TRIBAL CULTURES AND WAYS

Prior to European contact, tribal nations were vast and through close community relations and geographical ties, traditional ways and customs were intact, self-evident, and passed from one generation to the next. In urban settings such as Denton, tribal citizens may feel somewhat starved of their cultures due to lack of connection to a geographical homeland or direct tribal relations and communities. The Dallas/Fort Worth area does not contain any tribal boundaries or reservations. While many tribal jurisdictions and reservations are able to maintain homogenous, tribally-specific ways, those living in urban areas are often involved in inter-tribal communities like UNT NASA where the traditions of many tribes and cultures meet and exchange. Although this can provide students access to various viewpoints and allow them to develop a multi-faceted Native worldview, many indigenous-identifying students at UNT report feeling unconnected to their tribe's ways due to several barriers. 

 

• Lack of geographical connection to tribal homelands

• Having no living indigenous relations, but having indigenous or Native ancestry/lineage

• No social relations to local Native communities

• Lack of access to accurate information about tribal history in school

• Lack of knowledge of tribal dialect/inability to communicate

• Uncertainty about approaching local community, proper protocols

>70%

of American Indian/Alaskan Native population live in urban areas

FUTURE RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS

• University curriculum on homelands and place-based identities

• University-funded trips to tribal headquarters or homelands based on student-need (modeled after Alternative Service Breaks)

• Partnership with Religion to develop trips with focus on Native spirituality and places of worship

• UNT x Oklahoma Tribal Partnerships - cultural advising, recruitment, workshops, trainings

• In-house Native Advisor in Multicultural Center or similar department

• In-house Native social worker or guidance counselor to deal with mental health and historical trauma

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