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Pursuing Wicozani (The Good Way of Life): Functional adaptations through Dakota lifeways

Matthew Garrett, Joseph M White, Adam Galovan, Kathryn Akipa, Brenden Rensink


Using focus group methodology, we examined the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota idea of wicozani (pronounced wee-cho’zah-nee), or “the good way of life”, as it relates to individual and family life and assert its value in guiding functional adaptations. Additional theoretical scaffolding is drawn from Vygotsky’s (1978) zone of proximal development within the framework of Hill’s (1949) family stress model, reifying the effectiveness of wicozani to direct community-generated functional adaptations that will strengthen American Indian families. Focus group participants outline historical values necessary to achieve wicozani. Themes shared show that Native resiliency is based on traditional community beliefs and practices. As American Indians face modern challenges, re-embracing and developing long held ideals will provide a basis for functional adaptation in the future.

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Print ISSN 1177-1801 Online ISSN 1174-1740