tribe: A Research
Paper to Help Mental Health Professionals in Cultural Competency.
Anticipated Start Date * July 31, 2012 Anticipated End
September 25, 2012
Project Status Information(To be completed by student: Check One):
__X___ New Project
_ Continuation of Previously Approved Project
_ Modification to Previously Approved Project
Project Review Recommendation (To be completed by the faculty instructor
after review of documents – see levels of review on the last page –
check one):
__Exempt Status
___X__ Expedited Review
__Full Review
Faculty Signature (May be electronic):
Project Funding Information for sponsored projects (if applicable) (To
be completed by student in consultation with faculty instructor):
Funding Agency : N/A
Is human subjects’ certification required by sponsor?
YES _ NO _
If yes, notification of deadline
IRB Review by Other Institutions (if applicable) (To be completed by
student in consultation with faculty instructor):
If this proposal has been submitted to a review board at another
institution, provide the date of review and the board’s
recommendations. Please attach relevant correspondence.
Name of Institution
Date of Review
FOR IRB USE – completed by chair of IRB committee:
REC’D __
PROJECT AND SUBJECT INFORMATION (to be completed by student and reviewed
by faculty instructor before sending to IRB committee) – please be
brief but specific and include all required information:
A Study of the Mohegan Tribe: A Research Paper to Help Mental Health
Professionals in Cultural competency..
Project Description
This qualitative research study will use narrative inquiry to look at
the lives and lived experience of the Mohegan tribe. The purpose of the
study is to increase knowledge and understanding in the counseling
competence of multicultural issues and concerns in working with the
indigenous tribe of the Mohegan’s.
The research methodology of this study will be a narrative inquiry. A
narrative inquiry is a qualitative approach designed to acquire an
understanding of the lived experiences of the participants and concerns
to the subject of inquiry. In this research I will use open-ended
questions in an interview format that will allow the
subjects/participants to talk freely about their lived experiences. The
responses of the participants will be observed and documented in a
respectful manner. The intent of my study is to compare and interpret
four tribe member’s experiences and witness the traditions of the
tribe. I will be attending the Mohegan tribe Pow Wow on August 18th and
19th, 2012. This will assist me in learning the ways of the Mohegan
tribe by observation and allowing myself to participate in their
culture. The differences between elders and younger tribe members and
their views will be observed and compared.
Research Question(s)
The purpose of the study will be to gain insight into the ways of the
Mohegan tribe. This will allow me to increase knowledge and
understanding of the tribe’s culture, traditions, and customs and to
be more culturally competent in working with this indigenous group. In
addition, this research will come in handy for mental health clinicians
especially those who encounter people from the Mohegan tribe as they
will become aware of cultural differences, as well as the values that
these people hold dear. This will assist them to help their clients in
appropriate care and treatment planning. Education is essential in
working with any special population.
Time frame for data collection (remember, you cannot conduct any
research without IRB approval)
July 31, 2012-September 25, 2012
Site of Research
I will arrange for the use of confidential space for each participant
individually. Each of the participants will be age eighteen or older. I
will be attending the Mohegan Pow Wow on August 18th and 19th, 2012 and
will be observing and taking notes of the tribe’s traditions and
practices in the Powwow Festivities and the Wigwam festivities. My
interviews with the four tribe members will be done at their individual
homes in a confidential space conducive to the interviews.
Describe your proposed participants. Be sure to include how many
participants will be involved, their age(s), sex, location, and any
other important distinguishing demographic information.
There will be four adult participants ages eighteen and older and a mix
of male and female members from the Mohegan tribe.
Time Commitment for Each Participant
The researcher expects that the interview will take one to one and a
half hours for each participant. In some cases this may take longer to
allow participants to complete their interview or to allow the
researcher to sek clarity on the issues that may not be clear.
Compensation – Indicate, if applicable, the amount and form of
compensations (i.e. cash, course requirement, mileage, etc.): N/A
Informed Consent – describe how informed consent is to be obtained
from the subjects as well as from the administration in the site under
consideration for this study.
