The Relevance of Cultural Activities in Ethnic Identity Among California Native American Youth

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This study analyzed data from a large statewide sample of Native American adolescents throughout California to determine whether participation in cultural practices was associated with stronger ethnic identity. The association between cultural activities and ethnic identity was only significant among urban youth and not among reservation youth. Higher grades in school were associated with ethnic identity among females but not among males. Findings from this study show a strong association between cultural activities and traditional practices with tribal enculturation among Native American youth in California. Cultural-based practices to enhance Native identity could be useful to improve mental and behavioral health among Native American youth.