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American-Indian Families


The interrelationships between European Americans and American Indians have sometimes been smooth and sometimes conflicted. American Indian families are very diverse according to which tribe they belong to. In fact, it can safely be said that there is as much diversity within American Indians as there is between American Indians and other groups. There are more than 500 federally recognized tribes in the United States, and families are very diverse according to which tribe they belong to. Despite the lack of universal practices and dialects, there are some commonalities among the various tribes and American-Indian families. For example, there is a shared history of oppression that still affects contemporary families in the United States, much as it affected earlier generations.


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Hanson, W. (1980). "The Urban Indian Woman And Her Family." Social Casework (October) 476–483.

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Miller, J. B. (1986). Toward a New Psychology of Women, 2nd edition. Boston: Beacon Press.

Myers, Joseph A., ed. (1981). They Are Young Once But Indian Forever. Oakland, CA: American Indian Lawyer Training Program, Inc.

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Silvey, L. E. (1997). "Ordinal Position and Role Development of the Firstborn Daughter Within Her Family of Origin." Dissertation. Lansing: Department of Family and Child Ecology, Michigan State University.

Other Resources

Indian Health Service. (2002). Trends in Indian Health 1998-99. Available from http://www.his.gov/PublicInfo/Publications/trends98/trends98.asp.

U.S. Government. (2001). 2000 Decennial Census. Available from http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www.2001/raceqandas.html.


Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsAmerican-Indian Families - General Points Of Interest, Boarding Schools, Family Life Today, American-indian Child Welfare