Aboriginal and Mexican Heritage and Health Beliefs
Subject: Public Health
Cultural Group: Native Americans History Descendants of Paleo-Indians (Lithic stage); Cultural exchange with European travelers; Large tribes with unique culture; Deadly diseases due to colonization; Native Americans were migrating peoples. Values/Worldview Wise use of natural resources; With respect to life experience (elderly); All-natural objects are sacred; The importance of generosity and honesty; Reduce the exploitation of nature. Language/Communication Many communicate in English freely; Speak almost 200 indigenous languages; Navajo language – the most widespread; Language preservation efforts are taken; Do not have one protolanguage (Kinsey & Reed, 2015). Art Colorful blankets and weapons decoration; Nature motifs and textile art; Traditional baskets made of grass; Beading is still extremely popular; Have numerous artistic storytelling traditions. Norms/Rules Respect one’s clan and leaders; Traditional gender roles are emphasized; Subordination based on age differences; Hierarchical structures in the social organization; Respect the bodily integrity of others (Kinsey & Reed, 2015). Lifestyle Characteristics Religious practices along with learning; Live in urban and rural areas; Emphasis on dignity, not wealth; Have many official tribal governments; Battle numerous stereotypes and myths. Relationships/Rituals The sanctity of familial networks; The importance of family support; Use modern means of communication; Spiritual rituals (healing practices, festivals); Annual gatherings of large tribes. Assimilation/Marginalization The assimilation degrees greatly vary; The majority live in urban areas; Underrepresented in business and sports; Many reservations across the USA; Still respect traditional art, beliefs. Health Behaviors Value family support in treatment; Are sensitive to medical interactions; Often underutilize modern healthcare resources; High prevalence of pernicious habits (Cobb, Espey, & King, 2014); Use both traditional and alternative treatment. Socio-Cultural Group: Mexican Heritage History Partial Mexican annexation (the 1840s); The 1920s – mass immigration to the U.S.; Organized many movements against racism; >10% of the U.S. population; Were discriminated against legally and economically (Davis, Carlo, & Knight, 2015). Values/Worldview Feel obliged to their families; Value unity and mutual help; Behavior: emotional intelligence and sincerity (Davis et al., 2015); Trust-based relationships are important; Great differences in religious views. Language/Communication High degrees of linguistic diversity; Mexicans speak various second languages; The first language is Spanish; Recognize many languages (Nahuatl, etc.); Mexican Americans demonstrate linguistic assimilation. Art Traditional poetry and music (Mariachi); Handcraft (vases and ceramic pots); Clothing items and wood crafts; “Artesanía” elements in modern art; Mat-making and weaved bags. Norms/Rules Often support traditional gender roles; Regular family gatherings, family dinners; Older adults’ opinions are respected; Family issues outweigh business problems; Mutual respect and conflict avoidance. Lifestyle Characteristics Respect traditional culture and art; Traditional celebrations, festivals, and rituals; Business customs (the length of meetings); I prefer family weekends to individual activities; Religious diversity in everyday life. Relationships/Rituals The roles are clearly distributed; Hierarchies in less assimilated families; Traditional ceremonies or Christian rituals; Annual All Saints Day celebrations; Hosting parties with traditional food. Assimilation/Marginalization Mexican Americans are usually well-assimilated; Religious assimilation – popular Christian traditions; Earn university degrees despite discrimination; Have many communities across the U.S.; May take well and low-paid jobs. Health Behaviors Traditional gender roles – women as carers; Nutrition – may follow unhealthy diets; Underutilize mental healthcare services (Gonzalez, Applewhite, & Barrera, 2015); Family support to ill relatives; Significant risk factors for obesity (Nam, Al Snih, & Markides, 2017). Comparison Common and Different Characteristics Common: family unity and support; Common: female/male gender roles; Common: take culture preservation efforts; Differences: the degree of assimilation; Differences: the popularity of traditional treatments. Healthcare Approaches Both: engage families in decision-making; M: consider religious beliefs before contacts; M: focus on nutrition consultations; NA: consider physical intimacy rules (direct eye contact, etc.); NA: consider accessories’ religious meaning. References Cobb, N., Espey, D., & King, J. (2014). Health behaviors and risk factors among American Indians and Alaska Natives, 2000–2010. American Journal of Public Health, 104(S3), S481-S489.
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Davis, A. N., Carlo, G., & Knight, G. P. (2015). Perceived maternal parenting styles, cultural values, and prosocial tendencies among Mexican American youth. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 176(4), 235-252. Gonzalez, J. M., Applewhite, S. R., & Barrera, I. (2015). Older Mexican Americans: Pathways to mental health service use. Social Work in Mental Health, 13(4), 390-414. Kinsey, K., & Reed, P. G. (2015). Linking Native American tribal policy to practice in mental health care. Nursing Science Quarterly, 28(1), 82-87. Nam, S., Al Snih, S., & Markides, K. (2017). The effects of chronic medical conditions and obesity on self-reported disability in older Mexican Americans. Texas Public Health Journal, 69(3), 12-15.