Improving the dire health problems faced by many Native American communities is central to their cultural, political, and economic well being. However, it is still too often the case that both theoretical studies and applied programs fail to account for Native American perspectives on the range of factors that actually contribute to these problems in the first place. The authors in “Medicine Ways” examine the ways people from a multitude of indigenous communities think about and practice health care within historical and socio-cultural contexts. Cultural and physical survival are inseparable for Native Americans. Chapters explore biomedically-identified diseases, such as cancer and diabetes, as well as Native-identified problems, including historical and contemporary experiences such as forced evacuation, assimilation, boarding school, poverty and a slew of federal and state policies and initiatives. They also explore applied solutions that are based in community prerogatives and worldviews, whether they be indigenous, Christian, biomedical, or some combination of all three. “Medicine Ways” is an important volume for scholars and students in Native American studies, medical anthropology, and sociology as well as for health practitioners and professionals working in and for tribes.
Dr. Trafzer is the Costo Professor of American Indian Affairs at the University of California Riverside. Raised in Arizona, Clifford Trafzer was born to parents of Wyandot Indian and German-English blood. He earned a B.A. and M.A. in history at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where he also worked as an archivist for Special Collections. He earned a Ph.D. in American History in 1973 with a specialty in American Indian History and the same year became a museum curator for the Arizona Historical Society. Before joining the faculty of the University of California, Riverside in 1991, Trafzer taught at Navajo Community College, Washington State University and San Diego State University.