“ … Inside of My Home, I Was Getting a Full Dose of Culture”: Exploring the Ecology of Indigenous Peoples’ Development Through Stories

Jillian Fish, Payton K. Counts, Darien J. Ruzzicone, Ighedosa E. Ogbeide, Moin Syed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

According to the Indigenist ecological systems model (Fish et al., 2022; Fish & Syed, 2018), Indigenous Peoples’ histories and cultures are critical to their development. However, the inclusion of Indigenous Peoples’ histories and cultures in their environments is complicated by settler colonialism—a societal structure that seeks to eliminate such important contexts. The exclusion of Indigenous Peoples’ histories and cultures in their environments can have adverse effects on psychological functioning (Fryberg & Townsend, 2008; Wexler, 2009). Despite this, Indigenous Peoples continue to access their histories and cultures throughout their development to survive and thrive (Vizenor, 2008). Though the Indigenist ecological systems model offers theoretical insight into the histories and cultures that contour Indigenous Peoples’ environments, there are no empirical studies that examine its most basic claims. The present study addresses this gap in the literature by exploring how historical and cultural contexts intersect with the environments that affect Indigenous Peoples’ development. Through a QUANT–qual embedded mixed-methods design, our analyses of Indigenous Peoples’ digital story narratives (n = 73) suggest that immediate (e.g., parents, peers, school) and distant (e.g., media, government, policies) environments are the most salient to Indigenous Peoples’ development. Culture figured into Indigenous Peoples’ immediate environments to a moderate extent and distant environments to a prominent extent. History did too, but to a lesser extent. We discuss the implications of these findings for Indigenous well-being and recommendations for creating a more equitable developmental landscape via partnerships with Indigenous Peoples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-475
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Volume93
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice

Keywords

  • Indigenous Peoples
  • culture
  • ecological systems
  • human development
  • narratives

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