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North Americans indigenous to the lands of the 48 contiguous states refer to themselves variously as Indians, American Indians, Native Americans, or as members of their tribes (e.g., Menominee, Cherokee, Navajo) or cultural groups (e.g., Ojibwe), and at times simply as Americans. The term American Indian is used in this entry. Alaska Natives will be included as North American continental indigenous peoples with distinct political ties to the United States. Similarities and differences in tribal origins, cultures, and traditions are a backdrop to understanding health and health beliefs. European Columbian contact in 1492 precipitated abrupt changes in life ways and initiated a political history felt as historical trauma. American Indians today experience health disparities that reflect the cultural disruption and political disadvantage of the past. ...

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