American Indian Culture and Research Journal

Published by UCLA American Indian Studies Center

Print ISSN: 0161-6463


Medicine for the Rosebuds: Health Care at the Cherokee Female Seminary, 1876–1909
  • Article

February 1988


16 Reads

Devon Irene Abbott

Learning How to Ask: Reflections on Engaging American Indian Research Participants
  • Article
  • Full-text available

January 2010


89 Reads


Sally Maliski


Mary Cadogan




Briana Cardoza

Appropriate Technologies in the Traditional Native American Smokehouse: Public Health Considerations in Tribal Community Development

February 2000


34 Reads

Dans le cadre des nouvelles politiques amerindiennes favorisant le developpement communautaire et le renouveau des pratiques traditionnelles, la communaute tribale amerindienne de la reserve swinomish (partie sud-est de l'ile de Fidalgo, Comte de Skagit, Etat de Washington) a reconstruit une maison longue afin de perenniser les ceremonies traditionnelles (Seowyn) tribales. Les AA. decrivent comment la communaute swinomish a su adapter les technologies de la maison longue afin remedier aux risques sanitaires engendres par l'utilisation des feux ouverts dans la maison longue, nouvelles technologies permettant de respecter l'importance de l'intimite dans la pratique ceremonielle.

Breast Cancer-Screening Behavior among Rural California American Indian Women

September 2009


38 Reads

A community-based Wellness Circles Program was designed and implemented at thirteen sites in California. Data obtained from the BRFSS that was administered to a subset of women demonstrate that American Indian women continue to underutilize breast cancer-screening procedures. American Indian breast cancer-screening rates were compared to national and state general populations. On all measures, screening procedures among the study population were found to be below that reported by the state of California and national BRFSS data reports and the Healthy People 2010 objectives.14 Despite the availability of many cancer-screening tests, a significant number of American Indian women do not follow recommended screenings. Barriers to participation are complex and often involve cultural values and beliefs.15 Even when, for example, mammography appointments have been scheduled, many Indian women fail to keep them, and the noncompliance rate among American Indian women is particularly high.16 The concept of "deferred care" may provide an explanatory reason for noncompliant behavior in breast cancer screenings. California American Indian women reported delaying their mammography for five years or more, which can be described as deferred care. Discussion of "putting up with and enduring" is suggested as a possible reason for late screening or noncompliance with recommended screening. This behavior may be a significant cause for reported failure to obtain cancer screening and deserves further attention. Cancer screening is an important behavior that health educators and health care providers seek to reinforce. Many groups, including American Indians, fail to participate sufficiently in prevention screening activities. To improve this situation, the design and implementation of cultural and multi-generational educational materials are recommended. In short, culturally appropriate cancer education is needed to improve screening participation among this special population.17 The need for improved screening rates and the need to address barriers to screening among rural Indian groups are essential if cancer is to be prevented and controlled in these groups. The failure of many ethnic groups to adhere to recommended screening is of concern to health educators and providers. In American Indian populations, culturally appropriate social support interventions may be particularly effective in promoting cancer screening and thus in reducing cancer mortality.18 The sense of "putting up with and enduring"-generated from role expectations and placing oneself as less of a priority-creates barriers that further repress cancer screening. We must address this sense of deferred care directly and seek to alter its logic in future cancer-screening programs. To move from the cultural concept of deferred care to the contemporary concept of "self-responsibility" is a necessary step. The literature on health-seeking behaviors describes the route or pathways to obtaining care through advocates, self-help, or education. This literature, however, does not recognize the concept of deferred care. Doing without and delaying or deferring preventative screening in the belief that family or community members are more important, and that their needs take precedence over one's own personal health needs, can lead to serious health conditions. Family roles and responsibilities, barriers, or priorities, as determined by cultural and economic conditions, can lead Indian women and men to forgo their health screenings-resulting in the burden of illness.

table 1 TLC Immersion Encampment Profiles 
Figure 1. These graphs indicate the responses given by the members of the CSKT study populations to two items, rating of physical health and rating of mental/emotional/spiritual health. The yellow bars indicate the Community Health Survey population (n=175) and the blue bars represent the adults participating in the Traditional Living Challenge encampments who completed the data collection (n=28). These two samples show very similar profiles.  
table 2 Participant demographic characteristics: Community Survey and TLC Participants 
table 3 
table 4 
Preventing Cardiovascular Disease in Native Communities: The Traditional Living Challenge

October 2014


101 Reads

Many of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) are preventable, which indicates that lifestyle is a key risk factor. Behavioral change interventions attempted with AI/ANs that focus on lifestyle have begun to incorporate Native cultural traditions, or cultural capital. This article discusses one such Native-based intervention conducted on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana, which used cultural capital as the foundation for an intervention to address risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Called the Traditional Living Challenge, the specific purpose of the intervention was to revitalize community initiatives toward wellness through a cultural immersion experience, which replicated a former healthier lifestyle and diet. The long-term goal was for the cultural immersion intervention to foster personal and group motivation toward a commitment to wellness. To implement the project, the researchers developed collaborations among the tribal health department, cultural leaders, the tribal council, and various relevant tribal units. The researchers identified participants across various age ranges by involving whole families in the intervention. They also identified a broad range of community-based resources and opportunities to support ongoing lifestyle changes and developed a number of cardiovascular disease risk outcome measures that would be appropriate for use in this community.

