For many generations, Native American communities have also lived by the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” This traditional concept encouraged tribal families to respect and carry on the Native teachings from generation to generation. Kinship was strong and the interdependence within the community resulted in children interacting with grandparents and extended family members. Relatives often became the most important people in the children’s lives so they would learn to model and imitate their behaviors.
As the Native American history transformed the traditional Native way of life, it heavily impacted family life. As parent educators, if we understand how historical moments affected the sacred bond families carried from generation to generation, we may assist families to strengthen their involvement with their children.
As we move into the new year, it is important to reflect on the many Native home-based families who may not feel ready to be empowered. Establishing a partnership with parents is one of the most important key areas when working with families.
Some ideas to interest families:
The partnership opens many opportunities for the parents to learn about how to become more engaged as a family. Each unique family that enrolls into a FACE Program come with their own goals, ideas, challenges, and most importantly, their own values. Sometimes, families may not realize the many opportunities that may exist for them in their own communities. Many Native families live in remote communities, which often gives the perspective they must go to a nearby town to do activities.
Some ideas to do as a family in Native communities!
When the whole family begins to engage together, many positive outcomes occur. Families become stronger and more empowered. Parents learn to problem solve with parent educators, then gain the confidence to make decisions for their own families. Positive parenting behaviors are demonstrated when parents interact with their children during home-visits. A long-lasting effect occurs in the family’s well-being.