The Ruling Relations of Reproductive Healthcare For Native American Women

Date of Completion

January 2011


Health Sciences, Obstetrics and Gynecology|Women's Studies|Health Sciences, Public Health|Sociology, Organization Theory|Native American Studies




This dissertation examines the social and political organization of reproductive healthcare in the Indian Health Service. Informed by institutional ethnography as a method and as a feminist epistemology, this research relied on ethnographic interviews and observations, descriptive policy analysis, discourse analysis, and historical sociology to illustrate the ideological foundations of reproductive healthcare for Native American women and the material consequences of this healthcare for women and their communities. Data focused primarily on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, but also included Indian Country broadly, as this research traced women's subjective experiences to abstract, extra-local forces located within all branches of the federal government. Findings centralize the role of race, class, sexuality, citizenship, and gender in the political and cultural economies which inform the provision of reproductive healthcare for Native women by the settler State which currently occupies Turtle Island. ^