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November is Native American Heritage Month!

November is Native American Heritage Month! This year, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, which will help modernize the Indian health care system and improve health care for 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Photo of 2010 Heritage Poster

According to the American Community Survey’s Demographic and Housing Estimates for 2006-2008, the Pacific Southwest Region is home to more than 600,000 American Indians (or 25% of the United States’ total American Indian population). What are you doing to celebrate Native American Heritage Month in your libraries? Why not feature some of these resources to your patrons?

Online health resources for American Indians:

MedlinePlus: Native American Health – MedlinePlus is a great source of consumer health information for patients, families, and health care providers. The Native American Health Topic page provides links to prevention/screening, learning more about specific conditions, videos, financial issues, clinical trials, research, journal articles, and more! MedlinePlus also offers resources on inhalants, written in the Navajo language.

American Indian Health – The American Indian Health portal is designed to bring together health and medical resources pertinent to the American Indian population including policies, consumer health information, and research. An assortment of links are provided for health topics, people and traditions, programs and services, and research and data.

Indian Health Service – The Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for providing federal health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. The website contains a wealth of information and many interactive tools, such as the HIV/AIDS Toolkit which is designed for both providers serving AI/AN people living with HIV/AIDS as well as AI/AN people living with HIV/AIDS.

Resources for Your Health: Get Connected! Native American Health! – The Get Connected! Native American Health! trifold is ready to print and distribute to your patrons. This colorful pamphlet contains numerous links to general health resources for the American Indian population.

National Library of Medicine online exhibitions and digital projects about American Indians:

Photo of Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte
Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte

Changing the Face of Medicine – Released in 2003, Changing the Face of Medicine honors the lives and achievements of women in medicine. With an interactive Physician Search, you can find information on notable American Indian or Alaskan Native doctors, such as Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte (left), the first American Indian woman in the United States to receive a medical degree.

“If you knew the conditions…”: Health Care to Native Americans – A blast from the past, “If you knew the conditions…” was released in 1994. The exhibit focuses on the administration of health care to American Indian recipients by the United States Government from the 19th century to the 1990s. Although the website design is outdated, the photos and text are rich with information.

And lastly, the National Library of Medicine will be introducing a new exhibition about Native peoples’ concepts of health and illness in October 2011, just in time for next year’s Native American Heritage Month!

Images from Indian Health Service and National Library of Medicine.

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