These case studies were selected to illustrate basic concepts in this chapter. As you review the case example see if you can "spot the concept" from the chapter which is illustrated in the case. These case examples may be useful for classroom discussion, for role playing in class, or to put the concepts from this chapter in a real-world context.
1. Leonard, a Lakota Indian, returned home to the reservation after serving three years in the armed services. During Leonard's stay in the Marines he was stationed at several bases in the United States and was sent to Germany for a one year period. At a sweat lodge many of Leonard's friends and older members of the tribe shared stories of their ancestors. When Leonard was a child he remembered listening to his father tell stories about his great grandfather and how he always enjoyed learning about his family history. However, Leonard noticed that now these stories did not mean anything to him and that he could not understand the importance that his tribe placed in talking about individuals that no longer existed.
After several weeks at home from the service, Leonard found himself in conflict with his parents and siblings. Many of his friends claimed that Leonard was acting as though he was too good to be a Lakota Indian. The conflict between family and friends caused Leonard much pain. He felt that no one understood him. He felt alone. Leonard wanted to leave the reservation to find work so that he could save his money and travel through Europe; however, he knew that with only a high school education getting a job would be difficult.
Leonard became more depressed about the conflict that he was experiencing at home. He realized he could no longer live on the reservation and be happy. After two months at home, Leonard left the reservation and reenlisted in the Marines for another full term.
2. In the "Silent Language" Edward T. Hall talked about his experience working for the Soil Conservation program at a Navajo reservation. In his experience in the supervision of constructing small earth dams he noticed that the Navajo workmen operated in a relaxed pace as though they had no worries at all. He recalls sharing his American values about the hard work ethic and that working hard today will bring rewards tomorrow. Hall noticed that this did not bring about changes in their work behavior.
After discussing this problem with a friend who spent all his life on a reservation, Hall decided to approach the Navajo workmen in a different manner. He recalls talking with the work crew and telling them how the 'American government was giving them money to get out of debt by providing them jobs near their families, and giving them water for their sheep.' Hall stressed the fact that in return they had to work hard for eight hours a day. He noticed that the change in approaches altered their work performance.