An exhibition “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness,” opens today at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland. The exhibition tries to ‘map’ an Indigenous cultural approach to understanding concepts of health and illness exploring the interconnectedness of health disease and culture.
Dramatic inequalities dominate Indigenous health in many parts of the world which reflects in a significantly lower life expectancy. At the same time Indigenous nations are exposed to lack of health care, culturally appropriate services and oftentimes discrimination and institutional racism. To lay the basis for an upward trend in their health status Indigenous nations have started to re-establish Indigenous health care systems that are based on traditional knowledge and on revitalization of Indigenous cultural practices.
The NLM exhibition enquires into questions of Indigenous health care, well-being and illness and could help traditional healing to more enjoy the status that would correspond to its significance.