Native American Tribes, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Abstract

This research embraces a study into the Native American Tribal culture and its influence on interpretations of America health care. These tribes are natives of North, South and Central America formerly known as the Americas. They were the people Christopher Columbus found in the new world when he made his startling discoveries. Often they are referred to historically as the indigenous peoples (Zinn, 2003). From a cultural pluralism perspective Native American Tribes have become a smaller group within a larger society in that their culture is now submerged into an ocean of diverse multi-ethnic dispensations. Key words used to search for sources were Native Americans; Native American Tribes; Health Care Reform, Native Americans and health care; cultural pluralism; present healthcare intervention; Native Americans understanding of healthcare. To collect primary data permission was obtained to visit locations where native American tribes are located. A small sample of the population was interviewed regarding their perceptions of present healthcare systems and how it affects their accessibility to quality health care.

Introduction

As such, when Native American’s well-being is evaluated from contemporary sources as it relates to their understanding of American health care system and how their specific health care needs are addressed immense obscurity exists. It is the researcher’s goal to explore how their appreciation of modern health care services affects their accessibility quality of life through efficient health care catered to promote physical mental and social well-being (Native American Health Care, 2004).

Consequently, the thesis guiding this research reflects an exploration into Native Americans’ understanding of present health care interventions being obscure due to strong influences of cultural pluralism within United Sates of America. This researcher will obtain data through literature review searching data bases such as Google and obtaining journal articles from the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association on line data base for secondary supportive data to test the hypothesis for this study.

The twenty-first century Native American

According to Russell Thornton (2005) in the twenty-first century there is a 3.5 or 5.5 million Native American presence in the United States, which signifies a marked increase from 400,000  to 250,000 which remained after the United States of America Federation battles. These numbers are no way reflective of the over 7 million population before the 1492 invasion and plundering. It has also been a marked recovery since the demise of colonialism in the Americas (Thornton, 2005).

Nonetheless, the Native American Indian population access to quality health care remains in obscurity. The mortality and morbidity rates are much greater than other Americans, especially, the white population. Historians contend that this population recovery can be attributed to changing fertility patterns through intermarriage adaptations. Non-natives inter marry with natives and new dimension of the native population emerged during the century. Importantly, this saw a significant growth in American Indian birth rates in rural and urban communities. Precisely, the pattern remained unchanged being much higher than the average North American population (Thornton, 2005).

As such, when the 2000 U.S. Census was conducted, for the time issues regarding accurate identification of the Native American population arouse. Approximately, 6.8 million people identified themselves as Native American, which accounted for an estimated 2.4 % of the total population. Incidentally, 2.5 million people were identified Native American and another; 1.6 million as Native American and another race, mainly white. Consequently, 37 % of people classified as Native American admitted to being mixed. This development is peculiar to other faces in that no other racial group has such a high percentage of mixed race typology. For example just 5% of African Americans admitted mixed ancestry even though there appeared to be a much higher rate. It was significantly less among whites (Thornton, 2005).

Diagram showing where Native Americans live

Statistics Administration, Bureau of the Census

(U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, Bureau of the Census, 2010)

America’s health care system and accessible health care for Native Americans

Interviews were conducted with a sample of 200 Alaskan Native Americans to ascertain their understanding of the present health care provisions. According to the above diagram preceding this paragraph Alaskan Natives occupy the smallest (2.4%) interior American geographic location. A total of 35. 2% of America’s lands have been designated for Native Americans. Alaska’s Natives occupy 2.4 % of that landscape. The rest of America occupies 62% of the country. No further calculations are needed to show the disparities which exist between Native Americans and the rest of the country. Importantly their culture is isolated and submerged in an ocean of diverse multi-ethnic dispensations (Hendrix, 2000).

According to 2010 census out of the total U.S. population, was 308.7 million; 2.9 million people, or 0.9 % were American Indian and Alaska Native alone. Additionally, 0.7% confessed to being mixed with other races bringing the total to 5.2 million (U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, Bureau of the Census, 2010). Two hundred interviews were conducted over a period of six months from the adult Alaska Indian population. Below is a summary of the interviews and in Appendix A an exhibit of the interviewing schedule is tendered.

Interview Summary

Appendix A – Interviewing Schedule

The effects of cultural diversity on Native American physical, mental and social well being

Native Americans’ understanding of present health care interventions being obscure is due to strong influences of cultural pluralism within United States of America. Responses from two hundred Alaskan Native Americans who were interviewed revealed that 90% of the population does not know what health care reform is about. The same amount does not know what health care services are there for them in the community (Interview Summary).

Of those who knew 85% did not acknowledge them. Consequently, attending health care facility regularly was not a priority for many of them 10% did not go to any at all while 50% did not know where to go. This was due to health care officials or anyone else not explaining the health care programs available to them in the community. They, however feel that this negligence was due to their peculiar culture and isolation within the American community (Interview Summary).

In support of this interview results similar studies reveal that culturally appropriate interventions depend upon the individual’s tribal affiliation, level of traditional beliefs, and acculturation to Western biomedical health care system. It was discovered that many Native American Indians are more affiliated to allopathic medicine being connected to the Indian Health Service units, or urban military clinics. Importantly, they do not have any confidence in Western medicine due to the belief that the present health care system is attempting to eliminate the rest of American Native population through modern medicine. As such, they feel challenged in a society which has marginalized them culturally (Calloway, 2000).

Conclusion

This research paper through both primary and secondary data collection procedures provided evidence indicative that Native Americans’ understanding of present health care interventions being obscure is due to strong influences of cultural pluralism within United States of America. Their geographic presence within the society and location significantly denotes that cultural pluralism has placed them outside of America while inside its geography.

Appendix A – Interviewing Schedule

 Biographic Data

Age:            Sex: –         Race: – Mixed Native Alaskan/ Native Alaskan

Specific Data

  1. Do you know what health care reform is? Yes/No
  2. Do you know what health care services are there for you in the community Yes/No
  3. Do you acknowledge the health care services in your community?
  4. How often do you attend a health care facility
  • Once per month
  • Twice very three months
  • I do not where to find one
  • I do not go to any health care facility
  1. Has anyone ever explained the health care programs available to you? Yes/No
  • (a) Do you feel that your culture affects the type of health care you receive? Yes/ No
  1. (b) Explain

References

Hendrix, L. (2000). Health and Health Care of American Indian and Alaska Native Elders

Calloway, C.  (2000). First peoples: A documentary survey of American Indian history. New York: Bedford.

Native American Health Care (2004). Native American health care disparities briefing executive Summary. Retrieved on June 20th, 2013 from

http://www.law.umaryland.edu/marshall/usccr/documents/nativeamerianhealthcaredis.pdf

Thornton, R. (2005).  Native American Demographic and Tribal Survival into the Twenty-first Century. American Studies, 46:3/4; 23-38

Zinn, H. (2003). A People’s History of the United States. New York: HarperCollins.

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