‘Native Americans: Traditional Healing’

Subject: Culture
Pages: 3
Words: 626
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: College


The article ‘Native Americans: Traditional healing’ by Broome and Broome, gives an insight into the cultural and health related differences between Native Americans and American Indians. This paper addresses some of the issues that health care providers face when communicating across cultures and how these problems can be addressed specifically between healing techniques of Native and American Indians.

Issues Across Cultures

Cultures, traditions, norms have all confused the people of one sect from that of another sect. Misunderstandings and misinterpretation of the others’ language and actions have resulted wars and conflicts (AMP). Similar has been the fate with American Indians, who once owned all of the land in America, are living today on reservations provided by the state. Living in small tribes, American Indians have been socially inactive in the majority thus not been able to receive the best quality care. Therefore most American Indians resort to traditional methods those are cheaper and more inclined with their traditional beliefs. (Broome & Broome, 2007)

Differences in Healing Techniques

The most important and unique difference about the American Indian healing technique is their religious connection to the disease. According to them a disease or a malady is there to teach a person an important lesson in their lives which will help them take charge of their health. Whereas the western medicine teaches isolation of the root cause of the disease and kill it as soon as possible. However since both methods are believed to have healing powers, Mr. Wolf has decided to take both forms of treatment. (Broome & Broome, 2007)

Integrating Western and American Indian Healing Techniques

It is a common problem for health care providers to see the resentment or atleast reservations amongst the American Indians to be treated by a western physician. This is because of the differences explained above and how contradictory they are. However being an open minded person wanting healthcare, Mr. Wolf has decided to take the western healing techniques injunction with traditional ones. This is a positive sign for any physician and seeing that an American Indian has taken a first step, it is time for us to support this decision. (Gielen, Fish, & Draguns, 2004)

A common barrier in diverse environment is the language and miscomprehension of actions (Taylor, 2006). This obstacle must be overcome with great care by involving a local who can help bridge the difference. This is emphasized since American Indians would already be wary of the western physicians intruding in their lives, any irresponsible action may upset the locals and hence thwart any chance of holistic medical care.

A physician must try to become a part of the native culture. This means respecting the patient’s culture and accepting it as an aid to the healing process rather than a hindrance. The patient should be assured that cultural treatment to harmonize the mind and body with the environment won’t be sacrificed, rather such a treatment would be encouraged. Although this belief is against pathological medicine, in a condition where the mind is in control of much of the disease, it is best to encourage the relaxation of the mind though traditional medicine. When the mind is at peace, the antibiotic or other western medicine will react quicker and hence treat the patient earlier.

However in some cases, using traditional medicine and western medicine can react negatively therefore care must be taken to understand the traditional medicine before prescribing a western drug. (Broome & Broome, 2007)

Accepting the minority culture and respecting their beliefs will help the physician see the power of traditional medicine thus giving a holistic care to the patient. Not only this is in the best interest of the patient, but also makes the physician self satisfied for the work that has been done.

Works Cited

AMP. “What is Cultural Diversity?” American Multicultural Publications. Web.

Broome, B., & Broome, R. “Native Americans: Traditional healing”. Urologic Nursing. (2007): 27(2), 161-173.

Gielen, U. P., Fish, J. M., Draguns, J. G. “Handbook of Culture, Therapy, and Healing”. Routledge. (2004).

Groce, N. “Inside deaf culture”. American Anthropologist. (2006): 108(2), 430-431.

Taylor, S. “Communicating across cultures”. The British Journal of Administrative Management. (2006): 12-13.

UMICH. “Program for Multicultural Health”. University of Michigan Health System. Web.