By Mary Jo Jacobs
Note on ADDRESSING Model concepts mentioned in this story
The following author refers to concepts illustrated in a model developed by clinical psychologist Dr. Pamela Hays in 1996. The ADDRESSING model is often used by mental health practitioners to develop multicultural awareness and cultural trauma therapies in counseling sessions. It organizes cultural characteristics by category, and then again by Agent and Target status. Simply put, Agents have power and social advantage, whereas Targets do not. These high status/low status interactions are often experienced in one-on-one conversations, however they may also amplify in effect to the point that an entire national economy and societal functions are affected by Agents excluding or withholding access and participation from Target groups.
only an Agent in the National Origin Rank. Like many things in life you don’t understand or
know what something is like until you experience it yourself. My most memorable experience of
oppression I have personally faced as a Target member in Indigenous Heritage is when I was in
high school. I had an interaction with one of my teachers with the class as an audience.
him. He definitely had the Need to Belong with other Native Americans and their culture. So, we
went to Pow-wows often. We would camp at them in tents by our cars in designated areas. Pow-
wows were hosted all over the state and in many other states. One year we went to a Pow-wow
every weekend over the summer and traveled all over Washington.
and play with other kids. When we didn’t play we ate salmon or Indian Tacos, which are beans,
lettuce, onions, tomato, sour cream, cheese, and your choice of sauce all on a piece of Fry Bread.
salmon, so she would tell us a Traditional story each round that we went to Salmon. I went to
almost every story telling that day. I don’t think I heard a duplicate story all day.
dancing competitions in my dance style and age bracket. One time I won Second Place.
also informational booths. These booths help guide people to school programs, financial
assistance, volunteer programs, cultural meetings, and more.
events I was able to practice my Empowerment Target Skill and be in a safe space for me.
They took the time to remember their loved ones and receive gifts from the community to help
them with the grievance. I asked my Dad about this ceremony. He mentioned that after this
ceremony’s Pow-wow is over the family can’t return to any Pow-wows for a year.
period I couldn’t bring myself to regularly go. I’ve lost my group and my support.
High School. I was never excited to go to my English class. My Sophomore English teacher was
she is a Target in the rank of Disability she is an Agent in the Rank of Indigenous Heritage.
the movie in the past and was excited to watch it in class. The Teacher was trying to set the
scene. She knew I was Indigenous and volunteered me to help her in her lesson today. “You’ve
been to reservations before, what was it like there?” She asked.
Indigenous can be like for me. I wanted to use my Empowerment Skills when I told her and the
class that “I’ve been to the reservation Muckleshoot several times and I loved it. It’s filled with
family oriented people and there is a great sense of community and culture there. I always enjoy
going to the reservation.”
down. There are all kinds of problems on the reservation like drugs and alcoholism.”
felt hot and could tell I was going to sweat through my deodorant. There was about an hour left
live with Agent, in many ways, Parents I don’t know how they will react. I’ll only create drama
that they don’t want to deal with. Plus I don’t know if they will even be on my side.
heighten the situation. I can’t run from this anyways. I’ve got to see what more she has to say.
backpack one item at a time for every other minute that passes. I can’t act on my anger. If I
address anything right now I will yell. This will shock everyone because I am one of the quietest
students in the school of 4,000 students. If I were to yell I would start crying. This crying would
second hand round the clock as the class is about to end. The second the bell rings I don’t let the
teacher finish her sentence, and stand up fast and am out the door.
Social Class. I’ve had plenty of situations where I felt oppressed. When I’m angry I run. I was
able to continue taking her class and was even assigned to take English with her my Junior year.
On the first day of Junior year our whole class “wasn’t” assigned a teacher. We all waited
outside the locked door wondering where the teacher was when the tardy bell rang. Five minutes
you all excited?” she said and hugged each of us as we entered the room. I sighed and rolled my
eyes. “Well maybe not some of you.” She said after she saw how I reacted. And that was that.
sharing this knowledge and utilizing the Common Knowledge effect. It’s common knowledge
that Reservations aren’t always in pristine condition. My single knowledge on reservations was
not taken into account. I may have been Obedient to her lesson that day and followed a cultural
script, but I think I was acting on Survival skills toward her Indifference skills. This event made
me feel Ostracized from my new found Agent membership in the Social Class that I held.
reservations are poor and in bad social states because of the land given to them and the lack of
resources that are provided for them. Reservations don’t have access to many American
resources. The Reservations are run by oppressed people. That’s not what the Book is even
I’ve thought about this moment in my life several times this last year and want to write her a
letter. I think at some point in the future I will find the courage to write a letter and send it to her.
That will only affect one life. What I should look into is encouraging certain school curriculums.
Through this event, I’ve learned that lack of courage can hinder your attempt to stand up for
yourself to make change.
Nieto, Leticia. Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment A Developmental Strategy to Liberate
Everyone. Cuetzpalin, 2021.
“Social Psychology for Beginnings at NSC: Fall 2021.” Noba, 2021,