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Native Americans: A Neglected Health Care Crisis and a Solution


Zechetmayr, M, Native Americans: A Neglected Health Care Crisis and a Solution, Journal of Health & Social Policy, 9, (2) pp. 29-47. ISSN 0897-7186 (1997) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1300/J045v09n02_03


U.S. Government actions have not sufficiently addressed the needs of Native Americans. As the experience of Australia is making clear, these are the regeneration of spiritual, cultural, social and economic values which are based on returning the people to their primary source of energy, and mental and physical health, their land. Without living on and using the resources of the land, the psychological consequences - alienation from self, frustration, anger, and associated health problems - will not only continue to exist, but will become worse in the future, as several analysts point out. I agree with Reid and Trompf who understand that Native American's problems will not be solved without self-responsibility. Without a return to self-identify and self-worth, no government program will be successful. Only the land gives the indigenous people a sense of identity and community which, in itself, is not just a healing factor but in fact, the healing factor. Without providing the opportunity to return to the caretaking of the land, Reid finds Government and its supporters are ignoring the destruction of the dignity of the Native Americas - or any indigenous population, wherever they may be. Additionally, as in Australia, Aboriginal Health Services have to be operated by indigenous people. Health statistics and performance indicators need to be compiled regularly. Health policy and programs have to be monitored and adjusted continuously. General community programs have to integrate Native American population needs. Community programs have to be accessible and sympathetic to Native American needs and trained native people have to work with their people. Thus, the U.S. Government has to provide access to properly accredited training programs. As has been successfully demonstrated in State and Territory programs in Australia, Native Americans must be involved in both curriculum development and the actual training program. Serious consideration has to be given to making the trained Native American health worker the initial point of contact for all Native American health programs. Salary of these workers has to be commensurate with that of other health workers' income nationwide. Advanced medical training for doctoral programs must be supported and funding for training and educational materials must be equally accommodated. Finally, greater educational materials must be equally accommodated. Finally, greater co-operation and consultation, governmental and public support, and new initiatives are essential to increase Native Americans' health promotion and disease prevention.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Specialist studies in education
Research Field:Learning sciences
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Other health
Objective Field:Other health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Zechetmayr, M (Dr Monika Zechetmayr)
ID Code:12080
Year Published:1997
Deposited By:Secondary and Post-Compulsory Education
Deposited On:1997-08-01
Last Modified:2011-08-15

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