Resilience, Spirituality and Cultural Connectiveness within the Native American/ American Indian Indigenous Population

Lindsay Price


Native Americans, also known as the American Indian or Indigenous population, were colonized over four centuries ago by Europeans who brought many diseases which decimated this population. This immense trauma continued for generations as the settlers continued to violate Native American life and identity on every level. Hundreds of indigenous tribes endured massacre, annihilation of traditional culture, forced religious assimilation, stolen land, broken treaties, betrayal of rights, removal of identity, neglect, and constant abuse without any recompense. These violations still widely occur, yet the strength and flourishing of Native Americans remain ever-present. Their deep-rooted protective factors within resilience, like cultural connectiveness, traditional practices and spirituality are frequently overlooked, yet they are important to consider. It is hypothesized that connection to cultural community and spirituality is foundationally tied to Native American resilience, allowing this population to remain strong and thrive. The present study examines how resilience and cultural connectiveness measures are reflected within the Native American population and the correlational relationships between these constructs. The SOS and CD-RISC results indicate significant resilience/strengths related to one’s opportunity to access comprehensive health services and engage in a meaningful way with their cultural/social community. The significant SOS variable results from our regression and correlational analyses further highlight the foundational, collective, communal factors that must be captured by any cross-cultural or culturally informed resiliency measures. It was evident that the CD-RISC utilizes more ethnocentric language with questions that reflect more individualistic values or colonially defined personal strengths. The regression equation results indicate that NA/AI populations could utilize the more culturally appropriate items/measures confirmed by this study, which could then be used to predict CD-RISC scores. Altogether, this could allow researchers to compare NA/AI samples with greater validity/accuracy to other cultural groups or populations.