Native American Culture

Preferred Term: Tribal Name

Cultural and Family Structure

Demographics • 1.37% of the total US population
Symbols • Feathers, depicted in many, many ways, are symbols of prayers, marks of honor or sources of ideas
Clothing or Amulets •      Do not casually move, examine, or admire medicine bag

•      If removal required, allow patient or family to handle it, keep it close to person and replace as soon as possible.

Language • American-English, French, Spanish, Native American Languages
Communication •      Do not interrupt speaker

•      Long pauses are part of conversation

•      Tone expresses urgency; when imperative command required, be direct, emphatic, clear, and calm

•      In making request, explain why it is needed; be personable and polite

•      Loudness associated with aggression

Decision­-making •      Autonomy highly valued; do not assume spouse would make important decision

•      Includes responsibility to community, family and tribe

Family structure •      May be either matriarchal or patriarchal

•      Elders respected

•      Children not encouraged to find help outside family

Food practices/ beliefs •      Hospitality and respect may lead patient to sharing hospital food with visiting family and friends as well as consume food brought by visitors

•      Nutritional guidance should respect religious choices and incorporate them; May believe that when food is blessed it is no fonger harmful

Greetings • Light touch handshake
Nonverbal •      Respect communicated by avoiding eye contact

•      Keep respectful distance

Spokesperson •      Generally, individuals speak for themselves, family members may speak on behalf of person who is ill

•      Give information and let family know providers need to know family’s wishes for care/treatment; let spokesperson emerge from family

•      Spokesperson may not be decision maker

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