Posted by: Anni Orekh | April 6, 2010

Cross cultural & Latino Canadian Families

Latino Canadian Families
Latinos (or in some contexts known as Hispanics or Latinos/as), have a multidimensional identity, representing a variety of nationalities, skin colors, cultures, traditions, values, beliefs, worldviews, and languages.  A majority of Latinos living in Canada originate from Mexico (67%), Chile (13%)  while others come from the Dominican Republic Cuba, (Haiti) and Central and South American countries (14%).
 Latinos experience a national pecking order among themselves, attributing different qualities to where they are from. National heritage is of extreme importance as it provides a sense of pride and identity. Latinos work hard to maintain their language, traditions, and ways of life. They have a strong sense of family unity, personal warmth, and respect for elders. Some of the more important values are family unity, welfare, and honor. The family guarantees protection and provision. The system of kinship includes both biological and those not related by blood, such as adopted children and godparents. A Cross Cultural counselor or broker  might utilize the family as a source of support and information.
This can be done by inviting extended family members to school meetings.
 Family interdependence (familismo) is very important to the culture; however, it tends to be patriarchal in organization and role expectations.  Men (machismo) and women (marianismo) are taught different codes for behavior. Older children have greater authority than younger children do, with males having greater authority than females.
Religion is very important for Latino communities. The majority of Latinos identify with Roman Catholicism even though there open and some practice other religions. Religion permeates their lives. Many also incorporate folk healing beliefs (curanderos/as). There is a loyalty to charismatic leaders (personalismo), where an individual would not mind sacrificing self-interest for the leader. In that sense, Latinos may have a loyalty towards the Cross Cultural counselor or trainer if they are trustworthy and considered friends as well as professionals.
  
 Many Latinos come from a legacy of loss and oppression. Many have immigrated to Canada with the hope for a better life but find that they face oppression and discrimination in their new host country as well.  This can add to their distrust of school, legal or social service systems in Canada. It is important to be sensitive to the individual’s distress and distrust of the system. Formality, especially initially is viewed as a sign of respect, such as addressing people by surname unless invited to do otherwise. 
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