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Unformatted text preview: 1 Navajo Indians Chapter 30 OLIVIA HODGINS and DAVID HODGINS Overview, Inhabited Localities, and Topography OVERVIEW American Indians are the original inhabitants of North America. Although these groups are referred to as Native Americans and Alaskan Natives , many prefer to be called American Indians or names more specific to their cultural heritage. The amount of Indian blood neces- sary to be considered a tribal member or American Indian varies with each tribe. Navajo Indians claim the distinction of being the largest tribe and require a blood quantum, which refers to attempts to calculate the degree of racial inheritance for a given individual, of 25 percent to be considered a member of the tribe. The required blood quantum varies, providing evidence that, even among Native Americans, controversy exists concerning what constitutes an American Indian. This chapter primarily describes the cultural attributes, val- ues, beliefs, and health-care practices of the Navajo. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) recognizes over 500 different American Indian tribes that extend throughout Alaska and Canada, from Maine to Florida, and from the east coast to the west coast. Subdivisions of American Indians include the Plains Indians , the Pueblos , and the Five Civilized Tribes . The Five Civilized Tribes are further subdivided into Eastern and Western bands. There are 18 Pueblo divisions that can be divided by location such as the Isletta and Isletta Del Sur (Isletta of the South). The Navajo and four of the five bands of the Apaches are primarily located in the central and northern regions of New Mexico and Arizona, whereas the Pima, Papago, and San Carlos Apache tribe and five bands of the Apache, are located in southern Arizona. Each of these American Indian cultures is unique; however, some share similar views regarding cos- mology, medicine, and family organization (see Table 301 for a comparison of Indian and non-Indian cultural value systems.) Very early in the history of the United States, the fed- eral government promised health-care services to Native Americans in exchange for land. The motive for provid- ing health care was not solely altruistic. The government was attempting to gather information on the numbers of Native Americans in an effort to control their populations and to protect the European American population from infectious diseases. The Snyder Act of 1921 codified the federal responsibility on health care. The Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 1976 was a further delineation of the governments responsibility in providing health care. This act expired in 1997; however, Native Americans are receiving health care under the Snyder Act of 1921....
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