Recovery and Resistance: The Renewal of Traditional Spirituality among American Indian Women


American Indian Women, Traditional Spirituality, Native American


This article tells the story of healing from personal trauma and a tale of resistance to the cultural denigration experienced by women from the Northern Cheyenne and Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux reservations.(FN1) The women's stories, obtained through in-depth and focus-group interviews, and participant observation, reveal how spirituality expressed in a variety of forms has been an important part of the resistance process. Through their spiritual practices and beliefs, these women have achieved desired changes in their personal lives and contributed to a renaissance of spiritual practices on the two Northern Plains reservations. These stories elucidate the specific experiences and perspectives of women, rather than the views of the clergy or institutional leaders of the religious groups to which the women belong. This article responds to the recent call made by Kathryn Ward(FN2) to focus on the experiences and views of indigenous women and how they resist domination and reestablish political, social, and cultural rights. This article also contributes to recent research exploring the effects of history and generational experiences or changes in religious affiliation and spiritual expression

Original Publication Citation

Recovery and Resistance: The Renewal of Traditional Spirituality among Native American Women, Karren Baird-Olson and Carol Ward, American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Vol. 24, No. 4 (2000): 1-35.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



American Indian Culture and Research Journal




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor