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Sally Gelardin :: Blog :: Honoring and Adapting To Cultural Differences

June 11, 2007

Deeta Lonergan

Let’s introduce ourselves

Purpose of Presentation
Demonstrate the difference between what American business culture and Native Alaskan Tlingit Indian cultures include in introductions.

Rationale (why topic is important)
Introductions are the beginning, the first step in any meeting. They set the stage for what is to follow.

Learning Objectives
(1) Honor cultural heritage and overcome language barriers
(2) illustrate the differences in how people “introduce” themselves

CDF students, Human Resource Professionals, Job Interviewers

Classroom, employment interviews, conferences, meetings

Time Required
10 minutes

Alaska Native cultures are rich in story telling. These stories are often accompanied by drumming and are acted out with dancing movement. Families of origin are important cornerstones of personal identity.

1) Brainstorm: When we are asked to introduce ourselves in a formal setting, i.e. job interview,
conference participant, what information do we include? (Capture comments on easel pad paper.)
2) Invite two or three participants to introduce themselves to the group.
3) Play CD or video with Native Alaska Drumming and story telling to set the background and engage
the right side of the brain.
4) Introduce myself from the Native Alaskan, i.e. Tlingit Indian perspective including family of origin
5) Ask participants to jot notes of how they would alter their introduction of themselves from this new
perspective. Share with large group. (Capture comments on easel pad.)

Discuss differences. What happens when we don’t honor/allow these traditions? What is the richness? What do we miss? How doe this effect what follows? i.e. job interview.

Deeta Lonergan grew up in Boise, Idaho. She has three younger brothers. Her parents met on the Alaska Highway. Her mother worked for the Army Corps of Engineers. Her father was a bush pilot. She has a BA in German/Secondary Education from the University of Portland and an M.Ed. in College Student Personnel Administration from Western Washington University. She moved to Anchorage in 1971. She was adopted into the Saxman Tribe of the Tlingit Indians, Raven Clan in 1973. She has a daughter, Courtney, and a son, Brady. She spent 24 years in higher education at Alaska Methodist University, Anchorage Community College and the University of Alaska Anchorage as a counselor, professor and Academic Dean. She is a career counselor strategic coach, trainer and management consultant. She is President of Career Transitions, a National Certified Counselor, Career Development
Facilitator Instructor, Certified Sports Counselor and MBTI Certified.

Posted by Sally Gelardin

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