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Scholarly Horizons: University of Minnesota, Morris Undergraduate Journal

Abstract

Currently, the majority of American Indians live in more urban and metropolitan environments. The differences in the way identity develops for American Indian adolescents is compared between growing up in an urban context and a reservation context. Two models are explained and applied to American Indian adolescents in these two settings, Oppedal’s Acculturation development model and Phinney and Baldelomar’s Cross-cultural Identity Status Model. According to the Acculturation development model, American Indian adolescents living on reservations likely have higher levels of interaction with their minority culture, therefore having higher levels of enculturation. Additionally, American Indian adolescents living in urban areas likely have higher levels of interaction with the majority culture, therefore having higher levels of acculturation. Furthermore, in applying the Cross-cultural identity status model, American Indian adolescents living on reservations will likely develop American Indian identities easier, earlier, and with more conviction than American Indian adolescents in urban areas. In addition, American Indian adolescents living in urban areas will likely develop an American Indian identity less easily, later, and with less conviction due to possibly higher exposure to negative stereotypes. Practical implications such as self-esteem and academic achievement are also discussed in relation to varying levels of enculturation and acculturation.

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