Mother and family values in the schooling of Lumbee Indians in the Baytown area

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Sui, Lih-Jiuan H. “Mother and family values in the schooling of Lumbee Indians in the Baytown area.” Diss. University of Maryland, College Park, 1998. 206 pages.


Sui, who is from Taiwan, undertook the research for this dissertation topic because of her interest in how indigenous women adapt to, and influence, the dominant society through education and child rearing. Sui's qualitative research design focused on the Lumbee community in “Baytown, a major East Coast city” (p. 4). She began with site visits and document analysis. Then, she did a doctoral internship the Native American Center at a middle school in Baytown; her research strategy was participant observation. Her third stage was conducting interviews with eleven mothers and twelve students in Baytown, as well as three teachers/staff members from the Native American Center. The dissertation includes extensive transcriptions from Sui's diary during her internship at the Native American Center, as well as extensive excerpts from her interviews with Lumbee mothers, children, and Native American Center personnel. Chapter 6 relates the conclusions and recommendations of the dissertation research. Some of them are: 1. Current status and problems of Lumbees in Baytown: Five of the mothers did not complete high school; four graduated; one had one year of college; one is currently enrolled in college. Over half had children before the age of 20. A high child rearing priority of the mothers is protecting themselves and their children from city problems such as drugs, robberies, guns, and street fighting. Most seem to be living below the government's poverty level. 2. Children who come to the Native American Center: The Center works primarily with students who have low grades and scores, who are experiencing racial prejudice or conflicts in values with other students; or whose Lumbee dialect is affecting spelling and reading ability. 3. Mothers' sense of identity and Indian heritage: Full Lumbee mothers have a stronger sense of belonging and self than part-Lumbee. Sui states that they “still maintain their Lumbee accent, concept of time, religion, and sense of community. They continue close ties with their families in North Carolina, and regard relatives and community members as extended family” (p. 145). 4. Students' sense of identity: Students appeared to have an interest in, and good knowledge about, their identity. 5. Mothers' integration of family values into schooling: Mothers teach children to seek high academic achievement. They value the practice of skills over educational attainment, however. Boys older than nine are taught hands-on skills such as roofing and carpentry. Girls are trained in cooking and domestic work. 6. Children's sense of identity: Sui considers the Lumbee children's sense of Indianness strong. She speculates that this may stem partially from Indian education programs.

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