“I Saw All That”: A Lakota Girl's Puberty Ceremony

February 2000


398 Reads

A partir des recits de Nellie Zelda Star Boy Menard, femme lakota, nee en 1910 a Belvidere dans la reserve de Rosebud (Dakota du Sud), et de diverses sources ecrites, l'A. explore quatre evenements qui ont marque le rite d'initiation de Nellie Menard lors de ses premieres menstrues. Sont successivement presentes : les activites pendant la periode de reclusion dans une tente (isnati awicalowanpi) ; la ceremonie du buffle ; la ceremonie du lancer de la balle (tapa wankayeyapi) ; la fete et le giveaway accompagnant les autres evenements. L'A. porte notamment une attention particuliere a l'utilisation et au role des arts dans chaque rituel.

Ethnicity and Gender in the Global Periphery: A Comparison of Basotho and Navajo Women

January 1988


26 Reads

In this paper I attempt to crystalize a number of issues which pertain to the economic roles of women in peripheral areas of the world. To accomplish this goal, I draw on my own ethnographic field research among the Basotho women of southern Africa and the Navajo women of the American Southwest. The comparative analysis of women's economic roles in these two non-contiguous regions is guided by and incorporates several dimensions of world system theory. More specifically, included in the analysis are considerations of the interrelationship among, core, periphery, and semi periphery; and the intersection of class, ethnicity, and gender in the functioning of the economic systems of these two societies.

Philosophers on Race: Critical Essays

December 2007


45 Reads

Descriptions of American Indians in the EssayDescriptions of American Indians in the Two Treatises of GovernmentProperty RightsConquest and ResistanceWasteland, Genocide, and TreatiesImpact of the Essay: AssimilationThe Essay and ReligionConclusion

Annotated Bibliography: Internet Resources for Native American and Canadian Aboriginal Studies

January 2008


26 Reads

David A. Smith is the Indigenous Studies Librarian, University of Saskatchewan An annotated bibliography of what the author considers to be some of the best quality, most useful, and in a few cases, most innovative Web sites of value to academics, independent researchers, and students who conduct research in the field of North American indigenous studies.

Remapping Place and Narrative in Native American Literature: David Treuer's The Hiawatha

January 2007


174 Reads

David Treuer's 1997 novel, "The Hiawatha," engages the traditional literary strategies employed by Native American writing, compares those strategies to earlier narratives (Native American and canonically American), offers a reassessment of indigenous novelistic structures, engages critical responses to tribal fiction, and does so in response to current discursive debate within the field of Native American literary studies. In this essay, the author aims to explicate Treuer's use of that style and how this usage facilitates a fresh sense of space within Native American fiction. Most particularly, this essay will examine a sense of space that makes palpable the potential directions open to tribal literatures and attendant criticism while remapping existing images of place and subverting notions of homecoming.

Expanding the Circle: Decreasing American Indian Mental Health Disparities through Culturally Competent Teaching about American Indian Mental Health

January 2009


43 Reads

In the last decade, the United States has increasingly focused on the reduction and elimination of health disparities in racial and ethnic minority groups.1 Somewhat neglected in these efforts have been mental health disparities for American Indians.2 American Indians remain in a precarious position as an underserved community with limited culturally competent resources to address their mental health and substance-abuse needs.3 The lack of resources continues to prevail despite emerging data that indicate that American Indians’ disparities in mental health and behavioral health occur at alarming rates, which calls for the need for interventions and attention for public mental health, medical, and educational resources.4 As a diverse and heterogeneous population, American Indians consist of approximately 2.5 million members with more than 560 federally recognized tribes and nations.5 They reside in widely separated rural areas in 279 state and federal reservations and in urban locations. American Indians make up approximately 1.5 percent of the total US population with the majority living in the western states of California, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico.6 Although many remain linked to reservations, blending traditional and Western healing, nationwide about two-thirds of the American Indian population are classified as urban, with Los Angeles as the largest urbanized American Indian population in the United States.7 Attention to the public mental health needs of urban American Indians is important because of the historical lack of health resources to ensure that this community will thrive emotionally and recover from its history of trauma.8 Specifically, it has been noted that cultural competency in the health care settings will help to reduce, if not eliminate, health disparities.9 As we strive to meet the goals of Healthy People 2020, it becomes clear that attention must be devoted to the broader goal of creating and sustaining culturally competent mental and behavioral health services for both tribal and urban American Indians.

Surviving the War by Singing the Blues: The Contemporary Ethos of American Indian Political Poetry

January 1986


29 Reads

In this paper I hope to explore the ethos of "survival" through song, language and cultural resistance. The first section will focus on world view, both Western and "Indian," and its relation to historical as well as contemporary political and social conflict. I will explore how art becomes the agent of criticism and the exponent of change. Next, I will discuss major themes in contemporary Indian poetry that comprise the Native ethos of cultural resistance and survival. In keeping with the broad artistic fusion of the Grafitti Band's music, I will correlate certain themes in Indian poetry to the spirituals and blues of the black American people. Because I concentrate on a specific form of cultural resistance, artistically expressed primarily through the themes which comprise "the blues," I have structured the poetic selections accordingly.

Drinking, Foster Care, and the Intergenerational Continuity of Parenting in an Urban Indian Community

January 1998


24 Reads

Draws on interviews with 50 urban American Indians to examine how foster-care placements compromised former foster children's ability to parent their own children. Discusses the influence of parental drinking on family life, leading to child neglect and foster-care placement; differing experiences of foster children raised by extended family versus strangers; and the intergenerational reproduction of parenting behaviors. (SV)

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