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Historical Oppression and Indigenous Families: Uncovering Potential Risk Factors for Indigenous Families Touched by Violence

Family Relations / Family Relations Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies

Published online on


Violence against Indigenous women in the United States is higher than for any other racial group. Indigenous women tend to rely on families for support and recovery, yet the risk factors related to Indigenous families affected by violence are unknown. Therefore, interviews from a critical ethnography were used to uncover the perspectives of Indigenous women who have experienced intimate partner violence, along with the professionals who serve them, to understand potential risk factors that create vulnerability to and impair recovery from violence. Several themes emerged from pragmatic horizon analysis of interviews with 49 Indigenous women and professionals who work with tribal members affected by violence, including family divisions and parental impairments (i.e., intergenerational patterns of absent parental figures, parental alcohol abuse, and impaired bonding). Future research should examine these potential risk factors related to families affected by violence and their connections with historical oppression.