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Culture Card: A Guide to Build Cultural Awareness of American Indian and Alaska Native

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) | April 18th, 2009

The purpose of this guide is to provide basic information for Federal disaster responders and other service providers who may be deployed or otherwise assigned to provide or coordinate services in American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities.

This guide is intended to serve as a general briefing to enhance cultural competence while providing services to AI/AN communities. (Cultural competence is defined as the ability to function effectively in the context of cultural differences.) A more specific orientation or training should be provided by a member of the particular AI/AN community.

Service providers should use this guide to ensure the following Five Elements of Cultural Competence* are being addressed:

1. Awareness, acceptance and valuing of cultural differences
2. Awareness of one’s own culture and values
3. Understanding the range of dynamics that result from the interaction between people of different cultures
4. Developing cultural knowledge of the particular community served or to access cultural brokers who may have that knowledge
5. Ability to adapt individual interventions, programs, and policies to fit the cultural context of the individual, family, or community


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