Teacher’s Resources

  • (p. 61) American Indians have long treated illness with a variety of plants. Native knowledge of medicinal plants often has been underestimated, although there is greater interest now from the pharmaceutical industry in exploring Native medicinal knowledge. Natives have traditionally held a wealth of healing knowledge.
  • Early visitors to Native American villages found the quality of care to be very good. “The quality of medical practice of the Indian was at least comparable and perhaps even superior to that of the European.” -Dr. Volney Steele (p. 66)
  • (p. 66) The utilization of traditional herbal medicine in today’s culture is difficult as the knowledge and preparation of the medicines are private property of the family. (p. 69) Often there is a both a physical and spiritual component to Native healing practices. “Often the treatments are inseparable… many medicines are taken in compete secrecy.” (Turner, Bouchard, & Kennedy) This knowledge is carefully guarded and passed down from generation to generation. It is not usually shared outside of the family.
  • (p. 62) American Indian health knowledge was suppressed with the attempt to suppress Native culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. However, some hospitals and healthcare providers today are becoming more open to Native healing practices as they gain better understanding of the importance of a more whole approach to health and healing.
  • (p. 270-271) Nineteen Indian Health Service Units and tribally managed service units exist to provide health care to a four-state region. However, a significant portion of the Native Americans in ND are hard hit as no health care provisions are in place for them. The disparities mirror the experiences by other tribal groups across the nation. Title V Maternal and Child Health funding is not available to North Dakota’s urban Natives. While urban American Indian’s have a significant need for health care, no access to health care services are available to them.

Moss, M. (2016). American Indian Health and Nursing. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

  • (p.63) Since 1824 with the establishment of the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the BIA has been responsible for supervising the health and well-being of American Indians. However, since the inception of the BIA, difficulties with corruption and mismanagement have troubled the organization.
  • (p.63) In 1955, the responsibility of overseeing health issues for the Native Americans was turned over to the national Department of Health Services, who named the new division the Indian Health Services (IHS). This change did not necessarily create better conditions for the Native population.