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Enhancing the Awareness of Navajo Indians
Michele Amoroso, Holly Bulian, and Tara Smallidge
Loyola University

Enhancing the Awareness of Navajo Indians Native Americans are composed of numerous, distant tribes, bands and ethnic groups, many of which survive as intact, sovereign nations. Once a self-governing, self-sufficient people, America Indians were forced to give up their homes and their land, and to subordinate themselves to an alien culture. From the origin of their tribes in the 1500’s to the early nineteenth century, American Indians have experienced oppression. Today, American Indians are more numerous than they have been for several centuries (Andersen & Collins, 2012). Today, Native Americans have a unique
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Life expectancy on the reservation is 48 years old for men and 52 years for women. These statistics are far from the 77.5 years of age life expectancy in Chicago, Illinois. The USDA Rural development documents state that Navajo (Lakota) have the lowest life expectancy of any group in America. Teenage suicide rates are roughly 150% higher than they are for the rest of the country, 15.8% for attempted suicide in Chicago, IL (Chicago List, 2012). In addition infant mortality rate is the highest on this continent and is about 300% higher than the U.S national average. More than half of the reservation’s adults battle addiction and disease, such as alcoholism, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and malnutrition. There is a federal commodity food program but it supplies mostly inappropriate foods such as high sugar and carbohydrates. Lastly, U.S Government and Indian Nations agreed to provide adequate medical care for Indians in return for vast quantities of land. However, the appropriation is very small compared to what is needed. Most families live in isolated rural areas, and there are few paved roads to access health care. Weather is also an obstacle on the reservation such as severe winds and temperatures reaching over 110 degrees, which makes it difficult to travel. (Keshena, 2010). Culturally speaking, Navajo’s do not have to live in villages. Their family structure consists of banding together in small groups, often near a
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