Pueblo Health: Examining Indigenous Concepts of Well-Being and How Perceptions Have Shifted to Health Today
Indigenous Pueblo conceptualization of living well today has shifted mainly due to Federal policies that forced Pueblo people to conform to western way of living moving away from a lifestyle that embraced holistic practices. Native people cannot escape how Western society has shaped the concept of health however, the voices of the Pueblo people and others working in health, acknowledged that Indigenous philosophies, beliefs and practices need to be part of Native health conversations today. My discussion problematizes Native health characterized today as typically represented through the biomedical perspective with the primary focus being the body. Such a limiting perspective dismisses the importance of Indigenous philosophies that embraces broader concepts of well-being to include holistic elements of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. This study examines the shift in perceptions seeking input from patient and medical providers regarding their interactions, particularly communications in a healthcare setting. Pueblo patients defined what was important in their communications with their health provider. Likewise, health providers referred to their experiences providing healthcare to Native patients to describe what is important to know when treating a Pueblo patient. Patients identified family (without specific medical family histories disclosed), knowledge/beliefs that were or were not associated to the patient’s culture, as well as community and family dynamics (that did not delve into traditional medicine or sacred ceremonial activities) as important for their provider to know. The results from the research study highlights the need to examine Native American cultural diversity education in healthcare including advancing improvements in the training of medical providers.