The New England College Informed Consent for Research Study Forms will
be used for each participant. Once the individual has voluntarily agreed
to participate in the study, the researcher will provide a copy of the
Informed Consent document to the participant and read aloud each item on
the document. Once the document has been read aloud, the researcher will
ask the participant if they have any questions regarding the information
that was just read to them. The researcher will then inform the
participants that they may withdraw their informed consent at any time
without hesitation. Once all questions from the participant have been
sufficiently answered by the researcher, the participants will sign the
Informed Consent document. The researcher will then make a copy of the
document to be provided to participants.
Provide a copy of the informed consent documents (participants and
administration consent forms) you will use in your research.
Please see attached.
Provide copies of ALL data collection tools (surveys, interview
questions, observation protocols, etc.) that you propose to use in your
study. Attach to the end of this proposal.
Please see attached.
Describe how confidentiality of participant data will be assured as it
is collected, and, if it is retained, over the length of time it is to
be retained and where. (Standard is 5 years in a secure, locked cabinet
maintained by the researcher. All data is destroyed five years after the
conclusion of the project.)
Confidentiality will be maintained through avoidance of using the real
names of the participants. Instead, the participants will be coded as
Participant #1, Participant #2, Participant #3 and participant #4. No
information from this study will be discussed or presented with the
exception of New England College officials. The researcher will maintain
records of this research for five years after its completion in a secure
location. After the five year period, all data collected for this
research will be destroyed. Initials of participants will be utilized on
interview forms only. No names will be on interview forms.
Describe foreseeable risks which may be encountered by the subjects and
the justification for the project in terms of benefits to be realized
which may outweigh the risks and steps you will take to reduce any
potential risks. Be careful to explain how you will manage the risks,
what steps will you take.
Courtesy, sensitivity, and respect will be presented during interview
questions. Privacy and confidentiality will be maintained. Open-ended
questions will be utilized to gather information from the view point of
the interviewee. If discomfort and anxiety could potentially arise from
discussing issues, appropriate intervention will be provided through the
Tribal Health and Human Services Department 13 Crow Hill Road
Uncasville, CT. 06382 1-860-862-6277 or Tribal Council 1-860-862-6100.
The undersigned accepts responsibility for the study, including
adherence to policies relative to the protection of the rights and
welfare of patients/subjects participating in this study. If the
researcher is not a faculty member, then s/he must obtain the signature
of his/her research instructor below. In the case of non-faculty
protocols, both the Faculty Sponsor and the researcher share
responsibility for adherence.
Signature of Researcher (may be electronic) Tamara Kiernan
__ Faculty Student ___X_ Student
_ Staff
Signature of Faculty Member (may be electronic)
Return this form to the Chair of the Institutional Review Board
IRB #: __
Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Research Subjects
To be completed by student:
Researcher(s): Tamara Kiernan
Department: Graduate and Professional Studies Master’s in Mental
Health Counseling
Research Project A Study of the Mohegan Tribe: Traditions,
Customs, and Ways of Life
Date Submitted: July 15, 2012
To be completed by faculty sponsor (see descriptions at end of this
proposal form):
Proposal meets eligibility for:
_ exempt status (Add you reason for this request)
Generally all our projects are expedited Reviews (see definitions)
__X__ expedited review
_ full review
Faculty Sponsor Signature (May be electronic):
To be completed by IRB Committee:
IRB Decision:
_ Exempt status is granted.
_Expedited Review is granted.
_ Protocol is approved.
_ Protocol is conditionally approved. The following conditions must
be met before data collection begins:
_ Protocol is not approved for the following reasons
_Full Review is required.
_ Protocol is approved.
_ Protocol is conditionally approved. The following conditions must
be met before data collection begins:
_ Protocol is not approved for the following reasons:
___ ___
Signature of IRB reviewer (Chair) (may be electronic) Date
Reviewers: __ (print)
Reviewer: Please add additional comments, if necessary, to this form.
