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Daughters of the drum: Decolonizing health and wellness with Native American women

Danica Love Brown


In many pre-colonial tribal communities, Native American women held significant positions as keepers and teachers of health and wellness practices. Today, however, Native American women’s status is often relegated to the margins in colonial society, as they are disproportionately affected by health disparities resulting from legacies of historical trauma. This study explores the decolonization of the health and wellness of Native American women in the United States Pacific Northwest. Through a culturally centered qualitative study utilizing photovoice and talking circles, several themes emerge illuminating important and nuanced aspects of resilience related to perceptions of health and wellness. Four Native American women aged 26–46, including myself, participated in the study in the summer of 2014. Utilizing the indigenist stress- coping model, interpretive coding in real time suggests that land, language, and diet are important principles of a decolonized perception of health and wellness centered on the women’s experiences together as members of the drum group Daughters of the Drum.


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Print ISSN 1177-1801 Online ISSN 1174-1740