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Old 12-15-2018, 11:15 AM   #7
OLChemist
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aussiegirl View Post
So how do we avoid asking the wrong questions or being viewed as another pain in the arse white person ??? Thanks !!
Rose's guidelines for asking questions of folks from other cultures:

1) Is direct questioning appropriate in that culture? This takes some careful observation. It may also take getting guidelines folks from your culture that have extensive (positive) experience interacting with that culture.

2) How well do you know the person you are asking? In any culture there are differing levels of interaction for differing levels of intimacy.

3) Would a stranger asking you the same question offend or weird you out? How many times in the dominant culture do you ask the person in line with you at the bank what they think about God? (illustration not applicable if you're from a missionary faith.)

4) Is the person you're asking and paid or volunteer cultural presenter, museum docent, tour guide, etc? This folks answer questions as part of their work and they are skilled at intercultural transactions.

5) Did your interlocutor start a discussion on the subject you want to ask questions about?


It's good that you don't want to be rude.

Before coming to the US, decide what Nations you're going to visit. Go to the tribe's web page and read anything their tourism and cultural preservation offices have up. Find out what the rules are for visitors on the reservation -- like closed areas on pueblos. If the tribe has a visitor's center or museum, read their website. Look at travel guides for the area. You will often find lists of do's and don'ts for visiting reservations and Native events.

I would strongly recommend you start your interactions in venue where Native people are presenting their cultures and controlling the dialogue. Folks who work in museums, visitor centers, historical villages, etc are comfortable with questioning and are some are quite skilled at guiding you away from areas that are not discussed outside the community or sometimes even inside the community.

I have generally found that most people are fairly open to helping you learn to act like a polite person within their culture. I've seldom had a bad experience asking people in Native nations I've never visited or European countries for that matter about appropriate etiquette. Obviously, you need to pick the person with care, but a host of riches may come your way when you humble yourself and ask: "I'm a stranger here. I don't wish to appear rude. Can you tell me what I need to do in X circumstance to be polite?"
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