Resilience and Indigenous Spirituality: A Literature Review





Indigenous spirituality is a more complex phenomenon than the term spirituality alone, as generally understood, implies. Spirituality is closely bound up with culture and ways of living in Indigenous communities and requires a more holistic or comprehensive research approach. Two conceptual frameworks could help to orient Indigenous resilience research. One is the enculturation framework. Enculturation refers to the degree of integration within a culture, which can be protective in social behaviour, academic achievement, alcohol abuse and cessation, substance abuse, externalizing behaviours, and depressive symptoms. Instruments for measuring enculturation generally have three components: traditional activities, cultural identification, and traditional spirituality. A second conceptual framework is cultural spiritual orientation which distinguishes between cultural spiritual orientations and tribal spiritual beliefs. Enculturation and cultural orientations are protective against alcohol abuse, suicide ideation, and suicide attempts. New tools are emerging for measuring the multidimensional nature of culturally rooted spirituality in Indigenous communities, tools that are context-specific and often the product of collaborative design processes. As the ability of researchers to measure these complex processes advances and Indigenous communities take increasing charge of their own research, it should become easier to design interventions that take advantage of the cultural/spiritual dimension of Indigenous traditions to promote individual, family, and community resilience.


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