Traditional beliefs and behaviors affecting childbearing practices of Crow Indian women
Harding, Rita Marie
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The purpose of this study was to explore and to describe the traditional beliefs and behaviors that currently affect childbearing practices of Crow Indian women. The design of the study was an exploratory and a descriptive ethnographic study and consisted of two stages. The first stage of the study collected data through unstructured interviews of key informants who were culturally knowledgeable Crow Indian women. This first stage of the study explored and described traditional beliefs and behaviors that affected childbearing practices of Crow Indian women in the past and at the present time. The second stage of the study collected data through structured interviews of participants who were pregnant Crow Indian women. The questions in the structured interview were part of a data collection method employed in a study currently being conducted on the Navajo Indian Reservation and were modified to reflect the Crow Indian culture. Modifications in the original questions were based on the literature review and the data collected in the first stage of the study. This second stage of the study explored and described traditional beliefs and behaviors that affected childbearing practices of Crow Indian women at the present time. The findings of this study identified and described contemporary childbearing practices of Crow Indian women and their families. Beliefs and behaviors in traditional and modified form appeared to influence contemporary childbearing practices and Crow Indian life in general. The majority of the Crow Indian people were transitional in life style between traditional Crow Indian culture and the modern Anglo society and were influenced by a wide variety of both traditional and modern beliefs and behaviors. Respect for and/or participation in combinations of traditional practices were suggestive of the type of life style practiced by individual Crow Indian people. The findings of this study supported the general concept that culture is a major variable in the determination of health and in the utilization of health care services. Through scientific knowledge and further research, modern health care services that are compatible with traditional beliefs and behaviors of the Crow Indian culture and that meet the unique needs of the Crow Indian people can be provided.