Graduation Date

Spring 2023

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Sociology

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Jennifer Eichstedt

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Stefanie Israel de Souza

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff


Women, Recovery, Indigenous, Culture, Drug abuse, Stigma, Intersectionality, Symbolic interactionism

Subject Categories



In general, much has been written on the experiences of prototypical women in drug recovery programs, however there is only a scarcity of research on the experiences of rural women of color in drug recovery programs. Very few Northern American cultures had experience with alcohol before the first wave of European settlers. Responses to intergenerational trauma faced by Native women include substance abuse, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, suicidal thinking, and more. Due to socioeconomic disadvantages drug and alcohol abuse tends to be a coping mechanism for many Native American women. Drawing on the narratives of ten Indigenous women who are actively participating in a Native American based drug recovery program in a remote Northern California region, this study explicates how they go about making meaning of their recovery processes. To illustrate these culturally unique approaches and philosophies, and to examine their experience within treatment, I have applied frames of symbolic interactionism, intersectionality, and stigma. This paper also compares westernized and Christian based drug programs with cultural traditional Native-based programs. This research emphasizes the importance of Native-based drug programs for the success, growth, and overall wellbeing of Indigenous women and their communities.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location


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