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Native American Spiritual Beliefs Essay

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I have decided to discuss the topic of Spirituality in Native Americans. To address this topic, I will first discuss what knowledge I have gained about Native Americans. Then I will discuss how this knowledge will inform my practice with Native Americans. To conclude, I will talk about ethical issues, and dilemmas that a Social Worker might face working with Native American people.
In approaching this topic, I first realized that I need to look up some general information about Native Americans in the United States. According to the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), there are approximately 564 federally recognized tribes in the United States today (Who we are, n.d). This group does not include tribes that do not have federal recognition but are recognized at the state level.
Spirituality
Over the history of our country Native Americas have long since been oppressed in trying to practice their Native Religions freely, and openly. It wasn’t until the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) of 1978, which “acknowledged the unique nature of Native spirituality” (Limb & Hodge, 2008, p. 618). This law stated that the policy of the United States would be to protect and preserve the right of Native Americans to believe and practice their traditional religions. This was the first major step in the United States history that sought to protect Native Americans and their rights to self-expression of spirituality.
Defining Native American Spirituality
Like many Americans I initially grouped all Native Americans into one melting pot. During the Haskell Indian Nations cultural day, on June 21,st 2010, the speakers talked about how different tribes are not the same; they have different beliefs...


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...moting Wellness Through Balance and Harmony. The Journal of Contemporary Social Services. 98(4), 615-622
Limb, G., Hodge, D., (2009). Helping child welfare workers improve cultural competency by utilizing spiritual genograms with Native American families and children. Children and Youth Services Review, 32, 239-245
Waller, M., (2006). Strengths of Indigenous Peoples. In D. Saleebey (Eds.), The Strengths Perspective in Social Work Practice Forth Edition (pp 148-170). Boston. Pearson Publishing.
What we do (n.d). Bureau of Indian Affairs Retrieved June 21, 2010 from http://www.bia.gov/WhatWeDo/index.htm
Yellow Bird, M., Chenault, V., (1999). The Role of Social Work in Advancing the Practice of Indigenous Education: Obstacles and Promices in Empowerment-Oriented Social Work Practice. In Next Steps: Research and Practice To Advance Indian Education (pp. 201-229)



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