American Indian Culture and Its Effects on Nursing Essay Sample

American Indian Culture and Its Effects on Nursing Essay Sample

The Native Americans are very rich of all the other groups in terms of culture of all the other groups in America. Most of the modern ways of life in America is either directly or indirectly borrowed or learnt from the Indian cultures of long ago. Many symbols used in America today can trace their roots from the Native Indian Americans. Since the beginning of time right from independent the American culture has been composed of many different traditions such as the Native American tribes mostly, an a number of European nations and West African tribes. Nursing is an art, practice or profession of providing care for the sick and the infants. This paper focuses on the Native Americans with an objective of explaining in detail the culture of the American Indians and how it affects nursing.

First the American Indians spiritual beliefs concerning animals were very strong since they respected animals very much although they did hunting still. The American Indians strongly believed that the spirits of the animals killed in the community came back and inhabited or possessed people’s minds. When something like illness or disease happens in this culture that is obsessed with their beliefs in the spirits they resort to other unyielding ways of dealing with an illness or disease instead of seeking proper medication. Small medical issues are viewed as results of spirits and they still belief that those same spirits would bring cure to those affected. This culture with such a belief system adversely affects nursing in terms of it being embraced by the community and solving health problems in that particular community.

Integral symbols such as a totem pole, the teepee, the moccasins and the peace pipe created from a unique cultural trait of the American Indians life. The American Indians used various symbols that interwove the tapestry and nature of their lifestyle. Taken in higher regard are the Totem poles which formed a very key part of the America Indian’s culture (Barret 2009). The totem pole was a tall wooden craving put into place to represent various animals that represented a deceased member of the family who was highly cherished. They believed in reincarnation that every person’s spirit in the community was attached to particular animal’s spirit. Thus, the community believed that, at death, a person’s spirit was absorbed by his or her attached animal to live on or reincarnate or regenerate as another person at birth.

The American Indians highly believed in spirits and depended on them for the well being and nourishment of the society in all its aspects (Barrett, 2009). Spirits were tied to various happenings and outcomes in the society such as a bumper harvest, natural disasters and tragedies and community health and its well being. As a result, the spirits were kept pleased to see to the survival and good harvest in the tribe. Sacrifices and offerings were made at sacred places to the spirits. For instance, the Pueblo tribes regarded various plants as sacred while the Aztecs offered human sacrifices to appease the spirits. The believes that the spirits were fully responsible for the well being of the community including the health of the community was a misconception and quite a heavy blow to nursing and nursing programmes in place. A community with such beliefs would not take the health services being offered seriously instead they disregard it and get busy trying to appease the spirits that they believe will cure them.

The issue of diet and nutrition that a community prescribes unto or values also indirectly affects the health system and thus have an effect on the nursing system in place. There are diets that accelerate or bring certain diseases whereas others prevent illnesses and promote the health of individuals. The American Indian culture valued traditional foods that were highly nutritious and promoted community’s health and wellbeing and thus strengthening the already available nursing system. When the sick took the right diet their immunity improved and they recovered fast even as the infants grew healthier and thus prevented future possible health complications.


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