Wellness Among Diné Women Who Reside in a Navajo Nation Bordertown
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractPurpose. This study engaged Diné women in describing wellness and how they maintain wellness utilizing a qualitative descriptive methodology and application of the culturally valued process of relational accountability. A Diné Cultural Advisory Committee provided guidance for analysis. Background. Indigenous peoples, including Diné, experience health inequities often addressed via deficit-based approaches. Wellness as a concept and strength-based mechanism to enhance health is pertinent for Indigenous Peoples. Post-colonial feminist theory, Indigenous feminisms, resilience theory, and historical trauma theory add relevant theoretical foundations for the robust description of wellness by Diné women residing in a Navajo Nation bordertown. Methods. The study design was qualitative descriptive. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six Diné women via Zoom. The culturally relevant process of relational accountability was applied alongside the qualitative research process. Analysis was conducted in a culturally informed and inductive manner. Results. Discoveries on how Diné women perceive and maintain wellness resulted in an overarching theme of “It [Wellness] lays a foundation of who you are,” supported by four domains: “A concept of balance,” “I take this all with me no matter where I am,” “Things just became natural,” and “Diné Asdzání” (Navajo Woman). Domains 1 and 2 corresponded to research questions 1) “How is wellness described?” and 2) “How is wellness maintained?” and Domains 3 and 4 were unexpected and emergent, providing rich, relevant and critical contextual information. Findings support known data on Indigenous wellness: wellness as holistic, collective, inclusive of the living world, and specific to the Diné, inclusion of the concept of Hózhó as congruent to, or complementary to, wellness. Study findings reveal the integral aspect of relational wellness, and describe the diverse and complex manners in which Diné women maintain wellness, learn about wellness, and highlights personal attributes and values of these Diné women leaders. This study is an exemplar of the application of relational accountability when conducting research in Indigenous communities. Future research with Indigenous communities should integrate Indigenous methodologies and apply relational accountability. Further exploration of wellness with other Diné subpopulations is recommended as well as is inclusion of Indigenous feminisms as a theoretical foundation.
Degree ProgramGraduate College