Navajos Cultural Group’s Healthcare Practices

Table of Contents

Overview

The Navajos are from a minority cultural group in the United States. The Navajo people have their own government. This “government manages the reservation of Indian Americans” (Locke, 2012, p. 24). A reservation is “a piece of land owned and controlled by a specific group” (Locke, 2012, p. 65). This racial group uses English or the Navajo language. These Navajo people are mainly found in New Mexico and Arizona.

Demographics

This group is recognized by the government of the country. Members of this tribe live in New Mexico and Arizona. The 2010 Census indicated that Arizona had the largest number of Navajo speakers (Curtis, 2015). This group has a population of around 300,000 citizens. The population has been growing very slowly.

Health Care Practices

The Navajos have unique cultural practices. They have “traditional herbalists and medicine men” (Locke, 2012, p. 24). These people also have rituals to pray and repent. The wave of modernism has forced many Navajos to embrace different medical treatments. Many Navajos seek medical support from different health facilities. The people have different healing ceremonies. Such ceremonies “are called the kinaaldá” (Locke, 2012, p. 73). Such ceremonies “take place inside a structure called a Hogan” (Locke, 2012, p. 73). They condone infidelity and premarital sex. This “approach protects many people from sexually transmitted diseases” (Locke, 2012, p. 86). The Navajo people also embrace the use of modern immunizations.

Risk Behaviors

The “outstanding risk behavior arises from the matrilineal system embraced by this society” (Curtis, 2015, p. 18). Women used to own land and property. Men were “supposed to move and live with their wives” (Curtis, 2015, p. 18). This practice can result in numerous health challenges, especially after divorce. A semi-nomadic lifestyle is also practiced by some members of the cultural group. This behavior exposes more people to various health problems.

Genetic Susceptibility to Chronic Conditions

Studies have “indicated that members of this tribe are at a higher risk of developing various conditions such as asthma, tuberculosis, smallpox, and diabetes” (Locke, 2012, p. 87). This situation encourages scientists to examine the potential causes of such diseases.

Nutrition

The Navajos have been embracing a semi-nomadic lifestyle. This fact explains why they consume different animal products such as milk and meat (Locke, 2012). They also gather fruits, roots, and plant materials.

Spirituality

These people have a unique religion. The Navajo religion is practiced by a small number of people. They “worship in their houses or hogans” (Curtis, 2015, p. 35). Such hogans are treated as holy structures. They have several religious songs. One of these songs is called hozhooji. The people believe that “some mountains such as the San Francisco Peaks and Herperus Mountain are sacred” (Curtis, 2015, p. 47). Modernism encourages most of these individuals to embrace different religions such as Christianity.

Death Rituals

The Navajos used “to believe that the dead would come back again someday” (Locke, 2012, p. 76). The tribe discouraged the Navajos from looking at dead people. A few individuals were allowed to come into contact with the dead. The Navajos “destroy their houses whenever a person dies in them” (Locke, 2012, p. 165). The Navajos believe that death exposed human beings to evil spirits.

Reference List

Curtis, E. (2015). The North American Indian: The Complete Portfolios. New York, NY: Taschen.

Locke, R. (2012). The Book of the Navajo. Fortville, IN: Holloway House.

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