Cultural Presentation

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Cultural Presentation: Native Americans –Eastern Cherokee

What are the top 5 things a nurse or health care provider would need to know about someone that identifies with this culture? 1. Results of this study suggested that providers and patients often left the medical encounter with significantly different perceptions of “what happened” during the visit. This discordance was most often a result of the patients’ tendency to evaluate provider behavior more positively than did the providers (Garroutte, Sarkisian, Goldberg, Buchwald, & Beals, 2008). 2. One article mentioned that providers should pay special attention to interactions involving information exchange with their American Indian patients. This could involve asking these patients for guidance on how to accomplish tasks more smoothly for patients who strongly identify with American Indian culture. The results of the study suggested that patients’ cultural identities are important to medical interaction (Garroutte, Sarkisian, Goldberg, Buchwald, & Beals, 2008). 3. They need to know that Cherokee are at higher risk for hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. This is very helpful so doctors and nurses know what to assess (Lowe, Riggs, Henson, Elder, & Liehr, 2009). 4. They also are at a higher risk for substance control so nurses and doctors need to be aware that withdrawal may be an issue (Lowe, Riggs, Henson, Elder, & Liehr, 2009). 5. Using culturally specific models such as the Cherokee Self Reliance model can be used to in planning and implementing programs for care (Lowe, 2008). The Cherokee had a matrilineal society, a social system in which their descent was traced strictly through their mother's side of the family. The most important man in the life of any Cherokee child was their mother's brother. Discipline and instruction in hunting and warfare rested not with the child's father, but with his maternal uncle. The Cherokee people believe that decisions affecting the entire tribe must be met and discussed as a group. The Cherokee treat each other with respect and believe that bad deeds are always punished, so they are careful to avoid committing them. * Identify health risks/high risk behaviors common to this culture. Cherokee Indians have higher disease rates as compared to white Americans. They have increased rates in diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer and substance abuse (Lowe, Riggs, Henson, Elder, & Liehr, 2009). There are a number of Native American groups in which there is a much higher than normal incidence of Hepatitis C, nay of which are located in areas where alcoholism use is high. This point alone immediately puts these adolescence at a much higher risk for Hepatitis C. According to the article, STD’s including gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and primary and secondary syphilis are rated as having the second highest incidence rate in the Native American population as compared to any other racial/ethnic group. Although homosexuality may be seen within some groups, it does not mean that it is embraced as a culturally acceptable practice. Gay Native Americans are often discriminated and taunted in their groups, leading to a lack of understanding as well as the discouragement of seeking out any medical services if needed. This being said, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and/or Hepatitis C within these groups tends to be higher (Lowe, 2008). Cherokee Healing

The Eastern Band of Cherokee has lived in North Carolina for thousands of years. Like most North Carolinians, the Cherokee now have access to modern health care. Still, many retain traditional philosophies that have shaped their culture for centuries, including viewpoints about health and healing.

In the traditional Cherokee view, all people, animals and plants are one living being called the Great Life. For humans, the Great Life exists in the harmony of body, mind and spirit. If a person’s harmony with nature or other people is disrupted,...
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