Good Days

Health of Native Americans

I come across a lot of information in the course of a day, most of it barely touching my mind. However, from time to time, I come across something that makes me stop and take a closer look. Yesterday was one of those times. A conference of Native American physicians have been meeting in Portland this week. Modern medicine's approach has fractured the holistic healing practices of Native Americans, who have the worst health problems in the nation. On some level I've known that for years. What I did not know was "the life expectancy for Native Americans is 63 years compared with 74 for the general population. In South Dakota, the median age of death is 81 for the general population; 58 for Native Americans". "The statistical differences continue: The death rate among Native Americans from diabetes is three times as high as the general population's; six times as high from alcohol; more than two times as high from accidents and 60 percent higher from suicide". The statement that stopped me in my tracks was this one: "We need to address the underlying wounded spirits, the loss of culture, the loss of land and how that affects people's spirits".