Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Arctic passages: Maternal transport, Iñupiat mothers, and northwest Alaska communities in transition
by Schwarzburg, Lisa Llewellyn, Ph.D., University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2013, 236; 3607058
Abstract (Summary)

While the primary goal of the northwest Alaska Native village maternal transport program is safe deliveries for mothers from remote villages, little has been done to examine the impact of transport on the mothers and communities involved. I explore how present values (Western and Iñupiat cultural values) can influence the desire of indigenous women of differing eras and northwest Alaska villages to participate in biomedical birth practices, largely as made available by a tribal health-sponsored patient transport system. The work that follows portrays the varying influences on these women and their communities as they determine the level of importance for mothers to get to the hospital to deliver. I have enlisted viewpoints of Alaska Native families and women of different generations from various Iñupiat villages to help paint a picture of the situation. With this research, I ask, how do generations of mothers, transport situations, and villages compare in terms of experiences during the processes of these Iñupiat women becoming mothers? What gender, ethnicity, and power interplays exist in this dynamic helix of social and political elements (embodiment) during their periods of liminality? What are influences (biomedical and community) that contribute to a woman's transition to motherhood in this community? Moreover, how do women, families, and community members perceive the maternal transport policy today? I examine how the transport policy figures into stages of liminality, as these mothers and communities produce future generations. With theoretical frameworks provided by medical anthropology and maternal identity work, I track the differences concerning the maternal transport operation for Iñupiat mothers of the area. I compare the influences of cultural value systems present in each of the communities by birth era and location. Using content analysis to determine common themes, I found connections among presence of Iñupiat values, community acceptance of maternal transport, and expressed desire for community autonomy in maternal health care.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Duffy, Lawrence K., Loring, Philip A.
Commitee: Fast, Phyllis A., Saylor, Brian L.
School: University of Alaska Fairbanks
Department: Cross-Cultural Studies
School Location: United States -- Alaska
Source: DAI-A 75/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Public health, Native American studies, Health care management
Keywords: Alaska native, Indigenous birth, Inupiat culture, Maternal identity work, Maternal transport policy, Women-centered ethnography
Publication Number: 3607058
ISBN: 9781303644610
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