Sunday, April 9, 2017

Extended Family

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 54% of all children aged 0-5 on Tohono O'odham land are living with extended family as their primary caretakers. This means that no parents of the child are present in the home, and the primary caretaker (usually grandparents) are in full responsibility. Only 44% of TO children 0-5 are living in a household with at least one parent as the primary caretaker. This can be compared to the total Indian rates in Arizona of 46% living with extended family and 53% with parents.

Single homes occupied by more than immediate family are incredibly common in Indian communities. This traditional incorporation of all members of the family has been said to help maintain culture, especially relative to story-telling. However, if parents are not the primary caretakers, how can that be related to that actual environment these children are being raised in? It's one thing if grandparents are voluntarily taking kids in for better housing and care (it's often the case that the demands of the parents' work requires additional supervision). But by this metric, 54% of all TO children are not  living with either parent, meaning all responsibilities of child upbringing rely on extended family. This is not an attempt at cultural preservation, but it is often "due to the parent’s  death,  physical  or  mental  illness,  substance   abuse,  incarceration,  unemployment  or  underemployment  or  because  of  domestic  violence  or   child  neglect  in  the  family." The link to the report is:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Robert for pointing out these stats and for linking to that report. It may deserve a spot on our syllabus next time around. This looks like a great overview of the state of the tribe.