Date of Conferral







Elisabeth Weinbaum


For each parent, raising a child is a daunting task and it is even a harder undertaking for parents belonging to minority communities due to discrimination, and limited occupational and educational opportunities. Prior studies have shown high dropout rates from high school among Native American (NA) women, resulting in a lack of basic knowledge about raising children. The purpose of this research study was to synthesize, analyze, and better understand the lived experiences of NA mothers who are raising their children outside the reservation. This qualitative study relied on 4 theories: historical trauma theory, systems theory, acculturation theory, and strengths perspective theory. The researcher interviewed 9 NA mothers from the federally recognized Crow Tribe of Montana who grew up on Indian reservations. The interviews were analyzed to develop emerging themes in NVivo 11 software, using the four-step method of inductive analysis described by Moustakas (2004). Using a phenomenological approach, the results revealed a subtheme that entailed personal, structural, and societal struggles of NA women living today. Exposure to their culture, feelings of being sheltered, and family relationships are critical for NA women. In a different environment, NA women experience acculturation stress; they feel disconnected and are challenged to maintain their relationships with relatives in the reservation. It is important to understand their challenges and lived experiences and to identify the root causes of these problems for positive social change. The results of the study demonstrated the need to further improve current policies, systems, and interventions focused on the cultural and environmental contexts of NA families living in more contemporary times.