The importance of community support for women in a Gulf Coast Indigenous tribe

Tess A. Carlson, Jessica L. Liddell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: Community support is an integral aspect of health and well-being for Indigenous peoples. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the valuable role of community support for Indigenous women specifically, who experience reproductive health disparities at alarming rates. This study helps fill an important gap in Indigenous scholarship by centering the resilience of women and Indigenous tribes and by using a framework that is consistent with Indigenous holistic views of health. Design/methodology/approach: The data for this paper was collected as part of a larger study exploring the reproductive health experiences of a state-recognized Gulf Coast tribe. A total of 31 semi-structured interviews were conducted with individuals who identify as women and as members of this tribe using qualitative descriptive methodology. This method is recommended for research with Indigenous communities. A community advisory board with representatives from this tribe provided feedback throughout the project. Findings: Themes expressed by participants included Community Closeness and Support; Community Support in Raising Children; Informal Adoption Common; and Community Values of Mutual Aid and Self-Sufficiency. The findings support current literature noting the value of generational and communal ties for Indigenous peoples. Implications of this research include the need to value and support community networks in programs serving tribes, in addition to meaningfully including Indigenous communities in developing interventions. Originality/value: This paper centers Indigenous women’s resilience, approaches the health and well-being of Indigenous tribes holistically and helps to fill an important gap in literature describing informal adoption (outside the legal system) in state-recognized Indigenous communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-175
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 28 2023


  • Child raising
  • Community support
  • Eco-systemic
  • Health-care gaps
  • Indigenous
  • Informal adoption
  • Resilience
  • Women’s health


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