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San Diego State University

Native American Scholars and Collaborators Projects

Walking in Two Worlds

Indigenous Americans come from cultures rich in traditional knowledge, survival, resilience, and healing.

Most Indigenous Americans experience "living in two worlds," that of their traditional or tribal culture and that of the dominant culture.

Although many other groups straddle two cultures, for Indigenous Americans, the differences across the two worlds are vast, encompassing differences in basic values, ways of being with one another, belief systems, as well as in languages and behaviors.

This biculturalism reflects and requires maintaining language, oral culture/traditions, and spirituality within a dominant society.

As school psychologists working with indigenous communities, it is critical to have a fundamental knowledge of the ecosystemic (micro/macro) factors that contribute to the current spiritual, social-emotional, cognitive, and physical needs and resilience of the youth, families, and communities, as well as that need to walk and live in "two worlds."


Photo: Brent Toadlena and Kester Tapaha at SDSU Pow Wow
Brent Toadlena and Kester Tapaha at SDSU Pow Wow