Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Date of this Version

May 1999


Masters Thesis, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1999
Copyright © 1999 Linda Mayo Willis, with Carolyn Pope Edwards


This multiple case study examined American Indian Program Branch Head Start directors' perceptions of the role their particular Head Start program plays preserving cultural integrity in tribal communities. Of specific research interest were the unique aspects of the tribal customs of child rearing and early childhood educational practices within each community. Another area of research focused on exploring each director's vision of how the Head Start experience contributes to the future of the children. Ten tribal Head Start directors from the Great Plains region were interviewed. The grand tour question addressed how participants described their perception of the role of Head Start in promoting and preserving cultural integrity in tribal communities. Directors shared their insights on the importance of Early Head Start as a presence or a perceived need in their tribal community. The participants' advocacy efforts on the behalf of the tribal community also helped to promote the preservation of cultural integrity. All of the directors expressed their belief in the important role that Head Start programs play in providing information and support to parents involved in nurturing and raising their children.