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Culturally Responsive Prevention Models

The influence of culturally responsive practices has crossed-over into successful prevention models that connected cultural identity, and self-esteem, in American Indian adolescents by braiding traditional culture, parenting/social skill-building, and strengthening family relationships into the intervention (Goodkind et al., 2012). The authors learned that American Indian adolescents benefited from participated in culturally-based mental health intervention, stating “Participants’ increased use of positive coping strategies, which included problem-focused coping, positive cognitive restructuring, and support-seeking, was one of our most robust findings" (p. 399).

The outcome seems to support the conclusions represented in a study that identified support-seeking coping strategies are related to decreased depression and anxiety symptoms among U.S. adolescents (Wright et al., 2010). Other studies acknowledge the importance of the inherent strengths of tribal communities for native youth and suggests that future interventions integrate tribal culture and the healing traditions of ancient times (Pavkov et al., 2010).

Hodge, Limb, & Cross (2009) linked colonization to mental health within Indigenous communities and suggested abandoning Western mental health remedies in exchange for healing processes that rely on Indigenous knowledge foundations. Some studies contend that traditional cultural practices that use cultural values to heal intergenerational trauma may help American Indian students reduce suicidal thoughts (Hill 2009; Yurkovich, Hopkins, & Rieke, 2012), and suicidal ideation may be reduced by participating in spiritual activities (Garroutte et al., 2003).

Wexler et al., (2016) claim that American Indians suffer from lack of culturally appropriate mental-health interventions, and argue for the development of partnerships stating “Collaborations between researchers and Indigenous communities potentially allow for the research itself to be an emancipatory process that enables community members to identify and frame issues important to their community and to develop solutions that reflect community priorities” (p. 894).

IINII uses a revolutionary Design Thinking process to help your organization gain an understanding of one’s sense of self, as well as developing an understanding of student and staff values; having an understanding of one’s values matters because research has shown that it is linked to better well-being, less stress, and increased confidence in one’s ability to succeed.

Understanding students’ values can be developed with culturally responsive practices that reflect a student’s identity and experience. Particularly helpful is focusing efforts on cultural competence and relevance and providing opportunities for young people to practice bridging differences between diverse identities in a safe environment. To learn how you can create a dynamic learning environment that honors your student community, visit our website at, or contact us at or 1800-507-2502.

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