IV. Levels of Review
Exempt Status: Research activities in which the only involvement of
human subjects will be in one of the following categories of research
are normally exempt from full IRB review protocols, but must be reported
to the IRB to determine if the activity is exempt.
1. Research conducted in established or commonly established
educational settings, involving normal educational practices. This
includes research on regular and special education instructional
strategies or research on the effectiveness of instructional techniques,
curricula, or classroom management methods.
2. Research involving the use of educational tests (cognitive,
diagnostic, aptitude, achievement), survey procedures, interview
procedures, or observations of public behavior. This exemption does not
apply if information is obtained in such a manner that human subjects
can be identified or if any disclosure of the human subjects’
responses could reasonably place the subject at risk of criminal or
civil liability, or damage financial standing, employability or
3. Research involving existing data or documents that are publicly
available or if the investigator records the information in a manner
that human subjects cannot be directly identified or through identifiers
linked to the subjects.
Expedited Status: Research activities that present no more than a
minimal risk to human subjects and involve only procedures listed in one
or more of the following categories may be reviewed by the IRB through
the expedited review procedure. The expedited review procedure may not
be used if the identification of subjects and/or their responses would
reasonably put the subjects at risk of criminal or civil liability or be
damaging to the subjects’ financial standing, employability,
insurability, reputation or be stigmatizing.
These are the categories that qualify for expedited reviews:
1. Clinical studies of drug and medical devices only when either
research on drugs for which an investigational new drug application (21
CFR Part 312) is not required or research on medical devices for which
an investigational device exemption is not required or the medical
device is cleared/approved for marketing and the medical device is being
used in accordance with its cleared/approved labeling.
2. Collection of blood samples by finger stick, heel stick, ear stick
or venipuncture, in amounts not exceeding 450 milliliters in an
eight-week period and no more often than two times per week from
subjects 18 years of age or older and who are in good health and not
pregnant or known to be pregnant.
3. Prospective collection of biological specimens for research purposes
by noninvasive means. Examples: (a) hair and nail clippings in a
nondisfiguring manner (b) deciduous teeth at time of exfoliation or if
routine patient care indicates a need for extraction (c) permanent
teeth if routine patient care indicates a need for extraction (d)
excreta and external secretions (including sweat) (e) uncannulated
saliva collected either in an unstimulated fashion or simulated by
chewing gumbase or wax by applying a dilute citric solution to the
tongue (f) placenta removed at delivery (g) amniotic fluid obtained at
the time of rupture of the membrane prior to or during labor (h) supra-
and subgingival dental plaque and calculus, provided the collection
procedure is not more invasive than routine prophylactic scaling of the
teeth and the process is accomplished in accordance with accepted
prophylactic techniques (i) mucosal and skin cells collected by buccal
scraping or swab, skin swab, or mouth washings (j) sputum collected
after saline mist nebulization.
4. Collection of data through noninvasive procedures (not involving
general anesthesia or sedation) routinely employed in clinical practice,
excluding procedures involving x-rays or microwaves. This includes the
use of physical sensors that are applied either to the surface of the
body or at a distance and do not involve input of matter or significant
amounts of energy into the subject or an invasion of the subjects’
privacy. It also includes such procedures as weighing, testing sensory
acuity, electrocardiography, electroencephalography, thermography,
detection of naturally occurring radioactivity, diagnostic echography
and electroretinography.
5. Research involving materials (data, documents, records or specimens)
that have been collected or will be collected solely for nonresearch
purposes (such as medical treatment or diagnosis).
6. Collection of data from voice, video, digital, or image recordings
made for research purposes.
7. Research on individual or group characteristics or behavior, such as
studies of perception, cognition, game theory or test development, where
the investigator does not manipulate subjects’ behavior and the
research will not involve stress to the subjects.
Full Review: All research activities that do not qualify for exempt or
expedited status will be presented to the IRB for full review.
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
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?
New England College
Informed Consent for Research Study
As a requirement of the New England College Master’s in Graduate and
Professional Studies Master’s in Mental Health Counseling program
student’s are expected to develop a research study in which data
collected may be included in a Capstone project or written and/or
publishable work (such as a paper for a knowledgeable area or journal)
or used in a presentation.
