Title

Language as a facilitator of cultural connection

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2017

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.5325/aboriginal.1.2.0176

Abstract

Understanding culture as a means of preventing or treating health concerns is growing in popularity among social behavioral health scientists. Language is one component of culture and therefore may be a means to improve health among Indigenous populations. This study explores language as a unique aspect of culture through its relationship to other demographic and cultural variables. Participants (n = 218) were adults who self-identified as American Indian, had a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, and were drawn from two Ojibwe communities using health clinic records. We used chi-squared tests to compare language proficiency by demographic groups and ANOVA tests to examine relationships between language and culture. A higher proportion of those living on reservation lands could use the Ojibwe language, and fluent speakers were most notably sixty-five years of age and older. Regarding culture, those with greater participation and value belief in cultural activities reported greater language proficiency.

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