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Career and Academic Guidance for American Indian and Alaska Native Youth. ERIC Digest


American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students strive to maintain their heritage while learning to be successful in the dominant culture. Although academic and career success are worthy goals, AI/AN students can pay a heavy price to achieve them. To provide effective and responsive career and academic guidance for AI/AN youth, teachers and counselors must be aware of underlying cultural values and beliefs that can affect students' academic and career choices. This digest briefly describes demographics and trends in AI/AN education, cultural values and beliefs that provide a context for education and counseling, and responsive career and academic guidance practices for working with AI/AN students. Brief statistics highlight the educational progress made in recent decades in terms of AI/AN college enrollment and graduation, but also point out concerns related to low educational attainment and academic achievement. Three important traditional values--all related to wellness as harmony in spirit, mind, and body--are discussed, along with implications for counseling and guidance: (1) giving and sharing of goods, resources, skills, and cash with family and community; (2) group cohesiveness or "glory to the group" and possible conflicts with individualistic rewards; and (3) adequate time to observe and reflect prior to participation and communication, and need to accommodate student participation in traditional tribal ceremonies. Seven other recommendations for effective and responsive counseling are listed. (Contains 15 references.) (SV)

  • Contributor: Shutiva, Charmaine L. Corp Author Eric Clearinghouse on Rural Education, Small Schools, Charleston W. V.
  • Date Published: 2001

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