Health and Culture

Walking in Beauty

The conflict between Western Medicine and Non-Western Culture

It is obvious that every culture has its healing rituals and customs that each healer follows in order to be in tune with what they know and believe to be right. Being in harmony with nature is what the Navajo Indians are all about. When Billy Begay, a Navajo Indian who has lived on an Indian reservation most of his life is diagnosed with a cancerous legion in his mouth, his beliefs and rituals are interrupted as doctors and anesthesiologists offer advice and suggestions regarding how to handle this unfortunate event. Does the advice and caution by the doctor create harmony or confusion with Mr. Begay and his cultural rituals? What can be done to create understanding in the health care systems when people of different cultural backgrounds seek medical attention?
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