Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Richard Sattler

Commitee Members

Kimber Haddix McKay, Richmond L. Clow


AlterNative, Healing, Historic Trauma, Brave Heart Society, Activism, Indigenous Feminism, Cultural Anthropology, Oral History, Sioux, Gender, Women, Indigenous Anthropology, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, Ethnography


University of Montana


This study examines the Brave Heart Society and the ways in which Brave Heart women collectively approaches trauma-healing outside of the programmatic structures of federally funded tribal systems. National statistics speak to the contemporary struggles impacting most US Indigenous populations in the present-day. Such struggles are residual symptoms rooted in a long history of domination and US imperialism. These data indicate that most tribes have not fully recovered from federally imposed systems of deprivation. Within the context of the Ihanktonwan Dakota community in southeastern South Dakota, the nuanced ways in which trauma impedes development and community wellness is both realized and unrealized by community members. Additionally this small community lacks the available resources to adequately treat trauma through culturally tailored approaches and frameworks. Breaking existing intergenerational cycles of trauma requires both collective and individual action. More clinical approaches integrating cultural practice and spirituality are needed for US Indigenous populations, however such approaches should be developed by the respective populations in need.



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