There have not been many empirical studies that unearth the relation between the cultural identity of Native American adolescents and their participation in traditional cultural practices. Schweigman, Soto, Wright & Unger (2011) try to fill this gap in the existing literature…
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The article also points out the need to promote Native American identity through education, cultural activities, tribal practices and tribal enculturation.
The researchers have taken special care to ensure validity and reliability in their study through well-designed survey procedure. Out of the 1,265 completed surveys the researchers eliminate all those participants who fail to meet the selection criteria for the study. Therefore, the current study is limited to 945 participants of whom 529 are females and 416 males. The dependant variable of ethnic identity is measured making use of the 12-item Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM) whereas participation in cultural activities is assessed through exploratory factor analysis. The associations between participation in cultural activities and ethnic identity are examined through linear regression.
The results of the study show how cultural activities play a pivotal role in moulding ethnic identity among Native American youth. Participants who engage in pow-wows, sweat lodge, drum group or roundhouse dance report higher levels of Native American ethnic identity. Similarly urban youth demonstrate greater levels of ethnic identity than reservation youth. Among female participants the researchers find a significant association between having higher grades and Native American identity and the article emphasises the need to “find ways to sustain strong ethnic identity” among native Americans (Schweigman, Soto, Wright & Unger, 2011, p. 347). However, one needs to take into account the limitations of the study as well. The results of the study cannot be applied to the general Native American population in California as the sample is cross-sectional and not randomly selected to represent either urban or reservation population. Similarly, one can never undermine the possibility of biased information as the survey
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