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Department of Psychology, Health and Gender

The Sweetgrass Method: H.O.P.E for Indigenous People

Tuesday, December 13, 2022 - 18:30

Most psychotherapeutic and counselling interventions for indigenous communities have been designed by—and for—white people. Lack of cultural understanding and culturally insensitive programs are the primary reasons for treatment underutilization by indigenous people. This feeds into the idea that indigenous people are ‘stuck’ in the past and are unwilling to ‘get better.’ In contrast, the sweetgrass method is a culturally responsive invitation that promotes braiding of Indigenous traditional methodologies, which are meant to cleanse the mind, spirit and body. A brief overview of the Sweetgrass Method will be presented. This will be followed by a discussion on the strengths, challenges and cultural politics of interweaving Western and Traditional intervention approaches.



Dr. M. Standing Eagle Baez is an assistant professor of clinical and counseling psychology at Bemidji State University, MN. He is also a practicing psychologist and the developer of the Sweetgrass Method. One of his areas of interest involves studying how to improve mental health services provided by non-Native practitioners to Tribal communities and Native American clients.

Dr. C. Allison Baez is an educator and researcher at the Native Center for Behavioral Health research center at the University of Iowa College of Public Health. Her interests include exploring the intermingling of evidence and experience-based therapeutic methods, and applying these methods to the treatment of those suffering from substance use and other behavioral health disorders across Indian country. 


Additional Resources:

If you are interested in learning more, here are some references:





If you have any questions, please contact Maria Medved (mmedvedataup.edu).


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