“I Can Walk Both Ways” Identity Integration of American Indians in Oklahoma

Authors

  • YOUNG YUN KIM,

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    1. Young Yun Kim (Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1976) is a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Oklahoma, Norman.
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  • PHILIP LUJAN,

    1. Philip Lujan (Ph.D., 1974, University of New Mexico) is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Oklahoma, Norman.
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  • LYNDA DEE DIXON

    1. Lynda Dee Dixon (Ph.D., 1981, University of Oklahoma) is an associate professor in the Department of Interpersonal Communication at the Bowling Green State University.
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  • This article uses a portion of the data collected in a research project supported by a grant from the Office of Research Administration, University of Oklahoma. A previous version of the article was presented at the International Communication Association Annual Convention, Chicago, May 1996. The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance and collaboration of Eunice McDowell, Alberta Boyle, and Karl Winton in the data collection and coding process.

E-mail to youngkim@ou.edu.

Abstract

This article analyzes the identity experience of American Indians in Oklahoma. The state offers a sociocultural milieu in which life activities of Indians closely interface with those of non-Indians in relative harmony. Berry's (1970, 1980, 1990) acculturation model serves as a conceptual template to help locate different modes of Oklahoma Indians' identity experience. Kim's (1988, 1995a, 1995b, in press) communication theory of cross-cultural adaptation provides the basis far offering a multidimensional system far explaining the linkage between identity experience and other facets of cross-cultural adaptation. The analysis uses portions of both the quantitative data and the verbal transcripts obtained through 182 one-on-one interviews during 1988 to 1989 at six research sites in the state. Results show a preponderance of integrative identity mixed with varying degrees of separatist orientation. Evidence is also provided for Kim's theoretical articulation of cultural-intercultural identity continuum. Positive correlations are seen between identity integration, interpersonal engagement with non-Indians, functional fitness, and psychological health.

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