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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

Building strong working alliances with American Indian Families.

Author: Dykeman, C; Nelson, J.R; Appleton, V.
Author Background:
Date 7/1/95
Type Journal
Journal Title: Social-Work-in-Education.
Volume/Pages 17(3) p. 148-58
Subject Matter Native Americans
Abstract A strong working alliance between school and home is essential for positive student outcomes. Such alliances are based on a spirit of respect and a desire for collaboration. Given their unique roles and training, school social workers,counselors, and psychologists play a pivotal role in the formation of a strong school-home alliance. With American Indian families, this alliance can be developed only through a sound understanding of the cultural characteristics ofthese families. Only through such understanding will stereotypes of American Indian families be replaced by more accurate and positive perspectives. To help school social workers, counselors, and psychologists promote strongschool-home working alliances, this article outlines six key cultural characteristics of American Indian families: geographical isolation, cultural heterogeneity, extended family, inclusive role for children, group primacy, andtraumatic educational history. In addition, the implications of these characteristics for effective consultative and psychotherapeutic activities are discussed. (Journal abstract.)