Friday, April 29, 2011

Nature vs. Nurture; Appreciating the History of a Culture

Allison - SWK 280

Having a Native American speaker in class last week was a very interesting lesson for me. Her story telling method of teaching caught my attention and made me more curious about her life. I took from what she told us about her life that she is a very wise woman with a lot of knowledge in her heritage. The speaker described that the best way to appreciate the Native American culture is to understand their history. The more people understand any group’s history, the more they can appreciate what that group’s ancestors went through to be where they are today. I thought it was interesting that even though the speaker had been raised by a European American couple, she still recognized her Indian traits, not only physically, but mentally. Once she learned more about her heritage, she could relate to her Indian way of living, a lot of her life was given meaning. She understood the reason why she had struggled in school was because her heritage caused her to learn through storytelling. For example, she learned that as an American Indian person she may have learned better if her teachers had used story telling rather than more standard educational methods. I think this is a great example of nature vs. nurture. Despite her being raised in a dominantly white environment, her Indian traits were not completed covered up by her white upbringing. I think all people should have a chance to learn their own unique cultural heritage. This helps increase self understanding and appreciation for one’s own culture.


  1. I really enjoyed reading what you had learned from this speaker that you had last week. From my time in Mexico, I have also found that knowing the history about the population that you are working with will really benefit you in so many ways. Knowing the history of a certain populations and understanding the struggles that they have gone through, as a whole is very important.

    I have learned how important it is for the populations of the world to hold some sort of tie to their heritage. Their heritage makes them who they are, and in many cases can be a very important aspect of the person. Just like the Native American speaker you guys had in class.

    I really enjoy stories like this that show that even though a person is raised in a certain environment they have not been assimilated totally to that culture and they are able to relate back to their heritage and find strength within it!

  2. Great reflection on our class experiences with American Indian speaker. She taught me the importance of knowing my ancestry and that researching a client's culture and history may be the best way to establish rapport. We learned this from Nancy and also in the book, but it seemingly means a lot more when some one like our speaker shares her experiences with you. Both herself and another speaker that we had (in families and groups) mentioned what it means to be interested in that client's culture. It's a part of being a culturally grounded social worker testing out your hypothesis and proving it through sizing. This was a great experience for me because I had previous gentle stereotypes in my head from my experiences with the native culture and some of my experiences with them were similar, and some were not.