How does analytically comparing the Girl Scouts of the United States of America’s (GSUSA) Leadership Experience program to the Diné philosophy of Hózhó (harmonious way of life) and the Kinaaldá (female puberty ceremony) positively affect the unique diversity of each Diné girl and give attention to leadership skills, self-identity, and the Diné language? This is the research question that guided this research study of comparative analysis. In addition, there are three subquestions: (a) How does aligning the GSUSA Leadership Experience program to the Diné philosophies of Hózhó and the Kinaaldá build leadership skills, positive self-identify, and a healthy social and emotional well-being of Diné girls? (b) How does aligning the GSUSA Leadership Experience program to the Diné philosophies of Hózhó and the Kinaaldá build positive relationships with Diné girls, their families, their school, and their community; and (c) How does aligning the GSUSA Leadership Experience program to the Diné philosophy of Hózhó and the Kinaaldá build connections between the Diné philosophies and Western educational systems/values?
Leading this research study are four frameworks: (a) the sociocultural theory of Lev Vygotsky, whose viewpoints and emphases of being culturally relevant and culturally responsive; (b) the personal well-being of each girl, which speaks to the 16 pillars of Secatero’s Indigenous Well-Being Model in Leadership and Wellness (2015); (c) the Indigenous autoethnographic experiences of the researcher and research subjects, as well as the themes of chosen authors, research, and readings; and (d) the vision and mission of the GSUSA Leadership Experience program.
For more than 100 years, GSUSA has provided the tools to lead, to break barriers; and to create positive change with a strong sense of self, seeking challenges and learning from setbacks, displaying positive values, forming and maintaining healthy relationships with peers, family members, and community members that they associate with church members, police officers, firemen/women, etc.; and being able to identify and contribute to resolving problems in the community-meaning where they live and/or attend school. Girls and young women who are part of GSUSA learn to dream big and feel successful with themselves, among their families, and in their community (GSUSA, 2020). To introduce this research, attention was given to the beliefs and traditional knowledge of the Diné teachers, specialists, and medicine men and women. Note: The word specialists refer to one who has completed public or online presentations in the areas of teaching, promoting, and fostering the Diné language and culture. As part of the research, participants were interviewed either by telephone, during a Zoom meeting, or via email. Data collected pertained to the comparative analysis of personal goals, vision, leadership, and social-emotional philosophies; the Diné philosophy of Hózhó; and the purpose of the Kinaaldá. Additionally, through comparisons of multicultural viewpoints, thematic patterns are identified and elaborated on. Interview transcripts; themes, critical literature analyses; and artifacts, such as research studies, memoirs, and personal stories, elicited outcomes and recommendations for future research.
Keywords/phrases: cultural relevancy, cultural responsiveness, Girl Scouts of the United States of America, Navajo history, Navajo ceremonies, Navajo puberty ceremonies, Navajo clanship system, Navajo philosophy of life.
Cultural Relevance, Cultural Responsiveness, Girl Scouts of USA Leadership Experience Proram, Diné philosophy of Hózhó, Diné philosophies and Western educational systems/values, Diné philosophy of Hózhó and the Kinaaldá
Level of Degree
Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy
First Committee Member (Chair)
Shawn Secatero, PhD
Second Committee Member
Robin Minthorn, PhD
Third Committee Member
Patrick Lopez, PhD
Fourth Committee Member
Leola Paquin, PhD
Fifth Committee Member
Colleen Bowman, PhD
Belone, Deborah J.. "BEING CULTURALLY RELEVANT AND RESPONSIVE: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE GIRL SCOUTS OF USA LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE PROGRAM TO THE DINÉ PHILOSOPHY OF HÓZHÓ AND THE KINAALDÁ, TO ILLUMINATE LEADERSHIP, REKINDLE IDENTITY, AND REVITALIZE LANGUAGE AMONG DINÉ GIRLS." (2023). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/educ_teelp_etds/376