Purpose of Research:
The purpose of the study will be to gain insight into the ways of the
Mohegan tribe. This will allow me to increase knowledge and
understanding of the tribe’s culture, traditions, and customs and to
enhance cultural competence of mental healthcare providers with this
indigenous group.
Selection of Subjects:
You are being asked to participate in this research because of your
experience as a member of the Mohegan tribe. Your participation would be
extremely helpful in my research because of your experiences and
knowledge about your tribe.
General Experimental Procedures:
This qualitative research study will use narrative inquiry to look at
the lives and lived experience of the Mohegan tribe. The purpose of the
study is to increase knowledge and understanding in the counseling
competence of multicultural issues and concerns in working with the
indigenous Mohegan tribe.
Confidentiality and Anonymity:
Confidentiality of identity is strictly maintained. No identifiable
information will be presented or discussed. Your real name will not be
used, rather you will be assigned a code so as to protect your identity.
I will retain records of this research for five years after its
completion in a secure location. After the five year period all data
collected from this research will be destroyed.
You need to know that there are a few exceptions to the rules of
confidentiality that we just discussed. If, for example, you are ever
involved in a court action in which the judge orders me to produce all
data that I collected regarding you during this study, I would have to
turn the information over to the judge. In addition, if you indicated in
any way that you may be a danger to yourself or others, I would have to
take steps to ensure your safety and / or the safety of anyone else that
may be involved. If issues of immediate clinical risk should arise in
the process of working with subjects in research projects, the
researcher will judge how best to bring the interview to a conclusion,
and then insure that you as a participant receive any support needed, as
Cultural and Community Programs/The Mohegan Tribe 1-(860)-862-6277
Benefits of the Study:
The purpose of the study will be to gain insight into the ways of the
Mohegan tribe. This will allow me to increase knowledge and
understanding of the tribe’s culture, traditions, and customs and to
be more culturally competent in working with this indigenous group. I
will become aware of any biases while I am doing my research. In
learning about this tribe I will be more beneficial in counseling
techniques and treatment planning.
Risk / Discomforts to Subjects:
Discomforts that could potentially arise include discomfort in
discussing issues, emotions, and feelings on topic. Appropriate
interventions will be provided should this occur. As a reminder, you may
stop the interview process or withdraw from the process at any time. The
researcher will decide how best to bring the interview to a conclusion
and ensure the participant receives support as needed.
We appreciate your participation in this very important part of learning
for the researcher! Your signature below indicates that you have had
this fully explained to you to your level of satisfaction, that you have
had the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have, and that you
are giving your informed consent to participate in the research study as
described above. You may withdraw your consent in writing at any time,
should you change your decision after signing this form. If you wish
further information regarding your rights as a research subject, you may
contact my faculty advisor, Paul L. Dann, Ph.D., in the Graduate and
Professional Studies Department by calling 603-428-2000 and asking to
speak with Dr. Dann. Thank you again for participating in this
“I understand that my signature allows the research student, Tamara
Kiernan from New England College, to interview me in person. This
information will be shared only with the student’s instructor, class,
and faculty. Confidentiality will be strictly adhered to, and the
documents will be destroyed according to the following plan: your
responses and my notes from the interview will be maintained in a
secure, locked cabinet for 5 years and then destroyed.
Signature: ___
Researcher’s Signature: (Tamara Kiernan)
Agency Signature:
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 –
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: 20th 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 1952-1970
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.
I affirm that this work is entirely my own, except where the words or
ideas of other writers are specifically acknowledged according to
accepted citation conventions. This work has not been submitted for any
other course at New England College or any other institution. I have
revised, edited and proofread this paper.
I certify that I am the author of this paper and that any assistance I
received in its preparation is fully acknowledged and fully disclosed in
this paper (dissertation). I have also cited any sources (footnotes or
endnotes) from which I used data, ideas, theories, or words, whether
quoted directly or paraphrased. I further acknowledge that this paper
has been prepared by me.