When, I read these words written about the Native American Indian way of communicating with others I feel a sense of relief.
Personal differences. Native Americans traditionally have respected the unique individual differences among people. Common Native American expressions of this value include staying out of others’ affairs and verbalizing personal thoughts or opinions only when asked. Returning this courtesy is expected by many Native Americans as an expression of mutual respect.
Quietness. Quietness or silence is a value that serves many purposes in Indian life. Historically the cultivation of this value contributed to survival. In social situations, when they are angry or uncomfortable, many Indians remain silent. Non-Indians sometimes view this trait as indifference, when in reality, it is a very deeply embedded form of Indian interpersonal etiquette.
Patience. In Native American life, the virtue of patience is based on the belief that all things unfold in time. Like silence, patience was a survival virtue in earlier times. In social situations, patience is needed to demonstrate respect for individuals, reach group consensus, and all time for “the second thought.”
Nonverbal orientation. Traditionally most Indians have tended to prefer listening rather than speaking. Talking for talking’s sake is rarely practiced. Talk, just as work, must have a purpose. Small talk and light conversation are not especially valued except among very close acquaintances. In Indian thought, words have a primordial power so that when there is a reason for their expression, it is generally done carefully. In social interaction, the emphasis is on affective rather than verbal communication.