An ethnographic study of childbearing practices among a Coast Salish band of Indians in British Columbia
The purpose of this ethnographic study was to collect and analyse childbearing practices of a Coast Salish band of Native peoples by discovering their perspective of lifestyle behaviours within the context of childbearing and sociocultural environment and identifying Native women's traditional and contemporary childbearing beliefs, values and practices. The transactional relationships between childbearing beliefs and practices were explored.Ethnographic methodology was used to study the Coast Salish on their reserve and review historical material. Both emic and etic data were gathered for the grounded theory approach, which gave the research process a dynamic quality.The study's framework is a synthesis of both Native and nursing perspectives. The Native Medicine Wheel philosophy provide the substantive concepts, while a nursing perspective of woman-environment fit and transactions add process of concepts. Development of the conceptual framework was aided by a literature review of Native health and childbearing experiences, families as environments and transactional processes of education, ethnic identification and self-concept.The elicited childbearing beliefs, values and teachings, categorized according to the four directions of the Medicine Wheel, coincide with the four elements of holistic health: physical, emotional, sociocultural and spiritual. The transactional concepts developed from data described processes occurring between the woman and Band.The findings indicate that the transmission of childbearing beliefs, values and practices from one generation to the next, and within generations, is of significant importance to this group. However, dilemmas result when women receive incomplete transmission of traditional teachings and/or differing contemporary advice. A continuum of commitment to traditional nutrition, activity, emotional state and labour behaviour teachings was evident. Teachings related to emotional states had the highest degree of commitment. Commitment to activity teachings was low, but women considering future pregnancies expressed a desire to change that.The findings have implications for nursing and other health care professionals working with people of different ethnic backgrounds. A number of questions for further study were recommended. They addressed the need to identify traditional/contemporary issues, resolve dilemmas the Native women face, provide culturally/sensitive healthcare and develop nursing theory.
- Nursing - Seattle