American Indian Families: Perspectives of Health

The definition of family health has been somewhat elusive in the nursing, medical, and health literature. Sharon Denham offered one definition of family health as a set of complex interactions across members and households within their social context. Here, family health is described as it pertains to American Indian members, households, and social contexts. Heterogeneous tribes make up the United States' American Indian population, making it important to note that there will be no one American Indian perspective on what family health means. However, there are many shared beliefs, practices, and cultural threads connecting perspectives across tribes, regions, and nationally. For most of America's tribes, a concept of family health will be largely familiar. Many tribes embrace a perspective called variously, Mitakuye Oyasin, or “we ...

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