Surviving a Cultural Genocide: Perspectives of Indigenous Elders on the Transfer of Traditional Values

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American Indians, elders, Blackfoot, Indigenous Methodologies, Portraiture


The purpose of this ethnographic study was to examine how Indigenous elders perceive traditional values. This study employed Portraiture, which allowed Indigenous elders to share their stories in a culturally tailored and relational manner. The authors’ captured and present richly detailed stories that describe the intersects between human experiences and sacred beliefs. The scholars eloquently braid the first authors experiences at three (3) traditional Indigenous ceremonies with the words of Indigenous elders to tell a story about overcoming an attempted cultural genocide. The ceremony participation and elder visits helped identify ten traditional values encasing spirituality displayed in the Hoop of Traditional Blackfoot Values presented in the English language and the Blackfoot language. 


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Author Biographies

Shawn Clark, University of Providence

Shawn Clark (Ed.D.) was a public-school educator for over 25-years. After college, Shawn began teaching in school systems located on or bordering Indian reservations. Shawn also served as a building level administrator for 19-years, including seven years at the largest Indigenous student attended school in the state. Shawn is currently an assistant professor of education at the University of Providence and the founder of and

Ruth Wylie, Arizona State University

Ruth Wylie (Ph.D.) is the assistant director of the Center for Science and the Imagination and an associate research professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Her previous projects include designing educational technology for students and teachers and developing interdisciplinary collaboration methodologies.


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How to Cite

Clark, S., & Wylie, R. (2021). Surviving a Cultural Genocide: Perspectives of Indigenous Elders on the Transfer of Traditional Values. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 8(2), 316–346.



Original Manuscript
Received 2020-12-03
Accepted 2021-04-28
Published 2021-05-08