Native American Pau-Wau

Hannah Kajer, Elise Quam, Megan Reuwsaat

Historical Trauma and Oppression

1805 Influx of European American into MN

Low autonomy

Disrespect for their culture and practices

U.S. vs. Dakota War of 1862

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Class Concepts: Cultural Identity

"Awareness of ethnicity within the US context is always associated with loss" (McGoldrick, Giordano, & Garcis-Preto, 2005). -->For the Native Americans, their culture was disturbed and exposed to deadly illnesses from new immigrants.

-Powwows= congregation of the community in order to keep traditional rituals alive

-Young participants dance with the elders

- This time is considered to be a time of remembering the past, the old ways, and also a time of dreaming for the future

Class Concepts: Religion/Spirituality

The U.S. Has a long history of oppressing the Native American's religious practices

The Native American Religious Freedom Act in 1978...poorly enforced (peyote, eagle bones/feathers, religious sites)

"Social work requires working with religion" (Knitter, 2010). Why?

-Socialization of behavior

-Behavior and beliefs are linked

-Native American spirituality has strong belief in the circle of life and the pau-wau celebrates the circle with tribal drums, dancing, food, chanting and traditional healing rituals.

Class Concepts: Intersectionality

"People live multiple layered lives. People can simultaneously experience oppression and privilege" (Crisp, 2014).

-Elders are highly regarded in the Native American community and hold privilege from the respect that they receive.

-Older adults are commonly oppressed in the white main stream culture

-Native American elders are simultaneously a minority facing oppression in the white main stream culture

Class Concepts: Power/Privilege

We felt "on guard" attending a new ceremony, at a new place, with different traditions than our own experiences

It is sometimes "mentally taxing" and brought a lot of introspection of how that may feel

What Can We Do?


-Actively be an ally

-Respectfully asking questions


-THIS BOOK "Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians but Were Afraid to Ask" by Anton Treur


Crisp, C. (2014). White and lesbian: Intersections of privilege and oppression. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 18(2), 106–117.

Knitter, Paul, F. (2010) Social work and religious diversity: Problems and possibilities, journal of religion & spirituality in social work: Social Thought, 29:3, 256-270

McGoldrick, M., Giordano, J., & Garcia-Preto, N. (2005). Overview. In M. McGoldrick, J. Giordano, & N. Garcia-Preto (Eds.), Ethnicity and family therapy (3rd ed., pp. 1–40). New York, NY: Guilford Press

hooks, b. (1989). Keeping close to home: Class and education. In Talking back: Thinking feminist, thinking black (pp. 73–83). Boston, MA: South End Press.